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BA aircraft catches fire in US!

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BA aircraft catches fire in US!

Old 7th Sep 2001, 08:13
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From the Austrlian Civil Aviation Order 20.9

4.2 Passengers
4.2.1 The operator of an aircraft with a maximum seating capacity of 20 or more must ensure that avgas or aviation grade turbine fuel is not loaded onto an aircraft while passengers are on board, or entering or leaving, the aircraft unless, in the case of aviation grade turbine fuel, it:
(a) contains an anti-static additive; or
(b) is loaded in the USA and meets the ASTM D 1655 standard.

4.2.2 The operator of an aircraft with a maximum seating capacity of 20 or more must ensure that fuel, other than the kinds of fuel mentioned in paragraph 4.2.1, is not loaded on to the aircraft while passengers are on board, or entering or leaving, the aircraft, unless the following conditions are satisfied:
(a) before the fuel is loaded, all persons who may be on board, or entering or leaving, the aircraft while the fuel is loaded are told that:
(i) fuel is to be loaded; and
(ii) their seat-belts must not be fastened while the fuel is loaded; and
(iii) they must not smoke, use any electrical equipment or do anything else that might cause fuel vapours to ignite during the loading;
(b) all persons on board, or entering or leaving, the aircraft obey the instructions given under sub-subparagraphs (a) (ii) and (iii);
(c) a cabin attendant is appointed to perform the following tasks while the fuel is loaded:
(i) ensure the safety of the passengers;
(ii) maintain discipline inside the aircraft;
(iii) supervise any necessary evacuation of the aircraft;
(d) while the fuel is loaded:
(i) the aircraft’s “fasten seat belt” signs are turned off; and
(ii) the aircraft’s “no smoking” signs are turned on; and
(iii) the aircraft’s emergency lights (if any) are armed;
(e) while the fuel is loaded, there is at least 1 cabin attendant on duty in the aircraft:
(i) for every 72 passengers on board the aircraft; or
(ii) for every passenger zone in the aircraft in which there are passengers; whichever is more;
(f) while the fuel is loaded, there is at least 1 cabin attendant on duty by at least 1 exit door of each of the aircraft’s passenger zones in which there are passengers;
(g) all cabin attendants who are on duty in the aircraft while the fuel is loaded:
(i) are prepared for an immediate evacuation; and
(ii) supervise the passengers during the loading; and
(iii) ensure that the aisles and exits are unobstructed during the loading;
(h) the areas outside the aircraft that would be used if the aircraft were evacuated are kept clear while the fuel is loaded;
(i) the fuel is loaded using a system which gets the fuel from its container into the aircraft’s fuel tank without exposing it to the air;
(k) if the aircraft’s engine is running — a member of the aircraft’s flight crew is on duty on its flight deck;
(l) the operator’s operations manual sets out:
(i) the responsibilities of members of the operating crew who are on duty in the aircraft while fuel is loaded; and
(ii) procedures for complying with the requirements of this paragraph.4.2.3 Subject to paragraph 4.2.4, the operator of an aircraft with a maximum seating capacity of less than 20 must ensure that fuel is not loaded on to the aircraft while passengers are on board, or entering or leaving, the aircraft.

4.2.4 The operator of an aircraft with a maximum seating capacity of less than 20 may allow fuel that is not:
(a) avgas; or
(b) an aviation turbine grade which does not contain an anti-static additive;
to be loaded on to the aircraft while a passenger is on board if:
(c) the passenger’s medical condition is such that he or she cannot leave the aircraft without assistance; and
(d) the conditions set out in paragraph 4.2.2 are satisfied.4.2.5 If:
(a) fuel is being loaded onto an aircraft in accordance with paragraph 4.2.2 or 4.2.4; and
(b) either:
(i) fuel vapour is found inside the aircraft; or
(ii) for any other reason it is not safe to continue loading the fuel;the aircraft’s operator must ensure that the loading of the fuel stops immediately.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 08:30
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Well, I can't begin to think of the odds of this sort of thing happening. My God, how many times a day does some guy arrive at an airplane, recently arrived, and proceed to hook up his fuel truck.

I mean, he was just setting up!

Or maybe fueling was done and he was unhooking and there was still pressure in the hose when it decided to let go?

Either way, the whole accident is something that could happen to ANY of us. Imagine you are doing your walkaround... Absolutely absurd, but it happened.

It's certainly no way to go.

On another tack, someone sent me this link a while back, don't know where I got it, but it shows what happens when someone, well, runs over, a hydrant. It is most certainly NOT what happened here, but I thought it might be of some interest.
http://www.aagsc.org/resources/wac/fuel_hydrants.htm

Rgrds,

PB
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 12:05
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Big Airways now have a special check to carry out a detailed visual inspection of the refuel/defuel couplings,lugs etc,on both wings.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 12:36
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We had I similar problem on on of our aircraft(757) when extreme over pressure from the bowser caused the internal refuelling pipe to split, resulting in a large fuel spill. Luckily the fuel did not ignite and was finally dealt with by the airport fire service.
The interesting fact that emerged was that the captain is responsible for the continuous monitoring and supervision of all refuelling operations i.e. Himself or his representative should be outside throughout the refuelling proceedure to ensure all regulations/safety proceedures are being carried out. How often do you stay and watch ?.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 12:45
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after this incident i doubt that any capt/fo will stand close to a fuel truck .....
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 15:07
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Lightbulb

would gnd engineer,atc or fire crew hve been the first to inform the flt deck.
at that point i doubt the flt deck would hve known the no. of pax still on board,the severity of the fire or the likely outcome of its containment.with only one aero-bridge connected it would take several minutes to de-plane.why did htey not initate an evac.considering the large unknowns in those forst few seconds?
im aware the apron can be a chaotic place with vehicles and loaders etc.but this is a fire of unknown quantity,not a propable containment case such as an apu where a fire handle could be pulled.
i believe it took a couple of mins for the fire crew to arrive.a long time in which a full evac could hve been carried out.i doubt all the pax could hve been deplaned from the aero-bridge exit in that time while the fire was still going?
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 16:05
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Just imagine - a pax emergency evacuation half-way through disembarking!! Pax, bags and duty-free blocking aisles, doors not manned (are they/should they be??), some slides blocked by ground handling/baggage unloading/catering equipment & vehicles - what a nightmare scenario!!
 
Old 7th Sep 2001, 17:32
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h+p
i can well see the potential chaos.things worked out ok here but had the fire spread rapidly to the cabin or fuel tanks exploded as in bkk recently,perhaps the chaos would hve been a mute point if lives saved.
we dont know the speed/accuracy of info provided to the crew but it must hve been pretty accurate/speedy and from the fire crew,the only people to b in a position to atate the fire risk.yet i think they were not on the scene for 2 mins.i dont see how flt crew could asses the fire risk frm the flt dek.
had the fire spread 2 the fuselage, smoke in the cabin need not necesserily b visible until the fire has taken hold and so c.crew would not necesserily be able to advise flt deck.
h+p are u saying an apron evac is not a course of action u would consider available?
any examples of apron evacs out there for info.we all spend a lot of time on the apron connected to fuel trucks,aero bridges etc.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 18:40
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albatrossuk, not at all! I would use any means to save lives, if practical, such as using catering wagon(s) to get pax out on, jumping down onto cargo loading rigs, etc, etc. Just saying that a fire whilst disembarking pax had got to be one heck of a problem to deal with.
 
Old 7th Sep 2001, 19:18
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When you think about it - a/c on stand, pax disembarking, aisles blocked solid, bags, jackets etc everywhere and mabye those at the exit trying to get back inside when they see the fire - hmmmmm.... Perhaps some serious debate is needed on this issue as quite frankly I have never given this scenario as much thought as I have in the last 24 hours. The more you think about it the more alarming the whole issue becomes.

There are conficting reports in the media about the ramp workers fate - Sky have changed their story now saying that he survived with 90% burns.

[ 07 September 2001: Message edited by: xxzz123 ]

[ 07 September 2001: Message edited by: xxzz123 ]
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 19:50
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I have never given this scenario as much thought as I have in the last 24 hours. The more you think about it the more alarming the whole issue becomes.
Agree. ISTM this is probably the worst case situation and I am not aware of any trials having been done. Consider:
1. Slides are not armed
2. Cabin crew probably at L1 saying bubye
3. Driver(s) may be out of cockpit doing same
4. Pax totally unprepared, encumbered by (generally large) carryons
5. Doors and overwing exits not manned
etc.

There might be a catering truck at one of the doors, but there's no way off it without lowering the lift. Highly unlikely any steps available or handy and jumping from a 777 (say) possibly suicidal.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 19:52
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Exclamation

Firstly, also my condolances to the berieved.

I have often realised that my aircraft had begun to be refueled while passengers were still disembarkng and have mentioned it to dispatchers, refuellers and the companies for which I have worked. The result has been a slow head shake of pity for the eager beaver making trouble - me. `' Nothing can happen", I have often heard - now this.

The point is that to refuel in an orderly way with pax on board, quite a few parameters have to be met (see also above - from Australia) - including, usually a pax announcement and various exit rules, depending on company and airfield.

The crew can only run these items if they are INFORMED. An early refuelling during or even before disembarkation does not allow crew coordination, so whether the pax are going the right way or not, nothing is prepared and somebody's rules are for sure being broken.

OK, in this particular case, the passengers/crew remained unhurt but when you see the fuss which is made on a "normal " refuel with pax on board BEFORE a flight, then compare it to the laid back refueling which goes on AFTER a flight, some serious changes need to be implemented.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 20:53
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Date Occurred:05-SEP-2001
Model: 777/236ER
Serial #: 28840
Hours/Cycles:14730/2175
Part Name:Fueling adapter
Part #: S344T001-11
Nature of Event: During refueling at DEN, fuel hose separated from airplane spraying fuel. Fuel ignited upon contact with engine exhaust area and burned for aproximately 8 minutes. The fire damaged the left-hand thrust reverser half of the left engine, left outboard wing leading edge structure and composite panels, and the left-hand side of the left engine pylon.

The fuel truck operator received fatal burn injuries.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 21:04
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during refuelling co. policy states not to test wx radar or use/tune hf radios.
any policy out there regarding start of apu?
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 21:14
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Talking

Given the esteem in which most journos are held on ths forum, I'm surprised that there hasn't been more comment on the use of the word "explosion" and "blast" in the Sky news report!

On a more thoughtful note, kerosene is a combustible, not flammable, liquid, with a flash point of between 110 and 162 degrees Fahrenheit (42-72 C) and an ignition temp of 410 degrees Fahrenheit (210 C). I believe (although I might be mistaken) that kerosense was deliberately chosen as an aviation gas turbine fuel because of these characteristics which make it relatively less likely to suffer from inadvertent ignition and particularly explosion.

Either way, it sounds like a particularly unluckly accident to me. I guess the air temperature was quite hot that day in Denver and that the fuel just happened to touch a particuarly hot part of the engine exhaust. A combination of unlucky circumstances; I don't think you need to start rewriting the rule books or getting paranoid about going up in smoke every time you do your walk-round just yet!
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 21:54
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Most manufacturers prohibit starting or stopping of APU during refuelling; in some cases this was not always so but now seems to be pretty universal.
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Old 8th Sep 2001, 02:19
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There are sometimes extraordinary circumstances which require alternative methods of refueling a jet. Let me tell you about a situation at a Central American aeropuerto that does not have adequate ground air start equipment to start a large high bypass ratio turbofan, which would require a minimum of two air start units, preferably three. And suppose that your APU is out of service, what to do? Well, the answer is self explanetory. One engine is left running during the offloading/loading and refueling process.
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Old 8th Sep 2001, 03:08
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Thumbs down

Last week in FCO, while performing the walkaround, I just notice that the guy doing the refuelling was using his mobile phone...
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Old 8th Sep 2001, 09:02
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Lightbulb

Just like to add my tuppence worth here as a mechanic, this very nearly happened to me.
When the fuel is lifted from the ground outlets using a pump truck(not bowser) sometimes the gates/stands refuel points can be in a bad position in relation to centreline and engine positions.
This can result in overtension in the fuel hoses and couplings when you raise the platform to access the control panel.
In my case the hose coupling broke.I got a soaking and fuel poured onto a hot engine but luckily no flames and the refueller was quick on the dead mans trigger.
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Old 9th Sep 2001, 21:32
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Hi,
A few people out there seem to be making assumptions about how many passengers were on the aircraft at the time. For all we know it may have been a very small number. In that instance calling for a full evacuation as one post mentioned, could well be more dangerous.
When will people learn to wait to see the actual FACTS of an incident/accident before giving their opinion on how to avoid similar occurances in the future.

My condolances to the family of the refueler.
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