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Air Transat - Hey pass that thing man!

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Air Transat - Hey pass that thing man!

Old 5th Sep 2001, 20:22
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747FOCAL
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Talking Air Transat - Hey pass that thing man!

Now for the Air Transat A330 dead stick landing. It's a long story, and I
don't have all the facts, however:

1. The aircraft had undergone an engine change just a few days before,
and there is mounting evidence that an important modification was not done to
a fuel line on the replacement engine, and also there was disagreement
within the maintenance organization about whether to let the aircraft go as is. Sure
enough, the fuel line failed over the Atlantic, resulting in an engine
shutdown and a major fuel leak.
2. At this point, the flight crew apparently performed a number of
actions within a short period: they attempted to relight the failed engine, began
diversion to the closest airport, and attempted to deal with the fuel leak
and fuel imbalance situation. It appears the crew did not properly handle the
fuel problem, and while attempting to transfer fuel manually from the tail fuel
tank (which is normally controlled automatically), they mistakenly activated
the fuel dump system, which put them into deep do-do.
3. Fortunately for everyone, the pilots were Canadians, so dead stick
landing a wide body was second nature! Indeed, the Quebec Government conferred a
special heroism award on the Quebecois Captain - unfortunately the award
was tarnished a little bit after it was revealed that he had spent two years
in jail in Georgia about 20 years ago for running marijuana in his light
aircraft.

4. Transport Canada (the Canadian version of the FAA) doesn't get off
scott free either. It appears that they failed to properly examine Air
Transat`s A330 ETOPS maintenance and flight operations procedures before granting
them an unrestricted Trans-Atlantic license. That license has since been
withdrawn and several restrictions have been imposed on Air Transat.
Too bad all this happened to Air Transat, because they have had a good
safety record and good reputation up to now.
 
Old 5th Sep 2001, 21:17
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Indeed my gossipy friend it would appear that you are in possesion of few if any of the facts given that most of what you've posted here is in contradiction with what is known so far about this incident.

Better to save that precious oxygen than further deprive your brain don't you think?
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 04:56
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The definition of stress. Do I respond to a post that has nothing new to add, is filled with half truths, presents ill informed speculation ,and appears to be deliberatly provocative yet has no redeeming value. Maybe I should just ignore the ignorant pratt that by mindlessly reducing the pofessional tone of this interesting and informative forum is getting his jollies?
I guess I just made my decision...
 
Old 6th Sep 2001, 05:39
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ELAC is right. Nothing has come out about an accidental jettison of fuel. That's an extremely unlikely scenario. My theory goes like this. Line chafing caused a fuel leak on the engine. The engine keeps running 'coz the boost pumps are supplying adequate pressure to feed the stove at CRZ thrust as well as feed the leak. It's dark outside, so the pax don't see the fuel vapours. First thing to get noticed is an ECAM advisory for fuel imbalance as that tank gets light. Crew get out the Fuel Imbalance checklist. Although the checklist provides a caution that balancing is not to be performed if a fuel leak is suspected, the crew, unsuspecting, carry on and open the crossfeed and turn off the boost pumps on the light (leaking) side. Tank redundancy is lost and all the fuel can now go overboard. Unfortunately, ECAM (nor the FM)don't warn the crew of a leak. That has to be noticed by the crew during their fuel monitoring process (amount at start of trip minus amount burnt by engines should equal what's left). The FUEL LEAK (paper) checklist is quite specific about keeping the crossfeed closed to prevent a leak from affecting both sides. It's very likely that the crew never got to that checklist, as the engine flamed out, probably due to a reduction in fuel pressure due to the crossfeeding or worsening of the leak. The ECAM ENG FAIL warning would definately have diverted the crew's attention away from the fact that they were still crossfeeding fuel from the good side to the leaking side. After unsuccessfully trying to relight the engine, they descended and planned for a diversion to the Azores, probably still quite a distance away. With the engine shutdown, the leak is no longer an issue. The crew may have figured out by now that the fuel situation was critical and perhaps had closed the crossfeed, but too late. The next realization that all was not well would have been the first ECAM WING TK LO LVL message. Then the other one. Then silence. Sound plausible? All will be revealed by the DFDR, QAR and CVR in due time.
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 06:00
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Well Jetboy, a modern airliner losing all of its fuel due to a leak, is also an extemely unlikely scenario, probably more so than fuel mismanagement in the cockpit.

Lets just wait for the final report, before we call the crew heroes or villains.
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 06:24
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Gents,
The aircraft in question was not equipped with a fuel jettizon system
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 10:23
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Wasn't it a 330-200?
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 10:33
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Correct, it was an A330-200

Regards
Pedro
------
Terrain Terrain
Pull Up Pull UP
 
Old 6th Sep 2001, 18:25
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Did I see somewhere that "the cabin crew were shouting at the pax because the PA was not working" ? This was meant to be a response to the accusations that the cabin crew "panicked".
If this is correct, why did they not use the megaphones ?
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 19:15
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Hey Folks all the speculation, is just that, someone's personal speculation...

I would think before speculation starts about the fuel dump system, wouldn't it be prudent to find out first if the a/c was so equipped? The a/c series is not necessarily going to give you that information. Airlines order different options because of their route structure and money.

And that what's this is all about, shift the blame, so you don't become responsible for the liabilities ....

Pretty sad...

IMHO the pilot's did an awesome job, regardless of the circumstances.
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 22:45
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Too bad all this happened to Air Transat, because they have had a good safety record and good reputation up to now.
That statement is only half right. Their safety record is good but their customer service is well know for being quite abysmal, which is why CMM grew so quickly.

MOF all of the discount carriers in Canada have excellent safety records- it would seem that none of them want to go the way of Worldways, which went out of business not long after a DC8 crashed.
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 23:06
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Squawk 888 - that wasn't Worldways that crashed the DC8 in Saudi - it was Nationair, who had rather "interesting" maintenance and management practices. Curiously, a large number of Nationair people were/are involved with Air Transat...
 
Old 6th Sep 2001, 23:12
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Is there anyone else out there as sick of Neil Robertson's comments, aka "The Guvnor" (The Guvnor? please) as I am?

[ 06 September 2001: Message edited by: upperecam ]

[ 06 September 2001: Message edited by: upperecam ]
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 23:17
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Hey Guv I have a question?
I'm on a layover and I'm going out for a beer. should I use a beer mug or drink from the bottle??
Thanks.
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Old 6th Sep 2001, 23:35
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Exclamation

This is the seventh fine that Air Transat have had levied against them this year...

For release September 6, 2001

TRANSPORT MINISTER ANNOUNCES FINES AND NEW OPERATING RESTRICTIONS FOR AIR TRANSAT

OTTAWA - Transport Minister David Collenette today announced that, pursuant to the provisions of the Aeronautics Act, Transport Canada has fined Air Transat $250,000 stemming from maintenance infractions related to the Air Transat aircraft involved in the August 24, 2001, emergency landing in the Azores. The infractions resulted from the
release of the aircraft back into service without having the maintenance completed in accordance with required procedures.

As part of its ongoing review and monitoring of Air Transat's operations, Transport Canada also announced that, as a precautionary measure, it is limiting Air Transat's Extended Range Twin Engine Operations for all aircraft, effective immediately. The new limits require all Air Transat twin engine aircraft to remain within a maximum of 90 minutes of suitable en-route airports between the point of departure and the destination - the limit normally granted to entry-level air operators. Affected aircraft in the Air Transat fleet now include Airbus A310s and Boeing 757s.

This latest measure does not alter the current limits placed on Air Transat's Airbus A330 aircraft which require them to remain within 60 minutes of suitable airports until refresher training sessions on extended range operations are completed. Once training is completed, the airline's Airbus A330 aircraft will also be moved to the 90-minute limit.

"Transport Canada is committed to taking whatever action is required to protect the Canadian travelling public," said Mr. Collenette. "While we are satisfied with the measures taken to date by the company in response to the occurrence in the Azores, and with the preliminary information coming from Transport Canada's safety audit, we believe it is appropriate to place these limitations on Air Transat while we continue to monitor its operations."

Transport Canada continues to support the investigation underway by the Portuguese authority into the contributing factors and causes of the occurrence and will respond to its findings as required.

The Minister will be available to the media at 2:30 p.m. today at the Ministers' Regional Office, 95 Wellington Street West, Suite 1702, Toronto, Ontario.
 
Old 7th Sep 2001, 00:08
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Question

I'm getting confused with all these posts. On one side we seem to have wild speculation about what could have happened and on the other side we have many people saying shut up and wait for the final report. Is there no middle ground?

Certainly from the actions of Transport Canada in restricting the certificate holder and requiring special training, there is reason to suspect that the likely causal factors included much more than a simple mechanical fuel leak. I would think that the pilot members among the posters should have knowledge of procedures that would/should have caught any fuel leak before it led to flame out of even a single engine, let alone all engines. If this is not the case and that most pilots would have not prevented the flameout than indeed the passengers are extremely lucky to have flown with the rare hero pilot that could save a plane with no power from 100 miles out or so. This is not very comforting to me since I am well aware of other incidents of massive and minor fuel leaks that seriously depleted fuel tanks before being discovered.

So what comforting action should we expect while flying anybody's aircraft today, while still awaiting a final report to be issued by CTSB sometime a year or so from now? Should we hope that all our pilots are heros or are there other lessons learned here?
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 02:17
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747FOCAL
where do you get your info from????
If the report is not out then don't comment
Save your brain power if you have any
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 02:22
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Guv

That crash in Saudi- the name I saw everywhere was Worldways, the A/C was a charter for a Nigerian carrier. The cause was pinned on a maintenance contractor in the middle east who fudged the paperwork in order to let the plane go with an underinflated tire.

The investigation of that crash was an amazing bit of detective work by the TSB- they managed to recover the paperwork from the remains of an A/C that caught fire just after takeoff and crashed with a full load of fuel, then find the tire pressure readings and determine the original reading had been erased and overwritten. Hats off to them I say.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 02:35
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Listen out guys, there is no such thing as a fuel jettison system on a 330. YOU CAN'T DUMP FUEL...you just land overweight and dont thump it in!
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 03:16
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Squawk 8888 - You're right, the aircraft (C-GMXQ) was indeed on lease to Nigeria Airways but it was a Nationair aircraft. The accident report can be found here: C-GMXQ Report - the Nationair Project Manager, Mike Sparks was a good buddy of mine who had formerly been the Chief Pilot of Holidair.
 

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