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"Land at the nearest suitable airport"

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"Land at the nearest suitable airport"

Old 21st Sep 2010, 15:55
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racedo - sorry LOL - hook, line and sinker!
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 16:17
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Get the facts JACK!

No doubt a very nice CRM discussion to be made out of this.

Ok so we have two Rated, Current and Typed Pilots who can read and understand ICAO 4 english.

We have Operations who may have played a 0 role in their decision or applied immense pressure - do they comm. thru ACARS directly with the crew?!

We have CM1 who may have had a hot babe waiting for him after duty!
Thinking "Crap if I don't avoid a big financial mess - O'Dreamy will say I'm gone!"

We have CM2 who is maybe one of those "I pay by the hour types" and little input.
CM2 had CM1's Wife secretly waiting for him after Duty?
CM2 made all the decisions.

So now thinking back to my Boeing NG days.

Was the engine still running after this strike/s?
Damage blade/s DOES NOT MEAN A DAMAGED Engine as per NNC or QRH's.
You could look through a PAX window to see if in inner engine side had been penetrated otherwise your source of info is from your digital displayed data.
Did it SURGE or STALL or have a HIGH VIB or EGT?
If it did, then at what power of N1 setting could the surge or stall or high VIB be avoided by retarding the Thrust Lever?
Then the question - when do you YOU consider an engine as DAMAGED or SINGLE ENGINE?
I would say if it cannot produce max thrust its damaged - so a Flight Idle running engine is for me still SE when I need performance! Yes Smartie-pants I know you still have an IDG and EDP (hyd.).

My opinion is that CFM's do not flame out, surge or stall unless they are damaged in some way. Let us face - these engines will run over 50,000 hrs. will fluid and oils sufficient.

What did the SOP say about this?
What will the Feds say?
Did Ops in DUB start sending some sort of ACARS messages to continue (if they can)?

Was it a classic sim. generate crunching grinding halt 92 to 0% N1 in millliseconds? So no argument there - SEVERE DAMAGE!
A shut down engine means what? 60% loss of performance in certain areas (obviously no in DLD)?

So even IF this engine was at Flight Idle OR Shutdown, making the decision to fly away from that Dep. Airport COULD be another slice in the swiss cheese model.
What If the Dest. airport shuts down for any insanely remote reason (WX, Bomb scare, FF services in use, etc.) and you cannot make it - then what? Fly back - divert some more?
Here comes Smarie-pants SLF again "But what if the Dep. A/P shutsdown for ALL landing traffic just as you are performing your Approach!". Valid point, but then I know I'll have to divert or HOLD until it re-opens. Bla. Bla.

Back to this example. What if Enroute the non-damaged engine starts to shows signs it too was damaged by the flying culprits. Surges, stalls, etc...

So when you're half way between T/O point and Div. A/P, it may just be a no win situation!

So when you have the facts we can start the CRM discussion properly.

I would say as far as flight safety goes - if the Dep. A/P was CAVOK, xwc and DLD within limits I would not even think about going anywhere but into the Hold and land from where I started.
If O'Dreamy and the Pax what to get on my Ass - let them, because history is full of those Crews who rolled the dice and got burned.

Lastly we should find out what this extra flight time on this damaged engine cost AFTER THE FACT? A windmilling or even a Flight Idle running engine can still look to be functioning normally but every minute of operation drives the repairs into the Millions of extra $. So in this case the Crew saved the Co. Euro 50K in hotels, buses, etc. but drove up the repair bill up 20 fold... so then commercially a very bad decision?
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 16:31
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Did Ops in DUB start sending some sort of ACARS messages to continue (if they can)?
Nothing fancy like that in Ryr aircraft!
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 16:35
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Did Ops in DUB start sending some sort of ACARS messages to continue (if they can)?
I can assure they don't - ACARS - we wish!!

Good grief, never seen such a fuss over nothing - you know these a/c will fly on one engine - you also need time to prepare, brief the cabin, even burn a bit of the weight off prior to landing. Sounds like good decison making to me - Captains are paid to make such decisions and it says "Nearest" (which means in terms of time not distance) "Suitable" airport - GRO seems a lot more suitable to me than BZR.

Last edited by fireflybob; 21st Sep 2010 at 16:45.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 16:37
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For me, land at nearest suitable means, if there is a strip, and there is no flight safety risk in landing there, you land there, disregarding operational or maintenance aspects.

Engine failures or other similar technical problems needing a landing are way to seldom to be optimized economically.

Safety first, at all times.
Well put, studi.
A very well reasoned reply, considering this was a two engine airplane.
3 or 4 engines, different story altogether.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 16:57
  #26 (permalink)  
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flame out???????????

Read the CAA report re the LAX engine failure.

Air Accidents Investigation: Boeing 747-436, G-BNLG
The full report is even better!
They didn't know the extent of the damage so the spare FO went to look at the engine in the dark and then asked passengers what they had seen.

The fuel mismanagement ended up with a Mayday going into EGCC.

And that wouldn't be the only G reg kite that had fuel problems!

From the Times - the FAA withdrew the fine if they changed their procedures.

And for many of our Brit friends - what they did is illegal in many parts of the world as one of their ex pilots did a similar trick working for the frogs and was arrested!

Engine goes bang - land at first suitable airfield, the rest is arrogant stupidity.

Last edited by blind pew; 21st Sep 2010 at 17:05. Reason: adding link
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 17:16
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blind pew, the case under discussion bears little resemblance if any to the BA LAX engine "failure" which has been debated endlessly in previous threads.

If you accept that in that case they shouldn't have continued (which I dont and btw I don't work for BA) then you could argue that they didn't land at the "nearest suitable" airport.

In this case we don't even know whether an engine was shutdown but clearly a landing at GRO rather than BZR (especially on one engine) would be far more suitable.

MODs I suggest you lock this thread before it descends into farce which it almost has.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 17:55
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.......... have now managed to get into double digits with engine failures, for various reasons, in various flight phases, on jet powered aircraft - some leaving me on one engine.......... unless you're on fire or with serious vibration I wouldn't necessarily call it an emergency.

......... my view, FWIW, is don't rush, order a cup or tea/coffee, get as much info on your failure as possible, take advice but be very careful of advice from the ground - soak up the big picture and do what makes you comfortable and yes, consider the commercial implications when all other things are equal. Whilst doing all of the above as well as checklists etc you might as well use the time and miles going towards a better airfield as going around in circles above the departure point. Save the hair on fire dirty dive back in for being on fire....... and even then perhaps not.

Sounds like the Ryanair guys did a professional job.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 18:17
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It all depends on how the company, your company, defines "nearest suitable airport".

On one type in my company it can be the case that the nearest suitable airport is the destination. It can also be the case that it is the departure airport, or anywhere else inbetween. And, of course, commercial options are taken into this consideration.

The ECL for this particular type also includes the phrase "Land Immediately" (Or words to that effect). This implies that you should...well...land immediately. Commercial considerations go to the back burner and all that really matters is that you can get on the runway and stop.

On the other type there is only the phrase "Land at Nearest Suitable Airport". This means land immediately.

The company has gone to great lengths to make sure people transferring between the two types are aware of this difference.

So to summarise, land at nearest suitable airport can mean either:
- Land immediately or,
- Land at the nearest suitable airport, the nearest suitable airport may not be the nearest suitable airport.

Can anyone tell us what the Ryanair/Boeing ECL says for engine vibration? Land immediately or land at the nearest suitable airport.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 18:51
  #30 (permalink)  
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Engine High Vibration Checklist does not tell you to land in any case. The final note in case you cannot keep the vibrations below 4 units reads:

If the VIB indication does not decrease when the thrust lever is retarded, check other engine indications. If other engine indications are normal, no further action is needed.

Not even a pointer to the Engine Failure or Shutdown list, although it would be a normal consideration during FORDEC or DODAR, whatever you use.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 18:53
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"Some days, you should stay in bed."

I submit that a lot of the posters on this thread should stay in bed most days. They should not be (and probably are not) involved in flying multi-engined jets.

To cavil about landing at a more suitable airport a mere 89 miles away beggars belief.

Well done to the crew concerned. All in a days work.

Last edited by Neptunus Rex; 21st Sep 2010 at 20:18. Reason: syntax
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 20:05
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damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Nearest suitable...I was based at DCA for a long time. (washington national/regan national). You takeoff...blow an engine and if you are getting vectors for return, with a downwind to the west, you are closer to KIAD (dulles airport). so, which is the nearest suitable>?

Almost every briefing was: if we lose one on takeoff, we'll get vectors to dulles. the only time we didn't do that was : if we lose one on takeoff and dulles is below minimums we'll get vectors to Andrews Air Force Base (where air force one lives0>

You have to do what you think is the best course of action at the time. But if you are going somewhere cuz they have better company mx, you might find your ticket gone for awhile.

good luck

and as long as an engine is producing some thrust...keep it running if you can safely do so.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 20:09
  #33 (permalink)  
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Well as a retired 2 & 4 engine plane jockey - 18,000 hours - I haven't noticed a post that says a twin engined airplane will if it loses it's 2nd engine become a glider. I agree with the decision of the BA LAX flt continuing to MAN but a a twin? Land at the nearest suitable airfield. No time to go to court to argue the issue. Common sense really. Depends why the 1st engine failed as to what is the 'Nearest suitable airport'. No time for elf & safety here. COMMON SENSE combined with airmanship. Simples.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 20:14
  #34 (permalink)  
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The most basic of flt training Folks...Simulate an engine failure on T/O (in a C-150 or PA-28) and 9 out of 10 students look for and find a distant field that looks good...only problem it's too far away...

Excerise over now, and the end result is my students always came to realize that the answer to the ??? "Where can you land" is ALWAYS on whatever is below you...not some distant field...if not suitable then work outward from there, but be prepared to sacrifice the A/C to save yourself...

BTW, don't know about other Ops Manuals, but most airlines I've worked at have a bit in them that say the Capt should consider landing overweight vs. holding and dumping fuel...

In other words, get the thing on the ground, not embark on a cross-country oddessy with and unknown problem...
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 20:16
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So nice to fly a single engine, at least you don't have to ask and answer this kind of question ...
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 21:03
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Ryanair procedures and briefs include a fair amount of Bla Bla Bla, add to that a CC N.I.T.S brief ,and you have already covered most of the 89nm to Girona.
Beziers-Girona is over in the blink of an eye in this situation, barely enough time to complete QRH items,get the charts out, & complete all the other aforementioned items.

As for terrain, the arrival is to the East of the really high ground if landing straight in on on RW 20, if any doubts, you just head towards Begur & make the approach from there.
Sound decision
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 21:08
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On the other type there is only the phrase "Land at Nearest Suitable Airport". This means land immediately.
So why doesn't it say Land Immediately?

Mind you, it's all suggestive in my opinion. Capt to interpret based on current situation.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 21:40
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So why doesn't it say Land Immediately?
To avoid people landing at an unsuitable airport.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 22:06
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The C500 VP-BGE crash of 30/03/2008 is a case in point. The crew experienced vibration, inadverently shut down the engines and failed to make it back. If it stays in the air, keep it there, sort out the problem and then decide on the best course of action. It seems to me that is precisely what the Ryanair crew did and did it well.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 23:53
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The task, and thus difference between descriptions is essentially one of risk assessment.
If the current situation involves a higher level of risk than normal, e.g. engine fire, then some additional risk can be accepted for an immediate landing.
However, this judgement should not disregard higher risks in the attempt to land, e.g. you could accept a reduced landing distance safety margin (short runway), but perhaps not exceed the recommended crosswind. In the first instance the pilot retains control of the landing situation whereas in the second s/he probably does not. Caution, we all think that we are better than we actually are – particularly when stressed by a serious emergency.

For situations involving minimal additional risk for continued flight, e.g. single engine flight after engine shutdown / surge, then no additional risk need be considered in planning to land at a nearby airport. Also, within a small margin, not necessarily the closest airport could be chosen. The choice must be justifiable after the fact (what if) and thus might exclude an ‘economic’ choice; although such a choice coupled with fuel burn / weight reduction could be acceptable. Again beware of human bias – wish think; justifying something to yourself is often easy, but it is not the same as having to explain the decision to an accident investigator.
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