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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 5th May 2005, 13:48
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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I tried to get this info on the other thread. Has there ever being on a 747 (or another 4 burner using turbofans) a case of multiple inflight engine failure. (Volcanic ash excepted)
The sole catch so far has being a Tristar where the problem was bad maintanence causing all three engines to head south. Presumably on a triple engine the one engine down procedure is the same as a twin - land ASAP.
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Old 5th May 2005, 14:25
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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I can think offhand of two, 20driver.

1. B747SP ex-JED (2 engines failed on same side) at 800agl, aircraft dumped (ASAP) and returned.

2. B747 ex-BAH enroute ATH
Over Saudi, one engine flamed out, another on final at ATH, and just prior to parking on stand, a third wound down.
Severe fuel contamination...ex-BAH, altho the airport folks there would never admit to same (why are we not surprised?).

Now, I have spent over thirty years in command in 3 and 4 engine heavy jets (same rules for both...ie: continue on, diversion not necessary with an engine failure), but I have to wonder...at what point do you continue to stretch your luck, before Murphys law takes affect.

BA ex-LAX, where the failure occured just after takeoff, for a planned ten hour flight to LHR would seem to me to be stretching your luck to the extreme.
An engine failure over well up over Canada, yes, continue might be prudent.
But, just after takeoff?
Well, not for me, certainly, regardless of aircraft type.

There are those here who think I might be too cautious, after all these aircraft are designed for flight on three.
Yes they certainly are.

BUT, there has to be a point where enough is enough, no matter how reliable the 4 engine aeroplane is.

And, an engine failure/shutdown just after departure seems to me to call for a diversion...or return.

Certainly prudent, in my view.
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Old 5th May 2005, 14:47
  #103 (permalink)  

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Initially unwilling to respond to bep's ignorance, I am moved to reply in case it is genuine.

Most countries of the world, working from ICAO guidelines, have legislation in place that allows four engine aircraft that experience a failure of a power plant to continue their flight to destination if certain parameters are met. The parameters are allowed to vary under ICAO doctrine.

The statement, "Land at the nearest suitable airport", is simply Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.

I do not know who has polluted your information with this idea, but rest assured that all the aviation industry know that you are not only wrong, but that in pprune terms, your credibilty as a contributer is equivalent to an Ebay fraudster.

Good day to you
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Old 5th May 2005, 16:24
  #104 (permalink)  

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Given that this is bep's first post, I think it's clear that we are dealing with a troll. . .

BH
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Old 5th May 2005, 19:42
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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My professional mantra that has kept me from doing rug-dances for the past 25 years: "When in doubt, don't." Your career and passengers will thank you.

I could care less what other crews do, unless of course my ass is in one of their cabin seats.

Falcon 109 to the dissers (sp?)
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Old 5th May 2005, 20:52
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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My own view is that it was a really bad judgment call by the whole crew.
Engine shutdown/failure at the beginning of a long leg such as this should have been a return.
If this failure happened after several hours into the flight then yes continue after all other possible problems have been considered.
I have been reading the post for quite some time and even had discussions with the managment of my present company.
I was told that any pilot that did this here would be terminated immediately.
This is stretching the regs too far.
Maybe BA has a different view.
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Old 5th May 2005, 21:13
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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411A.

The US NASA report form is light years apart from the UK Mandatory Occurrence Report system. They may well have been intended to 'serve the same purpose' - but cultural differences prevent any chance of that.

Here's a clue to the difference - you tell me how many NASA reports were filed in the month of January 2005 and I'll tell you how many UK MORS were filed.

We'll then correct for the different number of public transport operations, US and UK. If we have 'similar programs', you'd expect the difference to be no more than, say, 5%. I'll put my money on a difference of 90%.

Now why is this? In the US no one files a NASA report unless they know they are 100% blameless, and personally fire proof. In the UK the MORs are full of 'Oops, screw up there, never mind, but I need to file an MOR'.

It's never a problem to the reporter because the UK doesn't (yet) operate on a blame culture.

As I said, NASA Reports and Mandatory Occurrence Reports, light years apart. You find me a UK or European pilot who's had his license pulled because he simply misheard a radio call, and I'll change my mind.

There may be something in this difference which 'allowed' the BA crew to, quite rightly IMO, continue the flight.
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Old 5th May 2005, 21:18
  #108 (permalink)  
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Forget,

The NASA ASRS form if filed in a timely manner exempts the filer from punishment. They are filled out any time a crew screws up.

What is interesting is that they have occasionally been used against a pilot when the screwup was "Intentional" If you meant to break the law, you can't use it as a get out of jail free card.

I think you mis understand that a nasa form provides protctions to the filers.

Cheers
Wino
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Old 5th May 2005, 21:38
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Spoke with a ground technician and was told that even with rotation and windmilling pressures that the engine may have suffered damages on a flight that long.
Thats why when one is shutdown the ground technicians want to know for how long.
Does anyone know the actual logbook entry as to why this engine was shut down?
Will go through the 400 manuals and see what I can find on Saturday.

Last edited by Earl; 5th May 2005 at 21:52.
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Old 6th May 2005, 03:51
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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Snoop

I don't have time now to read all of the remarks.

If any four-engine jet, now down to three engines continues flight out over the ocean, for example, and then lost a second engine, would the electrical and pneumatic demands (although drifting down to a much lower altitude) then become a likely problem? If the APU starts then maybe the two-engine operation (no hydraulic RAT available-but loads for electric hydraulic pumps also a bit higher?) has about the same level of safety as an ETOPs plane with both engines+APU running well? With less fuel range down low, and possibly with more icing accumulating on the wings and tail, requiring a reduction in available max continuous thrust? I'm curious as to what the divert airports' conditions could be during winter over the Atlantic, even the northwestern or northeastern Pacific with minimum required visibility/ceiling or max crosswinds, even on a dry runway. My only turbofan flying has been in twin-engine domestic planes, but am glad that we don't face diverting into a Siberian, western Canadian or Icelandic airport in January.

These questions might apply to various four-engine operations, whether a BA 744, South African, Cathay, Lufthansa A-340, or a US C-5 Galaxy.

One of my 'comrades' referred to an incident with a L-1011. The mechanic/engineer had forgotten to put all three oil caps back on the engines.

Nowadays, any mechanic can service the oil on only one engine

As Wino stated, a US NASA report is also used if a pilot made a mistake, or was simply involved in some unusual incident. The company or FAA can always find something that does not quite comply with a perfect series of checklists, SOPs, AIM, FARs, "well-memorized" data from the jumble of airport and enroute NOTAMS etc. One of our pilots was caught in a "sporty" (as they would have said at Air America over the Laotian Plain of Jars) microburst event and after diverting, he forgot to check the tiny NASAP box on the safety report. This caused him some serious problems with the FAA. Before his flight even had the cabin door closed during departure, an old lady fell OFF of the jetway! And the dispatch, almost cryptically, had a small printed remark on the Flight Release which only said "call dispatch". There was no remark about possible weather at the destination on his release. Somehow, during the lady's accident etc, he forgot to call-another legal trap. Why did dispatch say nothing about growing bad weather?

Last edited by Ignition Override; 6th May 2005 at 04:21.
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Old 6th May 2005, 09:16
  #111 (permalink)  

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Ign O.

Just to keep the story straight, if, "an incident with a L-1011"' is the same incident that I am thinking of, maintenance ommitted the O rings from the three MCD's when they changed them, leading to oil loss. It was not the oil caps that were left off.

New procedures were brought in so that only one per flight was changed, then after a new design such that the O ring could not be removed from the chip detector body, all three could be changed at once.

FWIW
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Old 6th May 2005, 10:52
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Earl,
My own view is that it was a really bad judgment call by the whole crew.
Fair enough, we are all entitled to our opinions.
Engine shutdown/failure at the beginning of a long leg such as this should have been a return.
If this failure happened after several hours into the flight then yes continue after all other possible problems have been considered.
Why? What's the difference in having several hours elapse? In ultra long range operations, you could still have 13hrs+ to go at that point. What makes you think the crew in question didn't continue "after all other possible [likely] problems have been considered."?
I have been reading the post for quite some time and even had discussions with the managment of my present company.
I was told that any pilot that did this here would be terminated immediately.
Well, as you seem to be Gulf-based (according to your profile), that comes as no surprise. It sounds like "looking at me in a funny way" could lead to losing your job down there...
This is stretching the regs too far.
No stretching required, really. "In-flight Continuation" is an approved procedure.
Maybe BA has a different view.
Yes, they do. The management are fully supportive of the crew in question. The CAA don't seem to have a problem, either.
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Old 6th May 2005, 12:28
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Inflight engine shutdown is big news to most passengers and they will not understand or appreciate the decision to continue at the beginning of a long trip.Midway across the pond,its hardly an issue.Bad Pr even if he did meet the regs.Personally,I think he made an unwise decision,although not a particularly unsafe one.Once an engine goes,passengers very quickly lose any thoughts about being inconvenienced by a tech stop.A skipper wears many hats and understanding and appreciating the concerns of his people is certainly one of them.Sounds like he over-borrowed on the true meaning of the regs.
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Old 6th May 2005, 14:00
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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astute observation

Rananim sez:

Personally,I think he made an unwise decision,although not a particularly unsafe one.
This may be the wisest thing we've heard in a LONG time
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Old 7th May 2005, 05:31
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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Arrow

MOOSP-True, the o-rings were missing from all three 1011 engines.

As for the 744 Captain, I cannot judge his decision. If, however, he has any second thoughts about the resulting long flight, can we assume that if an engine fails or is shutdown in a future, similar situation, that he will face no punishment from his employer if he then decides to divert within an hour or two following the shutdown? There are numerous cities out in the Rocky Mountains which are "special airports' and into which you do not want to ever divert, unless you have smoke in the cabin etc. Eagle (EGE) Colorado is very hazardous [757 crews train each year specifically for this one airport! LDA, glideslope....]. Unless you are familiar, Jackson Hole (WY), might be another. Missoula and Kalispell (MT) are on my list, possibly Bozeman. Many have no control tower operation late at night and unforecast weather can be quite a surprise, because of lakes nearby.
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Old 7th May 2005, 18:08
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Looking at the maintainece manual for the Rolls Royce engine and also consulting people in that department it looks like may things could have gone wrong.
N1 and N2 would have had sufficent oil pressure but N3 would have been in question.
A borescope and a MCD magnetic chip detector would be required on landing for the engine to be returned to service.
I assume that this is a RR engine here.
My airline runs the G/E on the 400.
But the performance data is not much difference, maint data is.
This may have not neen available for an inflight start if needed.
The N3 could have trashed itself out.
Looking at the 2 engine performance data just opened a bigger can of worms.
I can provide performance numbers if given the weights.
Sorry about the spelling but our ISP here keeps shutting down on us.
Most of the information here is second hand news.
If proper weights and numbers were available then we could run the charts.
But I agree B/A has a different set of rules and the crew operated on the advice given so they should not be penalized.
But if Murphys law has come into the picture which it often does then we would all be commenting on a different angle.
Like why did the crew not return after the first engine failure.
Guess we are damned if we do and also damned if we dont!

Last edited by Earl; 7th May 2005 at 18:30.
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Old 7th May 2005, 21:56
  #117 (permalink)  
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Whilst it’s difficult to judge the event when one wasn’t actually there to weigh all of the factors, my biggest concern with the decision to continue is that it sets a questionable precedent within the pilot group. Engine shutdowns on that fleet may now be considered an amber event, as opposed to a red one, to be treated much the same way as, say, the loss of one hydraulic system. The decision to return now stands to be quietly viewed as ‘inexperienced’ or ‘incompetent’, the importance stressed, by high-profile example, that V1 should be equal to destination.

It is a development fraught with the gravest of safety concerns.

Although I can’t help admiring the commander for his really big cohones, in view of the impending oceanic crossing and associated lack of diversion airfields, personally, I would have returned.
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Old 7th May 2005, 23:09
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BS (!)

The Capt set no precedent at all... It is no "secret" at all that for a number of BA 4 Eng ac, and same for other European carriers, equivalent sitations have occured in the last ~5 years:
  • Another LAX -> LHR, Eng Fail before 5000', made LHR
  • South America -> LHR - made LIS, enough for another company ac to be in LIS to take PAX onwards, and had a 3 Eng Ferry crew to get ac to LHR
  • MUR -> Paris - nearly diverted NCE, but made Dest
There is a section in the Ops Manual exactly covering the Eng Fail situation, and the options available. This crew, as others, followed the options available as they saw fit What followed at MAN was "another event", again followed according to conservative "best practice"
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Old 7th May 2005, 23:49
  #119 (permalink)  
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Nigel (!)

In other words, the precedent has already been set, in the last five years or so (sic), for BA aircraft to operate over long oceanic stretches with 75% of available thrust, as a matter of routine.

Your passengers are paying for four engines, if you insist on using only three, an appropriately discounted fare might be in order.
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Old 8th May 2005, 00:39
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Among major European airlines, the practice has been (de facto) in effect for MUCH longer than five years. BA may be lagging behind, in fact.

To reiterate: It's NOT a safety issue, at least in any measureable accident rate statistic. Among aircraft that didn't make it to a safe destination because of propulsion issues, NONE have been four donks minus one. Fuel exhaustion (I mean EXHAUSTION) is a more significant statistic, and that's independent of the number of donks. Even so, we haven't seen a ditch for decades (hijacking excepted).

It IS an public expectation issue, however, and some form of education is in order.
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