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Incident at Heathrow

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Incident at Heathrow

Old 29th May 2013, 04:02
  #541 (permalink)  
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Unfortunately, if as on first hand, it is confirmed that the cowls were not latched and secured correctly, this is a classic Human Factors incident.

A very poor design by Airbus which has been notified to them on numerous occasions since entry into service of the V2500.

A modification to keep the cowls 'unfaired' until mechanically closed is also of poor design.

Even with safeguards like duplicate inspections to ensure correct latching, depending on time of day/weather conditions this could still be missed in the current era of limited engineering resources to carry out maintenance at most airlines, exasperated by the poor design.

All this could be remedied by either a better mechanical indication system or modification to latches of a similar design to other types such as on the RB211-535/524. Whether it's Airbus's or the Airlines reluctance to this due to costs is up for debate.
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Old 29th May 2013, 11:09
  #542 (permalink)  
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As already stated, BA have announced that they will pay no compensation to those affected by the 190 flights cancelled because of this incident.

I am mildly surprised at this decision for I would have thought that a smart lawyer would have little difficulty in proving that BA probably caused the chaos in the first place.
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Old 29th May 2013, 11:24
  #543 (permalink)  
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Proximity Switches

surely in this day and age of technology there should be proximity switches on the cowl doors ? All other doors whether they be passenger, service, type 3, freight or avionics bay doors have proximity switches.
I am not splitting hairs, but the 'quick fix' of fitting proximity switches are of little use - they will only tell you once the cowl had been blown open. At rest with the cowl latches unlocked, they would still appear to being 'locked' as gravity forces them together. Another type of switch mechanism to register the positive latch engagement would be required.
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Old 29th May 2013, 11:54
  #544 (permalink)  
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..... and that delay arises from causes within the carrier's control ....
BA are somewhat fortunate that the general media, until the event fell from their attention, consistently reported the issue just as a "fire in an engine", rather than picking up on the cowl doors not being secured.

Maybe not as many journalists go through our Site as we sometimes think ......

Last edited by WHBM; 29th May 2013 at 12:15.
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Old 29th May 2013, 11:57
  #545 (permalink)  
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Yes they put devices on cars to prevent bonnets opening in motion but this did not prevent it happening to Renault Clio cars, and not rarely either. I witnessed this on a busy road and it was an extremely dodgy moment as the driver would have had no view forward.
At no time were these vehicles recalled to fix this potentially dangerous fault (In fact I do not believe a car has ever been recalled by the UK authorities for any reason, and I can only speak in this for the UK) and the matter was passed off as a maintenance problem or lack of maintenance/user problem.
A new more robust latch was fitted through the good will of dealers and on request; hushed up if you will.
In short the regulatory authorities were slow to act and their response was about as good as a chocolate tea pot.

Perhaps we are in a similar position here and in an industry which has a history of disasters caused by bits falling off despite some of them being deemed 'fail safe' a term which should be an oxymoron.
Was it not widely mooted that the Aer Lingus Viscount that crashed back in the 60s in the Irish Channel could have been a victim of a catering door or hatch coming loose and destroying part of the empanage?
I believe the HS748 had similar problems and we are all aware of the DC10 debacle.
Somewhere I have photo of a BCAL 707 on which a nose wheel door detached. The door hit the leading edge of the wing then made a deep crease upwards and along the main body, then on up the fin (due to one of the tyres having been inflated with air and being damaged on the take off run, so perhaps and exception but one that could have been avoided).

Bits falling off aircraft that could/should have been properly secured and by the present stage of aviation (Murphy factor excluded) should pretty much have been eliminated.

Perhaps we should be thankful that due to the diligence of those involved these things happen as seldom as they do.

My thoughts for what they are worth and Murphy never seems to go away and rest in peace.
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Old 29th May 2013, 13:13
  #546 (permalink)  
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Agaricus bisporus

Screwdrivers !

I am very buch in disagreement with you about the screwdriver, I have not a chance of getting mine on to LGW or any other UK airport, as fight crew it would seem that those in security cant or wont except that on occations I need to check the fuel sticks or check a cowling is locked.

You are correct as to the airside "tools of the trade" rules but getting any logical or sensable answers form those involved with security as to what a pilot can carry on duty is next to imposable as they all spend most of the time gold plating the rules just to cover their own six.

The other problem is that what is good for one UK airport is not good at another when it comes to what a crewmember may take airside.

The bottom line is that flight crew are now so distrusted by security that they cant carry tools that in the past have been used to check things that might not strictly be part of their job discription but were worth a quick look at on a walk around inspection and by doing so the security system has removed the last back stop in a flight safety system.

Last edited by A and C; 29th May 2013 at 13:15.
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Old 29th May 2013, 13:32
  #547 (permalink)  
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A and C
Screwdrivers !
I dont see why not, we do - plus we even keep a small toolkit onboard for exactly the reasons mentioned during pre-flight inspections. As for security not allowing it in certain airports see how long it lasts when flights start getting canx because of safety they cannot argue that one.
Old 29th May 2013, 13:52
  #548 (permalink)  
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Fan cowl latch closed indicator

As far as I remember on the DC-10 there was a pop up indicator (on the engine two at least) to show you from the ground that the fan was not properly closed. It was a simple mechanical mechanism with a red index which was visible from the ground during WAC.
It's seems that current technologies could not duplicate it !!!
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Old 29th May 2013, 14:15
  #549 (permalink)  
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The Dear Old Diesel Dixie (with CF6-50's) did indeed have pop-out indicators, but they were for the latch handle of the reverser cowl closing mechanism. They were both sides of all three... if the handle wasn't closed properly, or not rigged properly, it's end would hit the trigger for the spring-loaded pop-out (you'd see a red dowel sticking out of the fan cowl about 2 inches.).

The V2500 cowl issue could easily be fixed by a spring device that held the cowls open a bit until and unless they were latched closed. ....and I agree, since it almost requires getting on your knees to verify the latches are all closed, some simple pop-out device (popped if any latch not latched) is a great idea.

As has been said, It happens to them more often simply because they sit naturally fully closed (without being latched). The KISS principle ought to be considered in any response.
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Old 29th May 2013, 14:52
  #550 (permalink)  
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Just to show no-one is immune. In the video posted earlier, The maintenance crew have clearly latched the fan cowl closed without correctly latching the forward C-Duct latch. At around 8.50 the red flag is clearly visible!

Airbus A320 (V2500) Opening & Closing of Engine Cowl Doors - YouTube

To add to other comments, There is a mod (mandatory via EASA and FAA AD's) which puts a spring loaded block in the front of the nacelle which stops the doors from being fully down until the block is moved out of the way. So if the doors are just dropped then they don't appear latched. Once the block has been moved and the doors ready for the latching It is recommended in the AMM that the process should be completed.

Somehow it seems this was allowed to happen prior to this flight.
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Old 29th May 2013, 15:50
  #551 (permalink)  
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>>>You can't just drop into an unfamiliar base without
>>>getting charts, plates, performance and briefings.

>>Yes you can. You press the PTT and say "what's your ILS
>>frequency and inbound course?"

Nice reply Mr Spandex. And quite correct too.

But you forgot to add that the modern f/o would be heads-down reprogramming the FMC for most of the approach, and would only finish setting it up as you taxied in on stand at Stansted.

So much for modern training methods......

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Old 29th May 2013, 15:59
  #552 (permalink)  
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Or a flight engineer prepared to get his knees wet.
You're not seriously suggesting that the BA "Look the Part" behaviour be superseded by a "See the Component" behaviour during walk-arounds, are you?
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Old 29th May 2013, 16:25
  #553 (permalink)  
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Semi tongue in cheek. Although the next line in the document you refer to states "do things properly"
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Old 29th May 2013, 16:41
  #554 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by silverstrata
So much for modern training methods......
- was that actually an original quote about needing all that guff? I don't have time to 'search'. What have pilots become? Mantra-driven book followers? Was it by one of those 'modern f/o s', in which case there may be hope.

Scenario. Let's be totally over-dramatic (just for fun). Bits are actually dropping off my machine. I have had a structural failure - let's say an oxy bottle explodes, blowing bits into an engine and damaging the pylon.

Me to 'modern f/o': "Look, there's Stansted down there, I'm going in on R05. Tell London ATC I'm going visual on a Mayday".

'Modern f/o to me: "...but we don't have charts or a company frequency and I need to put the approach in the FMC - and we haven't briefed - you know, minima, autobrake, reverse.... ".

Me to modern f/o: "Gear down, landing checks to flaps"

Didn't we always say that the Swissair cockpit fire gave us some important lessons (yes, I know it would not have mattered, but we should learn)?
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Old 29th May 2013, 17:24
  #555 (permalink)  
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Isn't that just the truth. In my last job we flew mostly in the middle of the night and traffic was light. Assuming that the weather was reasonably benign most airfields in Europe would offer us a straight-in visual to the opposite end of the runway given on the ATIS.

This used to cause great panic to a lot of the youngsters that I was trying to teach. As you say, their first reaction was to start trying to punch rubbish into the automatics.

I used to stop them very, very firmly and make them look out of the window and land the bloody aeroplane.

What would cause even more panic was if ATC invited them to fly a visual approach from downwind.

How can these people call themselves professional PILOTS?
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Old 29th May 2013, 17:25
  #556 (permalink)  
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The older I get the better I was...
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Old 29th May 2013, 17:26
  #557 (permalink)  
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BOAC, as I responded to the original I went and found it for you.

Originally Posted by Ham Phisted View Post
Why not choose STN? You've got problems with potentially both engines and you're downwind at your familiar homebase. You can't just drop into an unfamiliar base without getting charts, plates, performance and briefings. On the other hand, an approach into LHR is a non-event for BA airbus pilots.
Originally Posted by Silver
But you forgot to add that the modern f/o would be heads-down reprogramming the FMC for most of the approach, and would only finish setting it up as you taxied in on stand at Stansted.
That's fine with me. He may be too busy and may or may not have heard the autopilot come out, the gear go down etc.. But as long as he isn't hindering then no snags.
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Old 29th May 2013, 17:32
  #558 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LSM
But as long as he isn't hindering then no snags.
- aye, but I know you would REALLY prefer him 'head-up' and actually helping.
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Old 29th May 2013, 17:35
  #559 (permalink)  
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BOAC if you want how it should be done look up the newish Swissair MD 80 with a fire in the overhead panel...
Smoke appeared around 10 mins out of Munich...did a 180 and landed downwind within 10 mins..stand to be corrected on the time.
No forward viz and co pilot was fanning the skippers ASI to read the airspeed.
Everything covered in ash.
Skipper (mate of mine) was walking around with hand in bandages for a month or so from being burnt.
Fire from battery emergency bus...circuit breaker underfloor.

Another but more resent was an airbus airborne LHR with several hydraulic failure warnings - pages said off load all systems..did a quick circuit -Apparently computor failure.
So there are some pilots still who can fly but they wouldn't be 150hr pay to fly ones.
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Old 29th May 2013, 17:39
  #560 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by wannabe
The older I get the better I was...
Quite. It really is tiresome how every thread have to become a venue for every old fogey to diminish younger generations. They become even worse when retired.

Bit of a shame that one's job was the sole source of identity and self-esteem.
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