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Incident at Heathrow

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Incident at Heathrow

Old 25th May 2013, 05:31
  #281 (permalink)  
 
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Who says it was just oil servicing that required the cowls open? There are a multitude of reasons why they were opened that night, servicing, part number checks, lessor inspections, trouble shooting.

I have carried out many lessor inspections on overnight stops and we always ask for the cowls to be opened.
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Old 25th May 2013, 05:39
  #282 (permalink)  
 
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Oh Dear Lord!

The time has surely come for this website (or forum) to be censored in order that the tripe, drivel and absolute spouted by pax, armchair captains, plane-spotters, playstation jockeys, the ignorant and the illiterate can be weeded out.

Posts by ILS27 and so many others reduce this 'site to a social-network place full of clueless gossiping teens
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Old 25th May 2013, 06:18
  #283 (permalink)  
 
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I suppose at BA the flight crew does not do a preflight inspection before flight, when departing from their home base. That is done by the AMT...?
At least this is how we do it in our airline. I never do the preflight at my home base, only at outstations.
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Old 25th May 2013, 06:19
  #284 (permalink)  
 
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It is normal practice nowadays for the airframr manufacturer to have the engine manufacturer to supply the power plant package to hang on the wing, including the nacelle. Differences in engine design will mean that the cowling and inspection hatches will be different for for a IAE or GE powered aircraft. All engine related checks are regulated by the power plant supplier, which lets Airbus off the hook in case of some failure. 40 years ago when I was flogging aircraft, things were lot simpler, no engine choice and the customer only got to choose the paint job!!!
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Old 25th May 2013, 06:35
  #285 (permalink)  
 
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Can somebody explain why an aircraft returns to LHR causing further disruption to both the airports and airlines operations. Given that there are other suitable 'quieter' airports to divert to LTN,STN,MSE for example where the impact of the arrival would not cause such upheaval. I appreciate that the passenger and crews safety is of paramount importance but was wondering if there is a procedural input into a diversion of this type as to where to land.
Thanks in advance

This question in no way detracts from the excellent airmanship involved in this specific incident, my question is of a general nature.
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Old 25th May 2013, 06:35
  #286 (permalink)  
 
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I am very surprised by some comments regarding actual circumstances of maintenance activities being 'difficult' eg it's dark, cold, stressful, etc. and potential 'knee-jerk' reactions and 'time consuming' changes to procedures in response to whatever exactly happened.

Hello? We're talking about 75 passengers and crew flying over the heavily built-up capital of the UK.

They were very lucky that the cowls separated when they did without damaging the airframe. Given the starboard engine fire, can you imagine the consequences of the flight having been unable to make it back to LHR coming down anywhere along the approach to LHR?
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Old 25th May 2013, 06:35
  #287 (permalink)  
 
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Fox Niner

Incorrect. At BA the pilots complete a preflight inspection before every flight whether at home base or down route.
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Old 25th May 2013, 06:43
  #288 (permalink)  
 
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Ham Phisted, thanks for info.

Where are the cowlings now?
Have they been found near the runway? or in Chelsea/Westminster/Kensington?
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Old 25th May 2013, 06:51
  #289 (permalink)  
 
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Uninformed comment

This thread has attracted a lot of very uninformed comment from people who have clearly never flown an airliner or opened and closed a set of cowls on a large fan engine.

The first thing I have to say is a big "well done" to the crew, your actions resulted in a sucsesfull outcome in an unusual situation and in my view any critsisum of the crew is totaly unwarranted. ( more about the "walk around" inspection by the crew later).

It is by now clear that the engine cowls had been left unlatched and these large composite structures departed from the aircraft due to the airflow and it is likely that the departing cowl damaged part of the engine fuel system. ( if this was a CFM56 I would have speculated that the cowl had damaged the outputs from the HMU that use fuel pressure to control the turbine and rotor active clearance control. This was a V2500 so comment on the likelyhood of this requires comment from someone who knows the V2500).

No doubt the BA engineering management are looking to hang someone for this maintenance error but it is likely that the root of this error is he fact that BA maintainence has been understaffed for some time and dispite finally belatedly realizing this it takes three years to get new maintenance staff online and a lot longer to get them to be 100% effective, so BA maintenance is well behind the drag curve on recruitment and manning levels. I am going to speculate that undermanning and the extra pressure of work put on those staff is at the root of this maintenance error ?

Could this mantanence error been picked up on the flight crews "walk around" inspection ? To this I have to say a very big YES !!!
At one time I had a nine inch flat blade screwdriver and one of the used of this was to check engine cowl security ( the other was to check the fuel dip sticks). I like all pilots are prohibited from having this tool as in this age of security paranoia I am not trusted as captain of the aircraft to carry such a dangerous weapon. If the guy doing the walk around inspection had access to a screwdriver he might have picked up the maintenance error but without such a tool there is no chance to do so.

So here we might well have the first clear link between the oppressive security culture and its adverse effect on flight safety.

The AAIB will no doubt investigate all of this bit just like the departure of the windshield from the BA BAe 1-11 twenty years or so back it is likely to be largely a human factors investigation.
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Old 25th May 2013, 06:57
  #290 (permalink)  
 
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All incidents of this type have occurred despite multiple visual checks by engineers and pilots, clearly a misleading design which must be fixed
Multiple visual checks, or cursory glances? Not the same thing.
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Old 25th May 2013, 07:03
  #291 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting piece on BBC Radio 4 just now. Their presenter happened to be at Swanwick yesterday recording a piece about future London airports, and asked the top man there about the decision to bring an aircraft in difficulty back to Heathrow over a large populated area with limited options, rather than go to say Stansted.
Controller chief's answer was that ultimately it is the pilot and crew who make the decisions, and they (ATC) are there to assist the crew. So presumably the implication is that ATC cannot "insist" that an aircraft diverts away from a populated area in case --in this instance--the crew might have found themselves committed to a Heathrow approach and the other engine failed.

Hell of a responsibility on the crew, maybe unfairly so.

Last edited by EGCA; 25th May 2013 at 07:04.
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Old 25th May 2013, 07:04
  #292 (permalink)  
 
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Excellent and well informed post A & C.

However, lets not assume the cowls were left unlatched until the facts are known eh. Unlikely as it sounds, there could be a common mechanical failure or external factors.

Agnostique75

It is always unpleasant to see facts get in the way of a good session of Airbus bashing…
Indeed, you missed the fact that Rolls Royce was one of the founders of IAE and remains a huge supplier even though it sold it's share holding in the group a couple of years ago.
Nothing to do with cowlings/latches though.

Last edited by TURIN; 25th May 2013 at 07:26.
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Old 25th May 2013, 07:21
  #293 (permalink)  
 
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Turin

Yes you are correct about my speculation as to the security of the cowl latches but it is difficult to come to any other conclusion.

It is clear from video evidence that the upper attachment of the cowls was secure and the simultaneous failure of multiple fasteners on two engines is so unlikely that I think it can be dismissed.

In short the evidence for the cowls being unsecured is overwhelming and knowing how they are secured I can't see any other explanation for the departure of the cowls on both engines.

The reason that the system failed to pick up this error before the aircraft left the ground is what is unclear BA has clearly got some very good flight crew but engineering has always been the Cinderella department of BA both in terms of finance and the way highly trained staff are treated by the management, I have to speculate that the reasons for this error are buried deep in the culture within BA maintenance as with the BAe1-11 incident, add to this the removal by airport "security" of the flight crews ability to double check the cowl security and all the holes in the Swiss cheese line up.

I am sure that the AAIB will get to the truth of the matter.

Last edited by A and C; 25th May 2013 at 07:31.
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Old 25th May 2013, 07:27
  #294 (permalink)  
 
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Unfortunately, I have to agree.
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Old 25th May 2013, 07:28
  #295 (permalink)  
 
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Where are the cowlings now?
Have they been found near the runway? or in Chelsea/Westminster/Kensington?
Previous fan cowl door separation events would suggest that the doors (carbon fibre/honeycomb construction, with metal access panels) may not be found intact.
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Old 25th May 2013, 07:28
  #296 (permalink)  
 
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So presumably the implication is that ATC cannot "insist" that an aircraft diverts away from a populated area in case --in this instance--the crew might have found themselves committed to a Heathrow approach and the other engine failed.
That piece summed up a lot of what is said above - both for and against. The question was posed "who" is responsible for noting / avoiding built up areas. The response was correctly "the crew" (not ATC), but as also above, crew do not take this into account, at least in my experience.

I have flown out of LHR as main base for nearly 20 years with 2 large operators. Not once has the matter been raised (nor at other similar airfields near cities) in training, publications nor pre-flight emergency briefs at routing clear of built up areas.

It might be a valid question to ask, but if it becomes unacceptable, it basically means LHR is unacceptable as an airport. Unless we develop a special MEL type document for each airport / approach specifiying minimum required equipment (all engines & cowlings fitted / working ) that applies even in emergency I cannot see any progress?

Reverse the situation, and say yesterday's events had turned out to be the worst case i.e. failures mutiplied, and the aircraft did end up in London with loss of life. Who would history "blame"? I doubt the crew, or airline, or ATC. It would have to be the whole "system" had not factored this in. And the end result would be Boris Island, but that's another debate

NoD
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Old 25th May 2013, 07:32
  #297 (permalink)  
 
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Where are the cowlings now? Have they been found near the runway? or in Chelsea/Westminster/Kensington?
I think there are enough annecdotal quotes around to suggest they do not need to be looked for. Maybe they were found and collected before 27L reopened
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Old 25th May 2013, 07:45
  #298 (permalink)  
 
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2 at the end of the runway and 2 in the reservoir according to a certain social networking site....
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Old 25th May 2013, 07:56
  #299 (permalink)  
 
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I understood that LHR ATC have a standard pro forma that they read out to aircraft in distress notifying/asking them of the risks of overflying built-up areas?
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Old 25th May 2013, 08:01
  #300 (permalink)  
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I have flown out of LHR as main base for nearly 20 years with 2 large operators. Not once has the matter been raised (nor at other similar airfields near cities) in training, publications nor pre-flight emergency briefs at routing clear of built up areas.

It might be a valid question to ask, but if it becomes unacceptable, it basically means LHR is unacceptable as an airport. Unless we develop a special MEL type document for each airport / approach specifiying minimum required equipment (all engines & cowlings fitted / working ) that applies even in emergency I cannot see any progress?
Completely impractical, almost every major airport in the world is surrounded by a built up area, maybe we should start only operating aircraft with 6 engines just in case 4 might fail at the same time

But using that logic it would mean 6 times as many cowling fasteners to miss being locked at some point, it's happened before and it will happen again so long as management continue to cut corners and bean counters continue to cut costs.

Last edited by F900 Ex; 27th May 2013 at 05:48.
 

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