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"Land at the nearest suitable airport"

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"Land at the nearest suitable airport"

Old 21st Sep 2010, 07:06
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"Land at the nearest suitable airport"

When I used to fly Boeings, this phrase (or one very similar to it) followed every check in the QRH where an engine had been shut down or similar. There was even a definition of exactly what it meant.

Last Saturday evenings Ryanair flight from Beziers to Bristol had a birdstrike between V1 and VR (according to a conversation between the pilots overheard by SLF - "There wasn't enough room to stop") accompanied by severe vibration. What did our heroes do? Land back at BZR (10 knots down the runway, CAVOK)? No, they diverted to Girona, some 200km (and a mountain range) away where maintenance facilities were [presumably] available. Three fan blades severely damaged.

Obviously as ever in these cases I am not in possession of all the facts, but I would like to be, before I consider my next RYR flight!!
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 07:22
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Was the engine shut down? If not it seems like a perfectly reasonable decision to me.

You appear to have pre- judged them in any event in spite of admitting that you don't know much about it.

A likely checklist would be the high engine vibration checklist which does not lead you to land at the nearest suitable airport if the vibration can be kept within parameters.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 07:47
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You really should get your facts before making posts like that,

On the Safety side
1. Don't forget how fast a 737 is, by the time the guys had the checks done and talked to atc they would have most of the distance to GRO covered rather than sitting in a hold over BZR.
2. The rwy in GRO is a good 1000ft longer than in BZR, a very important factor on one engine.
3. Most Ryr pilots will know GRO airport being one of the bigger bases, meaning less workload on the pilots.
4. Being a base the emergency services in GRO will be more familiar with Ryr aircraft.

On a commercial side
1.There will be engineering cover in GRO
2.At this time of year they will prob have a spare aircraft/crew.
3.The ground staff will be better able to manage the situation.

Contrary to popular belief there are reasons the pilots fly the plane and not the cabin crew
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 07:56
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On a commercial side
1.There will be engineering cover in GRO
2.At this time of year they will prob have a spare aircraft/crew.
3.The ground staff will be better able to manage the situation.
Commercial pressure if I ever read it...
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 08:06
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I Agree with Wayupthere

Two engines on there and if there both still turning, gain some distance from terra firma and work the problem, if your heading towards friendly ground at the same time then bonus! for me immediate landing is engine fire or other fire and aircraft(pax) in dire stress, a bit of birdie feathers on one lump of metal ill happy work the problem first before going nuts into the nearest airfield

mountain range would make me think a little more about GRO though but without all the facts cant say thats a bad decision, maybe more than enough altitude to risk flying over it single engine.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 08:40
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Hey Zero, don't change the context of the thread, of course immediate landing is an appropriate response for a fire but that's not what we're discussing.

I've had several birds in several engines over the years and I can't predict the extent of damage from the cockpit; nor can you. I agree that working the problem before "going nuts into the nearest ..." is sensible but I would generally prefer to remain in close proximity to a usable runway while doing so. An engine with a bird down it can behave normally for a while then go downhill fast!
I agree with wayupthere's safety factors but his commercial factors can be no more than minor bonuses if the safety decision points the same way.

In any case sounds like the outcome was a safe landing so well done the guys!

Happy landings!
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 08:59
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The statement that GRO is 1000' longer than BZR and therefore a better choice in considering a SE landing is not a significant consideration. The LDR at F15 is not so much longer than F30. With that logic he should have gone to TLS with xx,xxx thousand feet available. If the engine was dead he should have landed back at BZR, if it was just 'injured' going to GRO was quite an acceptable course of action.

When you run an airline targeting minimum costs in all areas it goes without saying that using airports 'out in the sticks' that are poorly connected and have little/no facilities will result in more diversions for technical and weather reasons. Ryanair is happy to take that commercial risk as it does not arise so often........ unfortunately if it is your flight that is diverted then this is no consolation whatsoever.

Whatever the circumstances, with Ryanair the convenience of the customers will not be on the list of considerations. Culture in any organisation is bred from the top down. With the attitude of Mr O'Dreary it can only be a matter of time before we see a Ryanair tail sticking out of a smoking hole.

Last edited by Magplug; 21st Sep 2010 at 09:13.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 09:11
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bzr is 2000m long

In the emergency briefing i usually specify return alternate. One is not very confortable to land with one engine inop on a 2000m long runway. It can be done but why make it chalenging. MPL is 2600m long at 30 NM and PGF is at 40 NM (2500 m long).

Reference distance for 60000KG (24K) is 955 m ; oei Vref 15; dry runway

Nobody is saying anything about the weather, the aircraft weight, runway condition and also about the outcome of the birdstrike => Engine failure or high engine vibration.

It's easy to stay in front of the computer and speculate.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 10:14
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There are some serious geeky PPL guys who must wear 4 stripes when they show up to there flying club to get in there C150.

The crew did the right thing for the situation.

The rest of you go back to the airport fence with your note pads and airband radio.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 11:03
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Finbarr, does the Boeing checklist also include a phrase "Land Immediately"?
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 12:04
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Once again a thread about second guessing a "what if" pilot decision.

What condition the engine is found after landing has no bearing on a decison while in the air.

The crew is provided with engine symptoms in the air, SOPs and room for weighing alternatives (judgemental).

The decision to land and when and where should consider the crew work load, (opportunity for errors) versus the performamnce degardation of the aircraft.

Having had an engine annomaly with vibration that is controllable by retarding the throttle still provides redundancy in systems as well as a potential thrust redundancy in an emergency.

Landing at unfamilar airports (charts, protocols etc.) vs a more comfortable alternate simply is part of the flexibility in judgement in-the-air (not hind sight on-the-ground)
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 12:05
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We had a similar situation climbing out of Lincoln [KLNK] to Omaha [KOMA]. Bird strike; some engine vibration; did NOT shut engine down; continued to Omaha [10-15 minutes maybe ?]. No big deal. Had the vibration been such that we shut the engine down, we probably would've gone back to Lincoln, but the time involved would be pretty close between that and continuing on to Omaha. We only had ONE fan blade damaged. What amazed me was that Maintainence merely filed the oposite blade down the same as the damaged one and ferried the aircraft to KSFO for an engine change !

Edit: BTW.....aircraft was a B-737-200.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 12:11
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Monday morning quaterbacks!

A few years back XL airways had an engine failure just north of Alexandria, I seem to remember a lot of flack on these forums for not landing in Egypt.

The fact of the matter was that by the time the QRH items had been done Larnaca was the best place to go.

I suspect that this situation was much the same except that the anti Ryanair faction is much bigger and rushing to jump on the band wagon.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 12:44
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Devil suitable airfield

seems a good decision to me unlike one carrier a few years ago that decided that a suitable airfield was EGCC after having an engine go bang at LAX!
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 12:49
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FWIW: flying the 200nm to the longer rwy burned off a bit more fuel, lower landing weight ... lomapaseo's response was almost exactly what I was thinking after I read the OP.

Wayupthere, thanks for the well rounded illustration of factors in decision making for an engine malfunction.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 12:52
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Typical FR pilots wanting to go way further into France and over the mountains into Gerona rather than going across the Med, they obviously ignored the easiest way as the Med is really hard to see from Beziers.

OP could you provide us with the ATC track they followed in getting there as no doubt that will back up your "theory".
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 12:55
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seems a good decision to me unlike one carrier a few years ago that decided that a suitable airfield was EGCC after having an engine go bang at LAX!
ISTR that was a BA 744, so perfectly happy to continue on 3 engines.
It started an argument between the UK CAA who agreed with the pilot and the FAA/NTSB who threw a hissy fit despite the Boeing SOPs
clearly supporting the decision to continue on 3.

But my memory could be wrong........
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 13:45
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f there was ever any doubt of PPRuNe being a full of amateur arm chair pilots....I suggest we let the piston twin novices continue with the thread but any professional will know that confronted with the same situation the choice is a no brainer.

Funny, but nobody has considered the stupidity behind turning around and landing a loaded up (over landing weight) aircraft on a runway that is covered in the debris from that recently damaged engine.

There aren't too many things more stupid that trying to land a jet on a bunch of N1 fan blade parts scattered all over a runway. That would sure help with braking efficiency...not!


they merely used common sense and chose a better and more suitable alternate.
More appropriately, they decided to go TO their TAKEOFF ALTERNATE. For all the rookies, yes, we professionals actually "plan" Take-Off Alternates.

These boys did a good job. Compromised aircraft is on the ground without incident. They handled the problem very professionally.

If your family had been on that flight, you'd be singing heroic praises, so leave these guys alone.
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 14:38
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bzr - gro

Typical FR pilots wanting to go way further into France and over the mountains into Gerona rather than going across the Med, they obviously ignored the easiest way as the Med is really hard to see from Beziers
racedo, suggest you check your geography before making such comments! The great circle distance from bzr to gro is 89 nm, hardly a long cross country even on one engine although we don't even know whether an engine was shut down!

The arrivals from the east and south into Gerona would avoid any "mountains"!
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 14:44
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racedo, suggest you check your geography before making such comments! The great circle distance from bzr to gro is 89 nm, hardly a long cross country even on one engine although we don't even know whether an engine was shut down!

The arrivals from the east and south into Gerona would avoid any "mountains"!
You missed the complete sarcasm in my post that somehow the Pilots would have needed to go across the Pyrenees and that they would have missed seeing the Med from Bezier

Avherald has a similar comment to OP's that was slapped down.
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