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FAA to conclude 2 engines as safe as 3 or 4

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FAA to conclude 2 engines as safe as 3 or 4

Old 6th Jun 2006, 18:05
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FAA to conclude 2 engines as safe as 3 or 4

There were articles in the Wall Street Journal and Reuters yesterday (reproduction prohibited) stating that the FAA is poised to issue regulations concluding that 2-engine operations are as safe as 3- or 4-engine operations and that ETOPS upper limits can expand to 5 1/2 hours (330 minutes).

Link to the Reuters article:
http://today.reuters.com/investing/f...EING-RULES.XML

Last edited by SeenItAll; 6th Jun 2006 at 18:28.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 18:15
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Speaking as a pax, and as one who would have been comfortable with the controversial BA 3-engine decision discussed recently, I would not feel comfortable with this. Particularly poor timing given the very recent failure of an engine on a ground run, documented in this forum.
 
Old 6th Jun 2006, 18:23
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hi tuba

for the record, that engine ground run I described elsewhere was about 5 years ago, just to remove any confusion.

as to this interesting development, I would just say that the rules should be changed so that a loss of any engine should require a landing at a prudent and responsibly selected nearby airport. nearby is open to judgement I suppose.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 18:51
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Saskatoon, you may well be right, but we are discussing the engine failure case as it was the FAA that saw fit to make such an issue of a 4 engine jet flying on 3 engines!

The inmates have taken over the asylum! This creeping extension of ETOPs has been insidious...each time 'it's only increased by 30 minutes- no problem!'. So it's gone up from 150 minutes to 330 in 'harmless little notches'! Are we really proposing to submit the squidgy breakable pink things to rely on their survival on one engine for 5 1/2 hours? Think about it! One engine that has been at high power with bleeds delivering full air supplies and generator flogging away, hydraulic pumps giving their all? Well blow me down! And just to make sure that them furriners don't get any undue advantage operating 4 engine jets against Uncle Sam Airlines twins, we'll try and make them furriners work to the same engine failure rules as Uncle Sam Airlines....ie it's no better than being on just one engine being on three. I see. Well done FAA....but I don't think Johnny Furriner is going to believe you or listen!
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 18:56
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Devil

jondc9, whilst we appreciate that you consider yourself an expert in all matters aviation and lay claim to fame with your live Chicken Noodle News 'expertise' during any live aviation incidents, I think you will find that the reference to "...the very recent failure of an engine on a ground run, documented in this forum." is actually referring to this more recent incident: American Airlines B767 engine failure.

It would appear that the incident wasn't 'live' enough for CNN to have called upon your expertise for a running commentary. No doubt though, you will be giving them your thoughts about the BA B744 LAX incident when the BA appeal against their fine by the FAA is reported.

In the meantime it looks as though 330 minutes on one engine will be proposed and you can be as subjective as you like about how 'nearby' a suitable airport can be. Your comment "I would just say that the rules should be changed so that a loss of any engine should require a landing at a prudent and responsibly selected nearby airport." is once again made without any real knowledge of the B744 and system redundancies. Heck, I'll even bet you think the A340 is just as redundant with its systems as the B744 because you can see four engines hanging off the wings.

The flying public base their opinions on what the 'experts' tell them. It would seem that the qualifications to get that status are a little ambiguous and murky.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 19:15
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From Wall St Journal :

The regulations are expected to allow twin-engine jetliners to fly routes where the nearest airport is as much as 5 hours away. That would open up the vast majority of commercial routes world-wide for the 777 as well as Boeing's next-generation 787 Dreamliner, expected to go into service in mid-2008.

Operators of long-range planes with three and four engines, particularly older models, will likely also face additional requirements to bring them to the same standard as newer twin-engine planes.

Wow, Airbus really are up against the FAA(Boeing).
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 19:32
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oh danny boy, the pipes the pipes are calling

I hadn't seen the American 767 blowing an engine, please repost for my benefit. I mentioned my post because a 767 ground run was referenced without any further identification. And I had just posted it. Perhaps the forum member who mentions the 767 ground run will come in and tell us which post he was referencing?

I think the chap who worries more about a fire or other problem over the ocean at 30 w is right on target. also worrying about a bomb over the ocean ( like air india) or other problems are worthy of thoughtful planning for the "whatif" factor


and danny, I posted a way for you to check my credentials. you continue to attack me and my views. that is fine. I do think the 747-400 is a fine plane from what I have read. My views on the BA incident are known.

I hope that if you ever hear me saying something "wrong" on tv that you will write to me right away at: [email protected], you can even "IM" me and if you have real info I will use it!

all the best danny...next time try breaking the prozac in half ( quote from ''seinfeld'')

j

"oh those magnificent men in their flying machines, they go, they enchant all the ladies and steal the scene with their uppity up up they go down ditty down down, up, down, flying around, looping the loop and defying the ground, their so frightfully keen those magnificent young men in their flying machines."

PPS: danny, last time I checked the A330 doesn't have 4 engines, but perhaps you are right and I am wrong.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 19:57
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PPS: danny, last time I checked the A330 doesn't have 4 engines, but perhaps you are right and I am wrong.
Well there has to be a first time for everything.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 20:01
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Danger

Combining such future ETOPs regulations with the reality of airlines outsourcing so much of their heavy airframe and engine maintenance could prove interesting. The FAA only requires that the maintenance/engineer supervisor be FAA-licensed, at least in foreign countries, based on an article in the Wall Street Journal about JetBlues' contract with a facility in El Salvador.

Even at a well-known facility in the (US) Deep South, one airline experienced so many serious logbook write-ups on various aircraft within a day of return to line operations, it was required to base one of its own airline maint. crew chiefs at the facility, in order to avoid serious problems. He picked us up at the terminal after the flight on ASA from Atlanta and drove us to the hangar.
In the 80's, the Naval Air Reserve lost a Convair 580 (based at the NAF by Andrews AFB) and flightcrew upon departure from the same facility. An inspection near the elevator control cable was not performed correctly and during the emergency return to the runway, each time the control yoke went forward, it could not be pulled back. "...Sweet home A------....".

One notable incident in the 90s involved a Valuejet (now called AirTran) DC-9 engine which had been overhauled in another country and at takeoff power lost some turbine blades on a runway in Atlanta (ATL). As painful as it was for the Flight Attendant on the aft jumpseat, at least it was not overwater, with four hours to reach an airport in January in the north Atlantic or Pacific.
How about outsourced maintenance performed on APUs and RATs, which provide back-up electrical power and hydraulic pressure for primary flight controls? A B-757/767 E&E compartment wehich senses smoke, or if the left recirc fan switch is mistakenly switched off, auto. opens the overboard exhaust valve and it latches open, can NOT be closed in the air. The cabin climbs about 1,000 fpm or more, and as you descend, the fuel flow increases a good bit. A Captain I was with, who could not control the hot cabin temp. in auto or manual, impulsively switched off the left recirc fan. Woops! But we were over level terrain and not far from dest. airport.

With the huge financial burdens placed on the airlines, and pressure on all departments to reduce costs, how will the FAA ensure that maintenance, mostly outsourced, for engines and aircraft systems to be used under ETOPS rules will be to the highest standards?

Are the severe demands to reduce costs the main factor in the FAA's announcement, or could it be to some extent politically motivated? Let's not forget who appoints the top administrators...
Perhaps the FAA decided to modify their traditional "cost/benefit analysis" formulas as the basis for safety decisions?

Let's forget about the undeclared hazardous material in a cargo bin, or in a passenger's bag in the cabin overhead bin. Lots of fuel for camping is carried onboard. None of this will be a factor. Perhaps a duplicate of a Viking ship will be available two hours from Iceland to pick up a few of those who ditch in the bitterly cold waters.

Last edited by Ignition Override; 7th Jun 2006 at 05:43.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 20:47
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Too Far

I have no problem being an ETOPS pax as the rules currently exist.....330 minutes away just seems toooooooo far. How many of us would have actually chosen to sit on that UA that did the longest single engine diversion so far....not many methinks....would any of us really want to be on one engine for 5 1/2 hours or indeed not feel a touch of nervousness.
The other thing that Boeing should bear in mind is that if one of their airplanes drops into the sea after a double engine failure on a 5 1/2 hour ETOPS flight that it may suffer greater restrictions on ETOPS than the current pretty sensible rules that apply. How would Boeing's marketing and indeed airline economics be affected if the rules became more restrictive...as they well might if the above ever occurs.
Lets play safe and leave the rules as they are...
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 21:29
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Forgive me, if possible, for being ghoulish, but the following seems to be a proper analysis:

One can see, from this moment looking forward, how the scenario plays out.

a. The 330-minute ETOPS rule goes into effect.

b. Some days, months, or years after this, an aircraft carrying passengers is caught in a web of circumstance that cause it to go down, with loss of life, in conditions that would not have occurred under the 'old' rules.

c. Hue and cry results. Public outrage requires reconsideration and tightening of the 330 ETOPS rule. Suddenly a large number of ETOPS twins and crews are surplus.

If this rule becomes effective, it would be a good point in time to see that specific individuals in the approval chain for 330 ETOPS have their names attached to the concept, IN LARGE LETTERS, so the public will know where to direct its anger when the time comes.

Last edited by arcniz; 6th Jun 2006 at 21:45.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 21:32
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Originally Posted by SeenItAll
...concluding that 2-engine operations are as safe as 3- or 4-engine operations and that ETOPS upper limits can expand to 5 1/2 hours (330 minutes).
You jest. I fly to 180 minutes ETOPS and think that is quite enuff. 330 minutes? forget it.
Anyway, what about the customers and the crews who are invited to do this. Are they asked?
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 21:52
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Although there are certainly many concerns with ETOPS 330, I'm not sure I fully agree with the concern that if a mechanical failure occurs during an ETOPS 330 flight, it means that regulations will be revised to become more restrictive.

My reasoning is as follows. Unless the mechanical failure occurs during the time that the flight is greater than 207 minutes from safe harbor, it is not an occurrence that flows directly from this increase in ETOPS time. Certainly, the in-flight time that occurs when the plane is greater than 207 minutes from an airport is quite small relative to the in-flight time while the plane is within 207 minutes. Indeed, most failures seem to occur on takeoff or landing, so the likelihood drops even more.

But even if the instigating mechanical failure occurs during supra-207 minute flight, an ETOPS "failure" due to this lengthening may not be considered to occur unless the plane then crashes before reaching an airport. But even this unfortunate event may not be the fault of the ETOPS lengthening unless it occurs after 207 minutes of one-engine flight. Certainly this too, is of small probability.

Thus, when you multiply the probabilities that the fault will only occur when beyond 207 minutes AND that the resulting single-engine flight continues for beyond 207 minutes before final failure, you get an extremely small overall probability. (Note that this presumes that both probabilities are independent, which may not be the case.) But based on logic, the only occurrences that would suggest that ETOPS should then be shrunk back to 207 minutes are those of this vanishingly small likelihood.

Again please note, I am not endorsing this expansion of ETOPS, only observing that the likelihood of a future occurrence that would prove it to have been unwise (presuming one is OK with 207 minute ETOPS -- which may not be the case) is very small. Indeed, this is what the FAA is probably banking on.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 22:33
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Originally Posted by jondc9
Perhaps the forum member who mentions the 767 ground run will come in and tell us which post he was referencing?
See this thread . On page 1 now as I look at it.
 
Old 6th Jun 2006, 22:58
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Originally Posted by Silver Tongued Cavalier
From Wall St Journal :
The regulations are expected to allow twin-engine jetliners to fly routes where the nearest airport is as much as 5½ hours away. That would open up the vast majority of commercial routes world-wide for the 777 as well as Boeing's next-generation 787 Dreamliner, expected to go into service in mid-2008.
Operators of long-range planes with three and four engines, particularly older models, will likely also face additional requirements to bring them to the same standard as newer twin-engine planes.
Wow, Airbus really are up against the FAA(Boeing).
Please note that both manufacturers produce 2 engined aircraft that fly over long routes and both would possibly benefit from this ruling.

While it may be fun for one to accuse the FAA/NTSB of collusion with Boeing, nothing could be further from the truth. Both agencies are autonomous and while the heads may be political appointees, the internal workings are typical big government comprising thousands of individuals with independent thought capabilities.

I can think of only one clear and documented example of political pressure affecting the otherwise good judgment of these safety-focused organizations in the past say, 5 years, and I can tell you, the outcome did not favour Boeing in the slightest.

This is not to say that I would agree with the new ETOPS ruling - seems a bit long to me as well.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 23:49
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But the only aircraft Boeing are likely to sell in any numbers are twins. The FAA have a dual mandate, not just to regulate aviation in the USA but also to promote American commercial interests. This ruling seems to demonstrate the latter quite adequately. I doubt the NTSB had anything to do with this ruling, nor do the FAA always pay heed to their findings, especially if those findings involve people having to spend money. Fortunately there are other regulatory bodies in the world and I doubt the FAA will find such ready approval for 330 minutes ETOPS or onerous restrictions on 3 or 4 engined aircraft from them.
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Old 7th Jun 2006, 05:25
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I am extremely tired of this type of misinformation continually being quoted about the FAA's "dual mandate." First of all, the dual mandate was removed by the Federal Aviation Authorization Act of 1996. That act made it clear in law that the FAA's primary mission is to promote safety and security. Secondly, the former dual mandate was to promote air commerce in general, not specifically American commercial interests. And the interpretation within the FAA was that air commerce was promoted by looking after safety first.
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Old 7th Jun 2006, 06:11
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Donstim, good points.

However, let's review just two of the exceptions to the FAA's "safety first" policy. After one or two ATR-42s (with European airlines) suffered serious aileron control anomolies in icing conditions, the FAA gave US airlines no instructions or guidance to help avoid this problem. And so an ATR-42 suffered "aileron snatch" over Roselawn, Indiana, and every body onboard died. The First Officer was the son of one of our Captains. Before this tragedy, the FAA had been informed about the incidents in Europe, but did nothing, according to former Am. Eagle pilots who I've worked with often. The FAA realized that their icing certification was quite flawed-this was verified during testing behind a USAF KC-135, which sprayed water in front of an ATR-42. After the smashed bodies in Roselawn were put into plastic bags, the FAA could no longer pretend that they knew nothing about a problem. This is just one more example of "safety first".

We all know about Valuejet's horrific tragedy and how an airline inspector's concerns were overridden by those with higher GS (Government Service) ratings. Over the decades, the NTSB made dozens of rulings on safety issues, each of which individually would have been at very moderate cost to airlines, without any FAA regulatory changes. After the Jetstream accident in North Carolina, Part 135 airlines were ordered to upgrade to 121 standards, but aside from that the majority of relatively minor changes were ignored by our friends at the FAA. The FAA stressed that safety came first-but only AFTER the loss of revenue passengers on the Valujet DC-9, and the consequent awkward revelation in front of Congress and the NBS News network etc. Even the ValueJet Vice President of Maint. claimed that the overall maint. responsibility had been outsourced to SabreTech etc. This entire operation was with the FAA's blessings.

The FAA did have (has?) the cost/benefit analyses to help those gentlemen decide how much safety, and at what costs to given airline fleets. Based upon how many decades passed before the FAA required a standby/reserve flightcrewmember to have an assigned rest period during each consecutive 24 hours, we all understand the FAA's priorities. Never mind the addition of a ferry (Part 91) flight(s) to a long duty period, which is still not addressed by Part 121 duty period, crew rest rules and limitations, unless I've missed some changes.

My next question for Ppruners in general about ETOPs is whether, based on enroute alternates being further than is now allowed, will the US airlines allow a Captain to seriosly delay or cancel a flight, due to worsening alternate forecast weather?
If this type of ETOPs were allowed by many foreign government regulatory agencies (all subject to national political factors?), due to competitive reasons, would all of them allow a Captain to make decisions based upon safety instead of cost?

There are Dispatchers with major US airlines who, after a Captain requires fuel for an alternate airport, will deceptively take fuel OUT of the normal contingency, i.e. 25-35 minutes, and, like the wizard in Monty Python's "Holy Grail", "create" alternate fuel-but now the contingency fuel is about 10 minutes. No doubt about it, this is pure deception and bending to commercial pressures (a dispatch supervisor...notice that I do not capitalize those words). Several hours later that day at the same hub airport, the weather was much worse, and the release from TPA had a reasonable dispatch fuel load. My safety report followed, based upon the early morning flight. The further departure delay is then a result of waiting for the fuel truck to show up.

So what would this be like with commercial (political?) pressure to fly a much larger ETOPS jet almost as if it were a three or four-engine plane, and pilots concerns might threaten a 'loss of face' and schedule chaos for a flag carrier?

Last edited by Ignition Override; 8th Jun 2006 at 04:20.
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Old 7th Jun 2006, 11:55
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Originally Posted by donstim
.... the former dual mandate was to promote air commerce in general, not specifically American commercial interests. And the interpretation within the FAA was that air commerce was promoted by looking after safety first.
Yes, just like the USA has a State Department but no Foreign Affairs Department, to promote air commerce in general is to promote American aviation interests.

If air commerce was promoted by looking after safety first then why was the 737 allowed to continue for so long with a dubious rudder actuator? Why were the hours flown by the crew in the AA crash at KLIT legal?
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Old 7th Jun 2006, 12:18
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Originally Posted by jondc9
I hadn't seen the American 767 blowing an engine, please repost for my benefit.
I thought "experts" were supposed to keep themselves up to date? As far as I can tell, the AA incident's been on page 1 of R&N since the day it happened.
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