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Swarm of bees grounds UK aircraft

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Swarm of bees grounds UK aircraft

Old 25th May 2007, 16:10
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Swarm of bees grounds UK aircraft

Apparently a Palmair 737 out of EGHH suffered a bee strike!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/6691851.stm
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Old 25th May 2007, 16:26
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Engine surge an hour after flying through them!
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Old 26th May 2007, 16:12
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Swarm of bees grounds UK aircraft

OK, maybe this will end up on JetBlast.....
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e...et/6691851.stm

Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK

Almost 200 passengers found themselves stranded at Bournemouth Airport for 11 hours after their plane turned back after flying into a swarm of bees.

The Palmair Boeing 737, bound for Faro in Portugal, took off from Bournemouth at 0810 BST on Thursday.

But after flying into the swarm the pilot experienced an engine surge an hour later and returned the aircraft to the UK for checks.

Engineers ruled it was unsafe to fly and another plane took off at 1915 BST.
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Old 26th May 2007, 16:48
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Devil

This event reveals serious shortcomings in the training of aircrew, if we read between the lines of the report in todays Times newspaper.

It turns out that, after experiencing some power surges, and then after a short silence a loud bang, the pilot was instructed to return to BOH using only one engine. He came on the radio to tell passengers that, in simple terms, something akin to a carburetor failure had occurred, and that they would go back to BOH.

This raises several questions;

1. Why did the pilot have to be instructed on what to do, ie return to BOH using only one engine? Are pilots not trained to make such decisions?

2. Why did the pilot not know that he is provided with a PA system? There was no need to use the radio, and, for that matter no guarantee that every passenger would have one switched on to listen with. This is a Health & Safety issue as well as a training issue.

3. Finally, I realise that in these straightened times airlines such as Palmair have to keep their costs down. But a little technical training for the pilot would have meant that he would have known immediately that a swarm of bees could not have affected the carburetter on his jet; any fool knows that they could not possibly have got through the airfilter.
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Old 26th May 2007, 17:13
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Suspending Disbelief...

OK OnB I'm going to suspend my disbelief here and imagine that you have written a serious post.... I may come to regret this....

Aircrew often make decisions in consultation with company ground staff of an operational nature - i.e. which airfield the company would prefer them to divert to when a 'situation' develops. The company does not tell them which engine to shut down or any other such thing. The final call rests with the crew or, more specifically, the captain.

A swarm of bees is going to have to be pretty bloody dense to affect a JET engine which DOES NOT have a carburettor. I think this explanation was offered as an analogy which might have made more sense to passengers.

Our friends in the media are occasionally(?) particularly inept at writing aircraft related stories with any sort of technical accuracy. I can almost always get a good laugh out of reading a journalist's interpretation of any flight-related story. Of particular comic value was the unforgettable piece in the Times some years ago where a journalist attempted to describe the dangerous effects of flying near thunderstorms. The principal cause of dangerous height loss on final approach in the vicinity of thunderstorms was attributed to the weight of water built up on the wings from the rain....

The stuff written in the papers isn't for us as flight crew, more for the general public, but it wouldn't hurt to get it a bit more 'right' now and again.

At this rate we'll have passengers peering into CFM56s looking for the K&N air filters...!
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Old 26th May 2007, 17:42
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8846,
OnB has been around here a bit longer than you... give him some slack

From the newspaper article:
"It is believed the plane's engines ingested the bees while flying over Bournemouth but this did not cause problems until later into the flight."

About an hour later, it seems.
What baffles me, seriously, is how they established any kind of "cause and effect" relationship between the two events.

An engine surge or flame-out at the moment of the encounter I could have believed. But a few remaining bee carcasses causing an engine surge an hour later? Pull the other one, it's got bells on.
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Old 26th May 2007, 17:56
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Why did the pilot not know that he is provided with a PA system?
OnB,
I very much doubt that the PA system, as being totally non-essential, is on the PalmAir MEL.
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Old 26th May 2007, 17:56
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Oh dear.....

It was meant as an ironic comment on the report! Saturday afternoon and all that.
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Old 26th May 2007, 18:03
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o,nb - it was not wasted Did the paper say that the a/c would definitely need a 'B' check?
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Old 26th May 2007, 18:03
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Talking

Laugh, I nearly wet myself!! well done old not bold, you actually got someone to bite !!! It was extremely lucky the passengers were listening out on frequency at the time, otherwise they would have thought they had arrived at destination!
Ps: Maybe the pilot had fitted an induction kit to make it go faster (or sound louder), and had removed the airfilter?
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Old 26th May 2007, 18:14
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.... a swarm of bees could not have affected the carburetter on his jet
OnB,
Being old is not ALWAYS an advantage... You obviously have NO experience with them new FADEC-controlled carburettors.

20,000 bees in the air-fuel mix would have upset the scheduling no end, but it would have taken some time to recalculate the PSJ parameters, hence the surge occurring later.
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Old 26th May 2007, 18:27
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ChristiaanJ; I acknowledge the technical purity of your suggestion, not bad for a radio man, but I'll go with slipper's go-faster mod as the more likely explanation.

You know what these new young pilots are like, speed, speed speed, it's all they think about.

It's the start of the slippery slope of course; next it's ecstasy, then who knows......?
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Old 26th May 2007, 18:30
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BOAC, Sir;

No, I don't think so, but I wish it had!
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Old 26th May 2007, 22:03
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Gentlemen and ladies, there's already a 'corny joke' thread of this incident in JB. Just click here. This is being merged into the original thread on this topic which was started yesterday and will stay to see if there's any technical info on this incident worthy of review or discussion here.
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Old 26th May 2007, 22:12
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Danny,
Just looked at the linked topic and nearly had a "wet monitor" moment.
But it would be interesting to know what really happened..... before the urban legend "Bees Bring Down Airliner" gets fully entrenched.
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Old 27th May 2007, 07:56
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BOH Bees

Don’t shoot me down gentlemen, this is my first post and I am a mere SLF. I believe what happened was more along these lines.

The aircraft encountered the bees shortly after take off whilst climbing to FL70. The flight deck window went darker (with what I am going to describe as ‘bee juice’ – not a technical term). There was a momentary change in engine note. Coincidently, the aircraft levelled off at FL70 as previously instructed by ATC.

When cleared to climb again and the power was increased, the engine began to surge. The captain elected to return to Bournemouth, but was currently over the max landing weight. As there was no emergency situation, the aircraft was flown until the landing weight was within limits.

The engine was not shut down in flight. Total time block to block was around 55 minutes I believe.

Upon arrival at BOH the aircraft was inspected, the engine was boroscoped and the flap assembly cleaned and checked (the aircraft was apparently black with the ‘bee juice’ I mentioned earlier. The aircraft was taken for an air test (with no passengers obviously). It was found that at some power settings there were still surges / bangs.

The engine was inspected and boroscoped again, no blades were found to have been damaged. The engineers changed the engine and I believe that the incident engine has been sent away to be stripped down.

Apparently it is has proved to be extremely difficult to get the black staining off the aircraft…
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Old 27th May 2007, 10:20
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And just to add a few FACTS. On departure there was no mention of any problem from the pilot to atc. the aircraft climbed out of FL70about 15 miles south of eghh. The pilot indicated he wanted to return to eghh when the aircraft was about 50 miles south of eghh. the pilot mentioned there had been an engine surge but was not declaring an emergency. there was not an engine shut down, aircraft landed on both.
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Old 27th May 2007, 12:12
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As someone whose expertise regarding jet engines is pretty much confined to "spin it, chuck fuel in, set fire to it, go flying", is it possible that such a large concentration of reasonably sized insects could have blocked probes etc in the intake and upset the FADEC or similar TMS or whatever?
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Old 27th May 2007, 14:33
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As someone whose expertise regarding jet engines is pretty much confined to "spin it, chuck fuel in, set fire to it, go flying", is it possible that such a large concentration of reasonably sized insects could have blocked probes etc in the intake and upset the FADEC or similar TMS or whatever?
FADECS are typically programed to synthensize missing parameters from the aircraft like inlet probes. However it might (outside of my experience) be possible for bee juice to screw up internal engine probes that set the bleed operation for accel conditions. This certainly sounds like a one-off to me and the outcome was well managed.
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Old 27th May 2007, 20:19
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Just to explain why the engine didn't surge until an hour after the bee strike. Palmair use EAC 737-200s it is probable that the bees managed to fly in front of the JT8Ds for an hour until they got tired.
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