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AA MD80 low on oil at LAX

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AA MD80 low on oil at LAX

Old 17th Apr 2001, 20:34
  #1 (permalink)  
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Question AA MD80 low on oil at LAX

Story attached is strange in two respects.

(1)If these guys had a low oil pressure warning on an engine, was it wise to hold until reaching MLW and...

(2) If after landing you find you have run an engine low on oil, do you just fill 'er up and start again or are there some specfic checks to be carried out?

Old 18th Apr 2001, 00:01
  #2 (permalink)  
Devils Advocate
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Thumbs up

Sounds very much like a precautionary landing to me.....

Certainly the Boeing QRH reads as follows (and the MD80 one is bound to be very similar)

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">


Oil Pressure and Quantity.... CHECK

If engine oil pressure is in the yellow band;

The yellow band is only valid when on the ground with takeoff thrust set.

If engine oil pressure is at or below red radial:

Thrust lever... CLOSED
Autothrottle.... DISENGAGED
Engine Failure and Shutdown checklist.... ACCOMPLISH

A). Now without knowing the MD80 QRH one would imagine that the flight crew would require more than one engine parameter to be indicating a failure (e.g low oil pressure, plus high EGT, or low N2, etc) before they started thinking, 'Hey, this is starting to look interesting !' ... and even then, and if required, shutting down an engine shouldn't be any great shakes !

B). Now I can't comment as to the MD80 but certainly on the B737 that I fly we have a MLW which can often be below the take-off weight. That said you can, if needs must, land above the MLW (e.g. engine bleeds must be off, care must be taken to ensure that - given the atmospheric conditions, i.e. density altitude - the airfield can indeed be reached or a go-around performed, with the a/c in the landing configuration - e.g. flap15, and that the runway is long enough - the aircraft is likely to then require a check by the engineers to ensure that you haven't overstressed the a/c doing said procedure.

Thus given A) and B) it's likely that the flight crew of the aircraft in this instance were thinking, 'Hey, we've got a (single) indication of a problem, but everything else seems to be ok but it might prudent to land ASAP. But there again, we're not about to fall out of the sky and heck we can always shut the engine down if we need to (and still be safe), so why put the aircraft through an overweight landing whilst still achieving the aviation equivalent of jurisprudence w.r.t the safety of the passengers and crew, plus the commercial operation of the aircraft'

So, and having safely made a precautionary landing, you find out that your problem was actually something innocuous; you have it fixed, and carry on - what's wrong with that ?!

Imho, it seems like the crew did a good job.

Ps. The other day on a flight from Stansted to Malaga, yours truly, with a full a/c (i.e. the takeoff weight was way above MLW) we had a lady passenger collapse/faint during the push-back - turns out that she apparently had some sort of heart problem, which subsequently required fairly prompt evacuation from the a/c and to hospital. Now had this pax done the same shortly after take-off, we would have landed asap, i.e. regardless of the supposed 'certificated' MLW of our B737 - i.e. safety of the soles on board is first, paramount and foremost - and that's the big difference between a life threatening condition, and one that is not !

....... and if you think safety is expensive, then try having an accident and then you'll see just what that costs !
Old 18th Apr 2001, 16:48
  #3 (permalink)  
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FAR 121.627 makes a diversion due to mechanical problems an automatic emergency. FAR 121.557, by the way. Picture the second engine quitting. Now that would be impossible to explain.

Many airlines in the USA have quit issuing / teaching regulations. The claim is that the operations manual is the equivalent of the FARs - WRONG. Sadly, the U.S. pilots (including ALPA) typically buy into that argument.

If the AK-261 pilots had been in tune with the FARs, they might be alive today. They had an emergency in every respect, but in ignorance kept asking permission to land. It was obvious that they didn't know the FARs. May they rest in peace.
Old 18th Apr 2001, 18:38
  #4 (permalink)  
dallas dude
Posts: n/a


Sadly as a profession, we NEVER seem to learn to wait for all the facts before we monday morning quarterback a flight crew.

It was NOT low oil pressure, it was a decreasing oil QUANTITY, which subsequently stabilised.

The return landing was precautionary. How brave (or stupid) would YOU feel when the Feds ask "why did you continue over the Rockies with a POTENTIAL engine problem?".

People still find fault when textbook measures are performed.

I guess there are those that know and those that THINK they know!

Old 18th Apr 2001, 23:27
  #5 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

The attached article clearly states that there was a low oil pressure warning. However, Dallas Dude, I'm sure you have more accurate info since I believe you are from AA. Thanks for the rectification.

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