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SQ B777 Engine destroyed during taxi

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SQ B777 Engine destroyed during taxi

Old 23rd Dec 2013, 10:49
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Exclamation SQ B777 Engine destroyed during taxi

A costly little mistake.

Seems "all clear left" was missed or miscalculated


News article
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 11:54
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A little embarrassing, but please allow some curiosity from a non-aviation engineering person; who would be ultimately responsible for something like this? I assume the aircraft would be guided into the slot by somebody on the ground, or do the crew roll up to the point without guidance? (I'm not advocating either, I don't have the knowledge to make any judgements here).
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 11:58
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SQ B777 Engine destroyed during taxi

I believe the receiving engineer (or ground handler in other airlines) does a walk around the gate area looking for FOD and I'm assuming ground equipment clearance.

But then again the PIC might be ultimately responsible since he's in command. It was on his side too!
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 11:59
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if the gate has one of those automated taxi guidance indicators then I assumed it was up to the crew to check that the big area their aircraft is manoeuvring into was all clear?
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 12:03
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Fortunately, it was at base hence the disruption could be kept at a minimum.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 12:04
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It was an empty ULD (Unit Load Device), basically an aluminium and/or plastic container used to transport luggage or freight on the aircraft.

Firstly, it shouldn't have been sitting where it was. The luggage dollies should have been cleared from the bay, for a start. So the baggage handlers are at fault.

Secondly, it should have been noted as a potential hazard before the aircraft arrived. The engineer receiving the aircraft should have carried out a FOD check of the bay, keeping in mind that even an item the size of a ULD is FOD is sucked into an engine or impacted by any other part of the aircraft. The engineer should then have ensured the aircraft didn't attempt to enter the bay until it was clear. I won't bore you, Heidhurtin, with details on how. Suffice to say there are various ways to warn incoming aircraft that the bay isn't clear. So the engineer is partly to blame.

Thirdly, the pilots themselves should make a visual assessment of the bay as they approach to ensure that it looks clear. So the pilots are partly to blame.

Who is ultimately to blame? My two cents is that, until the aircraft shuts down and the chocks are in, the aircraft is the responsibility of the pilot in command. Once its shut down and chocks are in, the engineer takes responsibility.

As we all learn in our human factors training, looks like the holes in James Reason's Swiss Cheese lined up that day.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 12:17
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Engine destroyed
Really? The bin would have bounced around the intake and against the spinner, possibly also against fan blades, but that's about it.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 12:21
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Every parkingspot on an international airport should have lines showing which area should be clear of obstacles (cars, pushback equipment, loading equipment.

It is up to the pilots to check if their parkingspot is clear of obstacles when taxiing in. But then again this is dependant on aircraft-size and how well-marked the parking spot is.

I fly the A319/A320 and on many international airports there are loading-cars parked on the area between the parking positions. Within the markings, but well clear of the engines and wing. But again, these are WITHIN the markings.

Once the cockpit has passed the gate, there is no visual anymore with that side of the aircraft. You have to have good judgement on how big your aircraft is, incl distance and power of your engines. The ULD may have been clear of the aircraft, but maybe due some extra power was still sucked into the engine....

At LHR are some fixed bridges that can only move in one direction towards the aircraft. That means that our engines come really close to this fixed structure (1,5 m) without us having visual with it. We have to trust the guide-in system.

Could it be that the guide-in system was programmed for the -300 instead of the shorter -200???

Could it be that the aircraft rolled to far, and thus sucking the ULD into it's engine?

Could it be that the aircraft slowed down to early and needed some extra power on the engines to roll forward, sucking in everything that would normally be no factor?

I would'nt start blaming anyone at all! No-one would like to make this mistake on purpose. First let's find out some facts before bashing anyone.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 12:23
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Just out of curiosity, should not the PF (or taxiing) or the Capt stopped the taxi, it isn't as if one of them is small and hard to see and is on the Capt's side so could (?) have been spotted (or is visibility that poor when on the ground)
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 12:32
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should not the PF (or taxiing) or the Capt stopped the taxi
Well hello, Sherlock! Is it monday morning there?
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 12:41
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Commanders responsibility.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 12:49
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Simply staggering that anyone would continue to taxi onto stand with a box sitting right there.

OK, someone had left the offending article there so had a causal input, but responsibility for that incident?

100% the "captain".
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 14:05
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I would have said joint responsibility between the flight crew and the ground staff.

I would suspect it was getting guided in by an electronic system. As such the pilot was probably focused on this rather than observing the area around the aircraft.
As such yes the commander is responsible and should have stopped the taxi. If in doubt, stop and think.

However you can't attribute their blame without accepting that someone left the ULD there (and it certainly wasn't the flight crew), in a area where it poses a threat and shouldn't be in the first place - both unsafe practises.

Working in a ramp maintenance environment my understanding / belief is that safety is everyone's business and as such, blame can't be shifted because 'I wasn't the last one to touch it' or 'someone else should have seen it'.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 18:14
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Normally on a stand like this you're following the guidance system. Whoever switched that on is responsible for clearance and should be in position to hit the stop button if something doesnt look right. Same if the guidance isnt working its the marshaller. Shouldnt be the crews fault as they dont have the visibility on most types to assure clearance on a stand with bridges.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 18:37
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Ultimately, it is the Captain's responsibility.

Whilst the company may delegate tasks to others, the Captain/flight crew are the only ones who can stop all the holes in the cheese lining up and causing the incident.

As a Captain, if I was unhappy about the positioning of items within the marked areas I would stop and question it, getting positive marshalling guidance if necessary.

On some occasions in a smaller aircraft (B737, A320) I would have been happy to continue with things in the marked area, but was forbidden by company/airport procedures - which I respected - albeit frustrated at times.

On other occasions, as a B744 Captain, I would insist that everything was clear, even if a random individual (ie not a qualified marshaller) told me it was ok.

It was my licence and livliehood at the end of the day.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 19:08
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Another possibility; is that, the container could have been blown into the Stand area just as the aircraft entered the stand.

If the empty container was not locked onto it's trailer properly, a gust of wind will easily dislodge it and it could go anywhere!
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 19:32
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I didn't understand the language on the video.. But there was mention of
'engein' quite early on. So they must have spotted the danger but not been in a position to do anything about it.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 21:22
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They are not the first to do that.

Delta L1011 a few years back.

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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 21:37
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It might have been nice if Mr Lian the videographer had tried doing a charade for "damn big box in the way" as the cockpit approached. Then again… said cockpit was clearly fitted with large windows.

I'm with One Outsider about "destroyed" - I'm sure it'll be very expensive, but even if the fan chipped off bits of box that flew through the fanciest bits of the engine, I'm sure there'll be plenty of bits and pieces that can be saved.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 22:13
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Parking at Aero Bridges can be done in various ways. Originally a marshaller would use little flags with recognised "International" signals, i.e. point at the left wheel if that was the one to be braked,(as in the days of tailwheel aircraft with no nosewheel steering i.e. brake the left wheel to turn left ) and eventually cross the arms over the head to indicate "Stop". In later years there was a system of marker boards, with vertical poles in the manner of "transit" lights that yachts can use to follow the centre line of a channel, were used, i.e. a pair of poles to keep on the centre line, and a pair at the side to indicate where stop, and these were occasionally lights showing through slots, these were on the co-pilot side of course, eventually lights were used, in the manner of traffic lights, and the pilot stopped when the red light showed.

Trouble was every Tom, Dick and Harry had invented their pet system, and so it was a lottery as to which system would be in use at ones' arrival airport - there were many variables. In my opinion the very best was used at Miami, it was just a large mirror positioned so that one could actually see ones' own nosewheel, and guide it easily along the centre line until reaching a stop line, which of course was at different distances in for different aircraft. The KISS method.(Keep It Simple, Stupid )

I imagine that Changi being a modern airport there would be a system that left the whole operation to the pilot, but there should still have been "someone" to leap out and manually stop the aircraft in case of failure of the "auto" system. Dunno.

Ironic that the SIA aircraft had come from Bombay, I recall taxying in at Bombay one night, the “stop markers” for the airbridge were the ones at the side, not directly in front. I eventually asked the co-pilot where the ‘stop’ sign was, and then – “Christ ! we’ve passed it” !!

No damage done, but nearly drove No. 2 engine into the bridge ! The first person on the flight deck was a uniformed “official”. who looked out the side and said - with accompanying head wobbling - “ The lights were on, it wasn’t our fault “ . I agreed, but also told him that there was a whole ground crew waiting around the area, and not one had the sense to step forward and wave his hands. They weren’t meant to of course, so probably wouldn’t have in case they were blamed !!

There is no doubt that the rogue container shouldn't have been where it was, but that's a different issue.

Last edited by ExSp33db1rd; 23rd Dec 2013 at 22:49. Reason: engine number !
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