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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 3rd May 2005, 14:26
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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What is the ATC call when a quad becomes a trike?
Pan or Mayday?
Could this Pan or Mayday continue all the way to destination - across the pond?

What's traffic to do with it then?

OR - No call at all??
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Old 3rd May 2005, 14:39
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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Some statements so far say that UK registered aircraft (CAA Rules) are required to comply with US Law (FAA Rules). Not so.
CAA Rules comply with The ICAO Treaty. FAA Rules also comply with the treaty. Countries that comply with the treaty guarantee rights of flight to participating signatories. The UK lets US aircraft fly in UK, and the US should be letting UK aircraft fly in the US without argument. Thats what international obligations are about.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 14:57
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Devil

Having just qualified on the B744 and whilst still very wet behind the ears, I do know that the a/c is certified for flight with only three engines. There is no mention in the QRH of any requirement to land as soon as possible if you shut one down and no doubt the operating crew will take this as well as all other factors into account before deciding whether to continue or not.

There seems to be some confusion, especially by those who have not flown the B744, about what it is certified to do and what not. In this case, the crew elected to shut down the engine. There was no catastrophic failure. All other systems would have operated normally, including all 4 (four) hydraulic systems and 3 (three) packs. I assume their maintrol would have had access to more data than the crew about the health of the engines through the ACARS links.

Criticism of the crew by those who would not have made the same decision to continue is fine if you are not only familiar on the type but also experienced. Anyone else making a comment should first realise that without experience on type (and I mean the B744 and not just other tri-engine types or A340 which have different systems) they are assuming that the crew didn't have any regard to their own or their passengers safety which is most certainly not true.

What is the ATC call when a quad becomes a trike? Pan or Mayday?
Neither. As has been mentioned the a/c is certified to fly on three engines should one be shut down after take-off. And before the nit-pickers jump on my case, I know that three-engine ferrying is a separate issue.

All reference to ETOPS and twins is irrelevant to this case and the debate about whether 180 or 207 minutes certification for twins is safe should be carried out elsewhere. The references to the FAR's as pointed out are obviously ambiguous and allow the commander enough discretion to use his or her common sense, experience, training etc. to make the necessary decision. I think the bit that says; "...he decides that proceeding to that airport is as safe as landing at the nearest suitable airport" is the get-out clause and the FAA probably don't have much to stand on. If the a/c is certified to fly on three engines then there is no reason why landing at 'that' airport is less safe than landing at the 'nearest' airport.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 15:21
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FiftyFour,

Sadly I am afraid that you are incorrect. The ICAO convention is purely an agreement to standardise national law, which different countries implement and enforce to varying degrees. All aircraft within the airspace of a country are subject to that country's laws, as well as the law of the country of registration. So effectively whichever is more restrictive applies. An everyday case in point is the planning weather minima in the US as opposed to Europe which can be a headache on transatlantic flights.

BJJ
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Old 3rd May 2005, 17:38
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The UK CAA will always agree with BA, always have done always will do. Remember they are the biggest contibutors to the agency.
As far as I am concerned a four engined a/c is supposed to fly with four engines. Next BA will want to continue a flight with one engine out on a 777, CAA no problem.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 17:50
  #66 (permalink)  
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Aren't all Perf A 4-engined aircraft 'certified to fly' on 3 engines after V1?

Whether it's a wise or sensible move to do so for the next 10 hours or so is what is under discussion, I consider. Aircraft type and operator are wholly irrelevant.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 18:01
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To wander slightly off topic – there is an underlying assumption here that all that matters is safety – or risk – to the passengers. Of course this is not true – Economics and convenience play a very large part in the equation. If it didn’t everyone would travel one to a 747 with a built in crash proof escape pod.

However – returning to LAX contains considerable risk – and when I say considerable – it refers to the risk as opposed to the alternate course – continuing on.

LAX has had two fatal collisions on the runways in the last 10-15 years. Taken in regards to the number of ground movements at LAX over this time period this is a very small risk – but as no one as offered up a single fatality due to any 747’s running out of power and killing some one – over a longer time frame you would have to say LAX has a problem.

It used to be widely considered that take offs and landings were the “riskiest” part of the flight – so by returning to LAX the crew was exposing to passengers to an element of risk that was avoided by heading home.

I’m willing to bet that there is a least one or two murders a year at the hotels around LAX – returning would likely meant an overnight and exposed the passengers to that risk.

What would the vote have being on the aircraft if Stanley Actuary had gotten up and told the passengers – folk’s we have two choices

We continue on – there is no measurable risk in doing so - no one has ever being killed in this scenario – this doesn’t mean no risk – but I can’t tell you how much risk because it is so small.


We return – but I have to tell you there are at least four risks that can be projected based on LAX's history –

1 – An accident on landing – happens but rarely ( Was LAX VFR or IMC – big difference here)

2 – A collision on the taxiway – this has happened twice in recent times with extensive fatalities.

3-You get murdered in your hotel room. Several time more likely than any of the above

4-You get killed in an accident on the shuttle going to the hotel – where you might get murdered.

And – if you do get back on the plane alive – well you are for all I can measure right back where you are at this instant risk wise.

I think the crew would have being in trouble with the Pax if they had turned around after that speech.

Bottom line is overall you can very safely argue there was more risk to the passengers in turning around.

Just something to roil the pot.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 18:43
  #68 (permalink)  
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Danny,

Good post.
However, let me add

FAR 91.13a

(a) Aircraft operations for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.


That's the FAA elastic clause and after they clear you of all other charges they file this against you because beauty is in the eye of the beholder....

Its a long trip through the hearings and what not and will take 2 years to resolve this once and for all. (Just my forecast here)

Cheers
Wino
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Old 3rd May 2005, 18:43
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20driver

Love that stuff!!!

More seriously, from an airport perspective...

Whenever there is an inbound aircraft that declares some operating anomaly, it is up to ATC to decide what, if any, Rescue & Fire Fighting Service response to initiate. In the case of an engine out on a twin, it is invariably a Full Emergency. This not only engages the Airport Fire Service, but also a major turnout by the County Fire Service, Ambulance Service and the Police. It will also alert a number of other agencies to get them to gear up for a possible Major Incident, including the Local Authority, opening survivor reception areas, people to deal with meeters & greeters, a system for contacting next of kin etc etc.

For one engine out on a 4-engine aircraft, the response is usually a Local Standby. The Airport Fire Service come on to the airfield to forward positions, just in case. They might well ask the aircraft, once it's vacated the runway, if all is well and offer to follow it to stand. We will probably inspect the runway, just to make sure the a/c hasn't dropped any bits that might be ingested by the next a/c. That's it. No drama.

I think you'll see there's a world of difference between these two levels of response.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it gives another dimension highlighting the differences between the 2 kinds of anomaly?

Cheers,
The Odd One
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Old 3rd May 2005, 18:46
  #70 (permalink)  

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I say again loud and clear:
But they (the cockpit crew) had torn away many pages from the emergency/abnormal check list! In this sense: in case one of such a situation would have arisen at the Non Returning Point,
I try to figure out some:
- A second engine failure
- Smoke/fire on board (electrical, from the air conditioning, in a toilet...)
- Depressurization
- Fuel temperature low
- Cracked Windshield
You name others...
obliging them to descend to a lower altitude (in some cases 10.000 ft) with F/F increasing exponentially.
Would they have been able to divert to the first suitable alternate?
Please Fly Safely
DOVES
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Old 3rd May 2005, 18:48
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Criticism of the crew by those who would not have made the same decision to continue is fine if you are not only familiar on the type but also experienced. Anyone else making a comment should first realise that without experience on type (and I mean the B744 and not just other tri-engine types or A340 which have different systems) they are assuming that the crew didn't have any regard to their own or their passengers safety which is most certainly not true.
Are you reading the above Learmount?

When was the last time you were employed as a 744 Captain?
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Old 3rd May 2005, 19:04
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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. . . . Capt Moderator

The references to the FAR's as pointed out are obviously ambiguous and allow the commander enough discretion to use his or her common sense, experience, training etc. to make the necessary decision.
Sorry to say, but irrespective of the -400's certified and approved cababilities... the commander lacked basic common sense in his decision to virtually embark on a 10+ hours revenue pax mission across the pond, which as it happened, couldn't be completed to destination anyway due to excessive 3-eng fuel burn.

Obviously, the airplane was built to continue safe flight on three engines, but assuredly it was not built to be intentionally operated for such unreasonably lengthy flight time with revenue payload.

This scenario of testing the interpretation of language and of testing the intent of reasonable regulations and of challenging the expected standards of common carriage of fare paying passengers is most bizzare. It's stupefying.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 19:36
  #73 (permalink)  
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Nobody from the U.S. replied to my post yesterday. I'll repost it again in the hope that somebody can explain to me how my personal experience can be reconciled with some of the things we are being told here by our americain cousins.

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 and how the FAA might be expected to view it?
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Old 3rd May 2005, 20:17
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20driver's got it right

FAA may try to enforce a 50-year-old rule (which predates the agency's creation), but they are in fact tilting at windmills. Safety is not a binary parameter, and continuing to LHR on 3 (with dozens of enroute alternates) is neither of significant risk nor highly unusual. The fact that one of these alternates was utilized proves the case that safety margin was considered throughout the flight.

I am well familiar with a case of a European captain who refused to land his ship after nighttime engine failure on takeoff from a third-world airfield, and continued toward safer facilities. He unwittingly established an engine-out record, but had the support of his ops and engineering people all the way. This was 27 years ago. I'd fly with him any day.

FAA has a significant NIH (Not Invented Here) factor, and should wake up and smell the coffee (or tea, perchance?)
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Old 3rd May 2005, 20:23
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BBT go back and read my posts. I addressed the change of attitude in the USA.

It USED to be that way. Its not anymore because of the near loss of an Eastern Airlines Aircraft in the 80s.

Cheers
Wino
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Old 3rd May 2005, 20:41
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Nigel,

You are correct, once one passes the coast north east of Winnipeg, one is in a remote area. However, the point I was making is that this was not the same as a similar occurance on a flight from say LAX to Hawaii where the flight is straight into an over water flight.

Regards,

DFC

PS. Anyone fly the VC10 or the IL62?
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Old 3rd May 2005, 20:44
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What were the circumstances of the Eastern event - are they relevant to what happened here?
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Old 3rd May 2005, 21:10
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Eastern flight left Miami


In cruise shortly after level off a engine is shut down for precautionary reasons due to a loss of quantity on oil. FLight continues ontowards destination. Seams reasonable right? Well, soon all the oil departs 2 more engines and they both quit and a widbody is headed into the water. They managed to get the first engine restarted and staggered into Miami.

Turns out that maint on all 3 engines had been performed incorrectly. (This had a VERY large effect on maint procedures for ETOPS as well)

This was one of those world changing near misses, where what used to be considered reasonable was rethought.

(This is AFTER the 747 was certficated, and it is unlikely that any aircraft would be certificated to continue in this day and age.... However a grandfather clause is a wonderfull thing)


Is it relevent? U bet... Plenty of maint items can cause a transient surge as well...
Cheers
Wino
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Old 3rd May 2005, 22:20
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Well, Wino a "no state department travel" ban on BA is not likely to hurt too much since under your government's "Fly America" policy, all Federal agencies MUST by law use US carriers.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 22:25
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Doves

Smoke/fire on board (electrical, from the air conditioning, in a toilet...)
- Depressurization
- Fuel temperature low
- Cracked Windshield
You name others...
obliging them to descend to a lower altitude (in some cases 10.000 ft) with F/F increasing exponentially.
Would they have been able to divert to the first suitable alternate?
Can't see how flying 2/3/4 or even 8 engines would make any difference. Flying New York to SIN/HKG on a twin over the Pole I would say is exponentially more 'dangerous' than fly a -400 on 3 across the Atlantic.

Having Smoke/Fire anywhere that is more than 20 minutes from any airfield - you are dead meat as we all know regardless of how many engines are working or not. Please don't tell me a 777 on 2 engines at 0°N with a fire is any different to a -400 on 3 mid Atlantic. There are plenty of diversion available that a -400 can make on 3 engines at 10'000' crossing the Atlantic. Sure you not going to make LHR but you are spoiled for choice for diversions en-route!
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