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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, 21:54
  #41 (permalink)  
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Hand solo said

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.
How do you know that other engines aren't effected after you lose one? Could be a maint. error! Eastern had a VERY near miss in Miami when they shut one down and started to continue to their destination when they lost 2 more and managed to get the 1st one shut down restarted and just staggered to the airport. Turned out a maint error had been made that wound up taking out all the engines. That incident lead to the change of regulations that no longer permitted US aircraft to keep going after an engine failure.

Even if it wasn't an engine failure from maint, lets say it was FOD. Well if you fod one engine it is quite possible the adjacent engine is damaged. Maybe you flew through some birds you didn;t see....

The ONLY way you can verify that no other engines are effected is to land and inspect them! AFTER you have inspected them, then you can perform a 3 engine ferry and take the aircraft to your maint. base.

Otherwise you are taking a NEEDLESS risk. This isn't a war. London won't be bombed if you don't get up and intercept the inbounds. Safety first.

Cheers
Wino
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Old 2nd May 2005, 22:15
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Maybe it is a maintenance error, but thats a call to make on the day. If you're losing an engine because of, for example, oil leakage then perhaps you might attribute it to maintenance errors. We had a very near miss in the UK on a 737 not too long ago due to maintenance errors on both engines. If you've lost a single engine to a surge with no unexpected parameters then it is highly likely the problem is a traditional engine surge and confined to a single engine. The chances of FOD occuring to multiple engines on both sides of a wide body with an initial engine surge on one side and absolutely no other abnormal parameters on any other engine are remote. In this instance the crew assessed all the other engines and, with no abnormal indications, correctly assessed the remaining engines were fully servicable. We could all go into panic mode and land a quad immediately after an engine failure, but why not extend that to other systems? Perhaps after a failure of a single hydraulic system we should land ASAP in case a maintenance error deprives us of the remaining systems? What about a generator failure? Where do we draw the line?
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Old 2nd May 2005, 22:37
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Sorry guys should have read the thread all the way My bad!!
(Edited after seeing av8's post)


<<This view, however, does not appear to be shared by the FAA, which could fine BA if it concludes that the airline violated American regulations.>>

Beagle,
where does this violate American regs? FAR Part 121.565 paragraphe b states:

(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.
(c) The pilot in command shall report each stoppage of engine rotation in flight to the appropriate ground radio station as soon as practicable and shall keep that station fully informed of the progress of the flight.
(d) If the pilot in command lands at an airport other than the nearest suitable airport, in point of time, he or she shall (upon completing the trip) send a written report, in duplicate, to his or her director of operations stating the reasons for determining that the selection of an airport, other than the nearest airport, was as safe a course of action as landing at the nearest suitable airport. The director of operations shall, within 10 days after the pilot returns to his or her home base, send a copy of this report with the director of operation's comments to the certificate-holding district office.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 23:08
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It seems pretty transparent to me that the problem is not the actions of the crew or BA. Surely the problem here is that since september 11th 2001, American carriers are strugling somewhat (chapter 11 protection etc) whereas BA has been doing pretty well considering the industry climate and low cost cometition. This looks like a political complaint by the FAA to undermine the BA customer base.

Out of interest, how would Virgin have handled this?
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Old 3rd May 2005, 02:09
  #45 (permalink)  
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heilhavaar,

It would appear that the crew was in violation of B2 and B4.

They wound up short of fuel and landed short. Elegant proof of a violation of B2



The reason that they wound up that way was because of traffic congestion keeping them off their optimum alt, (but they weren't that far off, so I am sceptical that they would have reached london anyway) because of traffic congestion, Ergo a violation of B4.



Dirty Mach, with all due respect, you don't know what you are talking about. An American Airlines crew was violated by the FAA in the mid 80s after an engine dropped off a 727 (number 3, no hydraulics on that engine) and they continued to the destination. They didn't know the engine has seperated, they just thought it quit...

They were cited for violations including the FAA catch all "Careless and reckless"


That does not make it a sept 11 protectionism issue. But interestingly, the outcome of this could be that no state departement travel will be permitted on BA (similar to what was done to Korean Air till they shaped up somewhat)

If you want to operate in America, you have to comply with the Rules. quite simple... Also, have you read ANY of the reports of passenger reactions? Even if there wasn't a single US certificated airline in the world (IOW no competition), the FAA would be FORCED to act.

Cheers
Wino
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Old 3rd May 2005, 02:27
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Wino - at the point of deciding to continue the crew would have had no information to indicate air traffic congestion or otherwise. Only when informed that the optimal FL was not available would the crew now have to divert to comply with b(2) & b(4)- and this was as I understand it in Canadian Airspace - are their regulations the same ??
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Old 3rd May 2005, 03:35
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If you don't have the fuel to be 2000 feet off your optimum, you haven't got the fuel to go. International flying requires a 10 percent buffer for that portion of flight 2000 feet low doesn't push up your fuel burn by 10 percent. Not even close. Furthermore, once you are past that portion of the that 10 percent is no longer in the required (IOW's, now its yours to burn....)


Assuming they were doing some sort of rerelease flight plan, they should have gotten over release point and made their decision at that point. But again, that doesn't seam to have happened here.

Now they have to defend themselves from a government beaurocracy that is acting with the benefit of 20 20 hindsite, and they are gonna scrutinize your decisions. On SOOOOO many levels this was a foolish decision, that appears to have been carried out for the very LEAST important reason (Economic)

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Old 3rd May 2005, 05:40
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Wino

Not strictly true. Fuel planning would require 5% contingency. If an en-route alternate is used, you only require 5% from that alternate or an additional 15 mins holding fuel, which ever is the greater. The en-route alternate would more than likely be the UK side of the pond, so the contingency carried would not necessarily be that great. I for one would side with the CAA. If we are that worried about a 4 engined aircraft crossing the pond on 3, which it is after all certified to do, should the FAA not be taking a closer look at the 3 hours & 9 minute single engine ETOPS diversion on the Pacific. I know which aircraft I would rather be on!
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Old 3rd May 2005, 06:06
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Ba use a lower contingency figure on most flights these days.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 06:27
  #50 (permalink)  

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Wino
It would appear to me that the FAA regulations effectively allow a commander to do whatever he wants. I would however point out that the BA does not have an "N" on its tail so is not regulated by the FAA, but the CAA and comply with their regulations (or is it now European regulations through the CAA?).

Furthermore in the UK the CAA FOI’s are designated to each company and all operational notices and policies are copied and approved by the FOI acting in the name of the CAA.

If the FAA don’t like the 747 flying on 3 they shouldn’t have certified it. Meanwhile if they want to criticise the crews decision, produce the risk analysis to back up their view together with the risk analysis of a twin on 1 halfway across the Pacific.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 06:47
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OJ, I don't know about the Airbus but a 747 (Classic and -400) will fly on two engines, and is not going to be forced to land, even at max auw. This is of course provided the crew keep the airspeed up. There have been a couple of incidents when two engines have failed on takeoff and the flight was able to climb and cruise. The accidents happen when the airplane is on descent to land, when the crew allow the airspeed to fall prematurely (see the El Al accident in the Netherlands). This can happen to a three or two engine airplane as well, ie pilot error.
There are no figures in the manuals for this configuration but there is info in the test pilot gross performance manuals, and I would expect the initial cruise altitude to be around 15,000 feet at gross weight. Hardly a reason to panic.
The secret is to accelerate and remove the drag. With flap greater than 1 (or possibly 5 at lower weights) the airplane will not climb on two engines, and a go-around has to be planned carefully, with acceleration on the descent path until the right speed and flap setting is achieved.
Another way to improve performance is to reduce the fuel (and hence auw), when the 747 on two is just as sprightly as any twin on one. But remember it takes 45 minutes or more to dump the fuel to landing weight, so that will not help if the problem occurs after takeoff, and is not only a waste of time but can cause problems with providing a fire risk.
Getting down to landing weight, or less, is equivalent to flying 500 miles, even while dumping, and a two engine landing above landing weight would not be a good idea. The landing speed would be very high and the brakes would probably catch fire, at the least.
The 747 on three engines is classified as a normal operation, and only when there are two (or more) failed is there a need for a landing at the nearest suitable airport. Take a look at the statistics of accidents in airliners and you will see that they are rarely caused by mechanical failures alone; there is always an element of crew error, and that is more likely to happen when the crew is in panic mode, trying to get back on the ground in a hurry.
More likely to happen now, with everyone afraid of the media spotlight or the agenda-driven FAA.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 07:30
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exvicar, I'd rather be on an ETOPs aircraft most of the time, its certified to higher standards, the engines have to have higher reliability, and other than the engines, it has to have better fire supression ability, in addition to numerous other additional standards. My understanding is that these redundancies are going to be applied to 4 and 3 holers.


why on earth you would continue with an engine failed for unknown reasons, when you have several perfectly useable, main airports nearby is beyond me. Yes it can fly on 3 engines ok, and yes it can struggle on 2, the fact is you have had some pretty significant malfunction/abnormal indication...and you cant really be certain as to what caused it.

why risk it, for saving some $$$.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 08:04
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b/h -I know and agree with all you say -I flew the classic 747 for 11 years and was LHS with 2 separate airlines.There are some grey areas and the BA 747 case of the engine failing ex LAX falls into that category.I am sure that under JAR regs there would be no reason to 'land at nearest suitable' with the loss of one(out of 4) but am not sure of FARs and indeed whether they are applicable.The original point I wanted to make is that the regs are different between 4 engine ops and twin -the point being a 747/A340 on 2 engines is not the same as a B767/777 !

Many years ago I departed HKG for Rome(FCO);at TOC we lost a hydraulic system.I/we made the decision to continue to destination with the knowledge that the loss of another system put us into the 'land at nearest suitable' category with a plethora of fairly horrible diversion airfields en route.No rules were broken and we landed uneventfully in FCO.With the benefit of hindsight was it wise?I am not sure is the answer,but I am certain that this crew went through similar thought processes and came to a decision they were comfortable with.

Interesting discussion though -cheers o/j
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Old 3rd May 2005, 09:03
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With regards all the banter about BA continuing to fly to avoid compensation - this should put an end to it.....

EU Passenger Rights- Denied Boarding Compensation

New Denied Boarding Compensation legislation (261/2004) came into effect on the 17th of February this year and updated existing legislation on the rights of payment to air passengers if they are denied boarding. Although now in place, much of the legislation remains in the view of some, ‘ambiguous’ and legal action is being taken by some groups to have the legislation altered.

Airlines need to make their own judgments when implementing aspects of the law, however the legal wording is that airlines are not required to pay compensation if a flight is cancelled because of “extraordinary circumstances, which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken”. The airline must be able to prove that these circumstances exist.

These reasons include those that affect safety and security and may include:

Technical faults

· Technical faults that prevent the safe operation of a flight even though maintenance was performed in accordance with legal requirements and the manufacturers’ recommended practices
· Warnings and other technical faults that would breach legal requirements for operations

Disruptions or subsequent cancellation caused as a result of technical faults.

Weather

· Runway closure or temporary restrictions due to a requirement to change the direction of take-off and landing
· Actual/forecast visibility or winds at origin, destination or nominated diversion, outside legal limits
· Reduced take-off or landing movement rates at origin, destination or diversion due to any adverse weather conditions
· Forecast en-route turbulence or icing beyond limits
· Cancellation of subsequent flights due to disruption caused by weather

Crew

· Sickness of a crew member preventing the operation of a flight within legal limits
· A delay that leads to crew being unable to operate a flight within legal limits
· Strikes among staff (airline and 3rd party) that prevent the operation of a flight
· External factors that prevent essential staff getting to an airport ie weather
· Cancellation of subsequent flights due to disruption caused by personnel difficulties

Failure of third party services (ie ATC)

· Equipment failure/closure or limits that prevent or restrict flight operations (ie unplanned terminal closures or reduction of flights handled by ATC)
· Restrictions due to military or VIP flights
· Closure following an accident or incident involving another aircraft
· Cancellations due to disruption caused by services provided by third parties
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Old 3rd May 2005, 10:51
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BA are pretty confident of where they stand, there has been no flight crew order forbiding the practice (or hadn't the last time we spoke about it) and and as far as my BA 747 mate is concerned it is still a legitimate course of action. As someone has already said if the FAA have a problem with the 747 flying around on 3 they should be talking to Boeing about re-writing the type certificate which seems to allow continued flight on 3 engines.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 11:43
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They wound up short of fuel and landed short. Elegant proof of a violation of B2
Incorrect. They had less fuel than necessary to reach LHR but that came as no surprise to anyone and was known about 10 hours prior when the engine failed, further reinforced about 6 hours prior when the lower oceanic level was assigned. Continurine to an en-route alternate is not a problem. It was only when the aircraft approached MAN and the crew became uncertain of the performance of the fuel system that the Mayday was declared as a precaution. As it happened the aircraft landed in MAN with full reserves, all of which was usable. Aircraft land at LHR with little more than full reserve fuel every day and nobody bats an eyelid.

the outcome of this could be that no state departement travel will be permitted on BA
Thanks to the Fly America policy I doubt there's very much State Dept business coming to BA anyway. Hardly a big loss.

Also, have you read ANY of the reports of passenger reactions?
Yes. No panic on board except for those who smell compensation.

Even if there wasn't a single US certificated airline in the world (IOW no competition), the FAA would be FORCED to act.
Fine. Then rewrite the regualtions to state clearly and unambiguously that any foreign registered operator in US airspace must land ASAP at the nearest airfield in the event of a single engine failure. Don't shilly-shally and try to apply domestic regs to international operators retrospectively.

Assuming they were doing some sort of rerelease flight plan, they should have gotten over release point and made their decision at that point. But again, that doesn't seam to have happened here.
I assume by rerelease you mean what we describe as replanning, filing to an enroute destination then continuing when it as apparent fuel is sufficient? Well the aircraft passed Keflavik and Glasgow en-route, how do you know they weren't replanning on that basis? As previously mentioned, the quesionable fuel system problem only emerged later in the flight.

On SOOOOO many levels this was a foolish decision, that appears to have been carried out for the very LEAST important reason (Economic)
In your opinion. The crew involved, BA and the CAA disagree. The decision was technically correct in regard to UK regulations in every respect. As for the LEAST important reason, well I would suggest that after safety, economics is the most important reason for an airline to make any decision. We're a business.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 13:02
  #57 (permalink)  
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The CAA in this case I expect will await the outcome of whatever investigation(s) the NTSB or FAA make. If the FAA considder this a reportable incident then the normal procedures will apply and the NTSB or FAA may make certain recomendations to operators and to regulatory authorities. Until then, the CAA can simply wait and see.

As for the case under review - This aircraft suffered and engine failure shortly after departure. It then spent several hours crossing a continent and on reaching the eastern shore of that continent one can safely say that the relative reliability of the remaining engines had been proven. At all times over that continent, the aircraft was within easy reach of many alternate airfields should one have been required. Having consulted with operations and the maintenance organisation, the decision was made to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft with 3 serviceable engines and suficient performance. While over the ocean the aircraft was closer in flying time with a further engine failure to the ETOPS alternates than other twin engine aircraft making the same crossing at the same time.

The pilot later declared an emergency and diverted because of uncertainty regarding the actual amount of fuel remaining. The aircraft had the required minimum fuel when it landed. The reasoning behing declaring an emergency is that in the UK, fuel emergency or fuel priority calls are not recognised and the only method of avoiding possible delay in such cases is to declare an emergency. The US however permits pilots to call for a fuel priority thus avoiding having to declare an emergency and to some extent masking the actual circumstances somewhat.

Had this flight departed from an East Coast US airport and continued then we would be correct to point out the dangers and the posibility of all thr engines failing due to say fuel contamination...........however, in this case, the engines put in more hours runing than any engineer would every do on a ground run.

Whay about aircraft in years gone by which shut down engines at cruise to conserve fuel........did the FAA ever have a problem then? - No.

If however the FAA do not follow the standard NTSB investigation scenarios and await findings then perhaps people are justified in saying that this is more political than safety based.

Regards,

DFC
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Old 3rd May 2005, 13:38
  #58 (permalink)  
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Handsolo said,

As for the LEAST important reason, well I would suggest that after safety, economics is the most important reason for an airline to make any decision.
Well then why are you hauling people? You should be hauling COCAINE! far more profitable. Your second priority after safety is to follow the law. A distant 3rd is economics. Then all other considerations come into effect.


DFC said....
Whay about aircraft in years gone by which shut down engines at cruise to conserve fuel........did the FAA ever have a problem then? - No.
You have to be kidding. I know of no operation where that happens in the civilian world, only P3s on station for the NAVY. I guarantee you if it got out an airline was doing that the FAA would order an emergency revokation of their operating certificate. Maybe you are confusing engine out TAXI on the ground which IS permitted.



Also from handsolo.
In your opinion. The crew involved, BA and the CAA disagree. The decision was technically correct in regard to UK regulations in every respect.
Won't be the first time, but I suspect things are gonna change and in a hurry. (Which is 1,2 years in airline terms) The Insurance company is now aware of this and can you imagine the liability should something have happened? The Insurance company will make this a comercial decision. But this also isn't the first time that BA has been stubbornly on the wrong side of something and then relented. The locked cockpit door comes to mind.

I was arguing for it since my incident over Venice. The Nigel's poopooed it, then the little incident over Africa, and the murder of the JAS captain in flight.... STill poopooed it. Then 9.11 and whadya know, all doors locked....(and much more forcefully, as they should have been done always)

You will come around slowly.

Cheers
Wino
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Old 3rd May 2005, 13:43
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It then spent several hours crossing a continent and on reaching the eastern shore of that continent one can safely say that the relative reliability of the remaining engines had been proven. At all times over that continent, the aircraft was within easy reach of many alternate airfields should one have been required. Having consulted with operations and the maintenance organisation, the decision was made to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft with 3 serviceable engines and suficient performance.
Just to take some issue with this... since it is a statement reiterated here frequently.

A West Coast - LHR flight, such as this, does not in fact travel as you suggest across the populated N American and then "head out" across a wild and dangerous ocean... It heads a long way north, and the "remotest" area, in terms of Diversions, is probably Canada. Once it gets to the E Coast, it then has the likes of Iqaluit, Iceland and Scotland...

The (old?) "non-ETOPs" route uses this "chain" of airfields...

I am willing to be corrected in details of which is the more remote "area" - and am just attempting to dispel this myth of a "long over water crossing" after "passing over the populated and airfield rich" N American Continent
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Old 3rd May 2005, 14:09
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Huh?

<<....when the 747 on two is just as sprightly as any twin on one.>>

Complete and utter nonsense, boofhead.
Certification requirements differ for twins and four engine types, so your statement is totally misguided.
You should know better.
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