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FAA & CAA disagree over B747 continued 3 engine flight

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FAA & CAA disagree over B747 continued 3 engine flight

Old 2nd May 2005, 07:19
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Surely Mr Learmount has the right to express his opinion that “In my mind, it was simply not best practice. Were the passengers endangered by this? No. Did they have the same level of safety that they’d have had with four engines? Obviously not.”

Seems sensible to state that the same level of safety does not exist if one engine is shut down. What happens if a second engine fails? The failure of the second engine must reduce safety to a greater extent than the failure of the first engine.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 07:32
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The statistically unlikely occurence of a second engine failure on a 747 means you become a perfectly flyable twin engine aircraft much like all the other 767 and 777 and 330 aircraft plying the ocean that day.

As all PPRuNers know - aviation IS the calculated balance of risk. Usually with one of our backsides strapped firmly to the final calculation. Its what we are paid for.

Do you - in the final analysis - think that the Captain and the Senior/Junior First Officers aboard this aircraft elected to carry on when they were IN ANY WAY nervous or anxious or mildly concerned for their own safety? They've got their own wife and kids to think about and would have little hesitation in putting it down in say New York. Easy Peasy. But no need.

I find it informative to read, in even the quality press, stories about which I have some personal insight. Makes you realise how everything else you read is largely ignorant summary.

Cheers

WWW
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Old 2nd May 2005, 07:37
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Oh really...?

<<Having consulted to BA and therefore seen the company's culture and attitude to safety at first hand, I take considerable exception to your comments that the airline put commercial considerations before safety.>>

Oh you would, Final 3 Greens?

Well, in my professional opinion (which spans over 30 years in Command in heavy jets) BA is tweeking the tail of the tiger, and sooner or later, will get bitten.

Badly....

They should positively absolutely know better.
Flight safety...horsefeathers.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 07:45
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Seems that most non american 4 engine operators are tweaking the tale of the tiger, but I don't remember anyone getting bitten by a double unrelated engine failure anytime recently.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 08:11
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CAA, FAA and 411A

Surely there really is no need to redo here everything single part of the debate that has already been done on the other thread? Lots of insults got exchanged there and many silly things got said. Here’s the link: Previous Thread: March 30th @ 15:38

However, IMHO there really is an interesting issue to be debated between the CAA and FAA. Essentially it hinges, in my opinion, on the general assumptions (statistical and operational) that underlie ETOPs - set against the level of operational redundancy on the B744. You can swap insults and throw around safety accusations to you hearts content, but there are real issues here to keep the FAA and CAA busy.

********

On a different note, Final 3 Greens, you may not have come across 411A before. The posts you see here are typically modest, un-opinionated and reflective of a deep thinker who has learned a lot from his years in aviation. Such is his authority that most of us mere mortals do not bother getting into a debate with him as it seems to be a waste of our time. 411A is lucky to be able to join any thread and pronounce with certainty on virtually any subject. IMHO you should just concede defeat and give up in the face of such superior knowledge!
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Old 2nd May 2005, 08:21
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It would have been a good article, had AA Gill written it, having been on the flight, half sloshed, reviewing airline food......but in the context it was written, the S.T's have gone down in my expectations.

Why devote so much time to BA?
Humiliate them? Or did some journo not get their upgrade or was served half melted ice in their drink ?

Might as well buy the VIZ.

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Old 2nd May 2005, 08:53
  #27 (permalink)  
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WWW

You miss the point David Learmount was making.

Statistically you are correct about the likely failure of a second engine. All he is saying is that the aircraft does not have the same level of safety as it would have with four engines.

It might well be able to fly on two engines but is the absolute level of safety the same as flying on four engines?
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Old 2nd May 2005, 09:09
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slj

It might well be able to fly on two engines but is the absolute level of safety the same as flying on four engines?
I know it's all been done to death here and elsewhere, but flying on 2 engines isn't the point here.

What IS the point, I believe, is that with one engine out, with a similar level of engine reliability, the 747/A340 is STILL 50% 'safer' than your 777/A330/767 etc etc that everyone is happy to fly over the world's oceans. So what's the point of building 4-engine aircraft in the first place? Is that 4th engine just to get the a/c off the ground? Very possibly!

One famous boss of an aircraft manufacturer was once asked
'Why do you always fly in a/c with 4 engines?'
'Because we don't make any with 5!'.

I'm inclined to GJB's point - conspiracy theories on a wet Bank Holiday. Why not!

Sadly, I find David Learmont's recent pronouncements unhelpful and out of line with safety management thinking. He's done good work in the past but it's time to pack it in, David...

Cheers,
The Odd One
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Old 2nd May 2005, 09:24
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The top post is found in .... here

Maybe a mod could deal with the said duplicity?

Jordan
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Old 2nd May 2005, 09:54
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www,you are completely wrong if you think a 4 engine aircraft on 2 is similar to a 2 engine aircraft on 1. A 4 engine jet has most of the performance prescribed for the loss of 1 engine.There is a certain level of flexibility after that which considers the loss of a further engine case,terrain clearance on 2 etc.However to say that the loss of 2 engines is comparable to a twin on one is complete baloney.2 engines out on an A340 or B747 will take you very smartly downhill and dependent on the weight/atmospheric conditions all the way down.Not the case of a twin on 1,I think you would agree.

No way would I get into making commentary on the crew who made their decision in the light of the conditions on the day(night) and they have my respect for that.As I recall the actions they took were not technically wrong,but obviously went a bit pear shaped towards the end.It really boils down to risk management;to continue on 3 is fine(and allowed) but if another engine fails you are in deep doodoo.similarly there would be a performance calculation to make based on 3 engines -all of which they made.

www,I believe you work for a 737 loco with orange colours (same as me,actually) and I know you are an enthusiastic contributor to pprune and there is nothing wrong in that.My take is that you are unlikely to have an encyclopeadic appreciation of either long haul ops or 4 engine performance.I have 16 years worth of jet lag in my log book which does not make me the definitive expert either but I have flown those types and routes and understand the pressures/difficulties that may occur.In summary,authorative statements made on pprune which are downright wrong help noone's case.it is hypocritical to damn journalists for their technical innaccuracies then go ahead and demonstrate the same.

with b/rgds
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Old 2nd May 2005, 16:47
  #31 (permalink)  
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Well, in my professional opinion (which spans over 30 years in Command in heavy jets) BA is tweeking the tail of the tiger, and sooner or later, will get bitten.
That's rather more of a professional statement.

Now just to recap, how many of your 30 years and 000s of hours was in command of a 744?
 
Old 2nd May 2005, 16:50
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It is interesting to see that the regulators are at odds here. divided on national grounds. There must be many examples of US 4 engined airliners with in-flight shutdowns. Did any of them continue? Did the FAA come out with public comments about "recklessness" etc?
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Old 2nd May 2005, 17:46
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OJAY, that is simply not true; the 747 can maintain altitude (OK, not 35,000 feet) on two engines, so it is not going to fall out of the sky as you suggest, and can easily land at the nearest suitable following a second engine shut down. A two engine out landing approach is well-practiced (in the sim), and the pilots in one well known Asian airline do it on auto pilot!

But surely the argument here rests on regulations; FARs and Ops Specs. Boeing does not require an immediate landing following the shutdown of one engine, no matter where or when it happens . They list those failures that do require a landing at the nearest suitable (which can include factors such as maintenance facilities, passenegr handling etc) and a single engine failure does not appear.

I am not aware of any FAR or CAA regulation that does rule on this matter, and for something as major as this it should not be necessary to "interpret" to find the answer. Either there is a regulation, and the FAA has a case, or there is not, and the FAA can blow it out of the proverbial.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 19:09
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Well said, boofhead.

In a simple world, either the FAA are right and there will be major repercussions, loss of International reputation for British aviation, or there will be no case to answer, in which case we'll probably never hear anything about it.

But the world ain't simple. My guess is that this will rumble on and on, with innuendo and dark mutterings coming from various American and other interests. Pity really. It can only harm the reputation of a fine and very safe aircraft and, despite all their foibles, one of the best large airlines in the world.

Cheers,
The Odd One
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Old 2nd May 2005, 19:12
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I did not say it would fall out of the sky,I referenced weight/ISA conditions and I am well aware of the 2 engine approach on either B747 or A340. however,a 4 engine a/c on 2 is in a less 'flexible' scenario than a twin on 1.The regs are different for 4 engine ops due to the statistical chances of 2 failing
(presumed unlikely).The A340-300 is described by Airbus as 'a well balanced quad' and the V1 cut situation at max weight will give less than sprightly climb performance and a 2 engine failure at V1 -highly unlikely I know-at max weight is only going in one direction(down!)

If one was unfortunate and experienced a double engine failure with a favourable combination of weight/altitude etc I would say that fuel dumping would be a priority after the abnormal checklist.I only wanted to highlight the difference between a 4 engine a/c on 2 and a 2 engine a/c on 1,hence the debate between the regulatory authorities.

Finally,I would not comment on the crew decision making-ultimately everybody walked away and the crew were I am certain v professional -it is not a perfect world out there,

b/rgds
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Old 2nd May 2005, 19:27
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747 question

In the 747 checklist, is an engine failure in flight an emergency item, or just abnormal?

In any case, it's a safety issue, and should have been treated as such.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 19:54
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Once upon a time I was travelling as SLF in a B747 with a large well know U.S. carrier that therefore operates according to the FARs. (This was some time ago, perhaps around the mid ‘80’s). Approaching Greenland we had an engine failure and we did not go back to LHR or Iceland. Neither did we land in Goose, or divert to Gander or Montreal. In fact we did not continue to SFO, but we did divert to … Chicago (this being a major maintenance base for the said airline, as the coincidence would have it). I wonder if any of those from the U.S. or elsewhere who have criticised the BA captain’s decision would care to comment upon this decision?
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Old 2nd May 2005, 20:01
  #38 (permalink)  
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The purpose of starting this thread was to highlight the differing views of the FAA and CAA, NOT to go over the same well-trodden ground as the previous thread.

The fact that there is still debate over the event means that there is no single correct solution. Perhaps the national regulatory authorities will now agree further guidance? Or is that a somewhat porcovolant thought?
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Old 2nd May 2005, 20:45
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I'm very curious. What is COMPANY policy within Northwest, United and any other US 4-engined operators with regards to a shut down? Please COMPANY policy not personal belief.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 21:09
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The regulator of one country which now builds mainly twins (777, 787) wanting to make it difficult for the quads (340 series and 380) built by another group of countries. If you make quads obay the same rules as twins after an engine failure then some of the economic advantages of them disappears.
I don’t think that it IS the case that "quads" are made to obey the same rules as twins after an engine failure. For instance, 121.565 speaks to continuing after engine failure, and says (in part):

Sec. 121.565 Engine inoperative: Landing; reporting.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, whenever an engine of an airplane fails or whenever the rotation of an engine is stopped to prevent possible damage, the pilot in command shall land the airplane at the nearest suitable airport, in point of time, at which a safe landing can be made.
(b) If not more than one engine of an airplane that has three or more engines fails or its rotation is stopped, the pilot in command may proceed to an airport that he selects if, after considering the following, he decides that proceeding to that airport is as safe as landing at the nearest suitable airport:
(1) The nature of the malfunction and the possible mechanical difficulties that may occur if flight is continued.
(2) The altitude, weight, and usable fuel at the time of engine stoppage.
(3) The weather conditions en route and at possible landing points.
(4) The air traffic congestion.
(5) The kind of terrain.
(6) His familiarity with the airport to be used.


The language of 121.565 is nearly identical to the US Civil Aeronautics Regulations, Part 40, dated 31 December 1955. How this could have been written in 1955 to disadvantage Airbus in 2005 is beyond me…

Although I haven’t seen anything from the FAA on this, my guess is that it isn’t going to be a battle fought under the “nearest suitable airport” banner… Of course, I am prepared to be corrected.
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