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Air India at JFK...gone with the wind..!?

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Air India at JFK...gone with the wind..!?

Old 19th Sep 2018, 01:51
  #21 (permalink)  
fdr
 
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Yikes.

There was a power loss in the system, I cannot recall offhand the common architecture for these systems, however eventually on the downwind the crew advise that they have no LLZ displays (ILS later noted). On a bad day on the east coast that is going to make for a busy cockpit. ATC maintained calm throughout as they developed understanding of the issue.

Having identified within the first 10 minutes or less that they were getting a repeat of the first event, then the crew response is calm, probably too calm. At that point they need to be taking immediate action to preserve their fuel status and increase their options as more information is gained on the tactical situation. Flying around at 2000' is not healthy. The crew did propose Stewart, which never seemed to be resolved. At around this time, KPIT was suggested by ATC, and that is 295nm away, but was VFR. At that point, the aircraft was approaching minimum fuel to divert to KPIT, and would have been down in the 3T remaining or so if proceeding there. An immediate emergency declaration on finding a repeat of the same instrument indications would have set up for a divert to a VFR airport. The aircraft instead travelled on various headings, East and otherwise for a period, and then a GPS based approach was flown to KEWR 04R. At the time the LPV/LNAV/VNAV approach was flown, the aircraft probably broke out at or above minima. It would not have had an alternate at that point, it was already on the divert however, so the OPSPEC would come into play to determine if the flight remained in a fuel emergency or not. I would suspect that it did.

Stewart used to have PRA capability, so if you have an ADI, heading etc, you can shoot an approach, assuming that you have some level of familiarity to the approach type. The LNAV/VNAV approach, would have placed the aircraft almost every time more reliably in the position of the final approach compared to an ILS that is not CAT II/III.

An interesting CRM exercise in a LOFT, and an event that many airlines can learn from.

Being too quiet about your issues may be great on the read backs, but being in a critical corner, and burning options out the exhaust from politeness may not help the reliability of the safe outcome.

The crew did a good job in trying circumstances, ATC did an excellent job. Once the wheels fall off the wagon, then what the crew do is up to their command judgement. Once you are in an emergency condition, all bets are off, and the only requirement is to minimise the risk to the outcome. At the time of the failure of the primary navigation system, and assuming that it could not be fault found and corrected with the QRH (which is highly likely, the ELEC, and INST sections of the B777 NNCL are brief, some knowledge of the bus architecture goes some way, as does talking to company engineers, or via them to the manufacturer), thereafter the viability of a SBAS/GPS LPV/LNAV/VNAV approach becomes seriously important. This was an emergency at that time, and the non ILS approach has the capability to achieve same or better performance than the ILS.

Perhaps as a professional group, we do not fly enough approaches using the alternative to ILS. I routinely would fly an ILS approach using the LNAV/VNAV tracking in the B744 and the B777. It does an excellent job. Even without any of those aids, flying a track and FPA (its a B777... easy to do) from a known distance or fix will keep the plane on the approach within normal tolerances. Yes, we used to demonstrate that routinely as well. Do I recommend flying that as a primary method? Nope, but having some faith in the systems capabilities at least gives some options to be followed when the wheels fall off the wagon. Having formated large aircraft on other small and large aircraft, there are always some options that may be considered, depending on background and how big a hole the operation is in. A similar event occurred and ended badly in another part of the world, where the crew of a jet did an approach and missed at minima, and lost the alternate at that time. an hour later, they parked their jet in the water, and survived. They were conducting approaches in an emergency condition, with some excellent capability, but never transitioned into an emergency authority frame of mind. After going around at PUBLISHED minima on multiple occasions, they parked the plane in the water. Many years before, at the same airport, my plane had the same situation. We declared an emergency, descended out over the water to visual conditions, and tracked on the available precision navaid (not so precise... doppler and airborne radar) back to the airport (1,050' below the minima for the approach). We had to climb back into the cloud to cross the cliff, and then sighted the runway threshold, and dumped the sorry bird on the ground. We had already briefed for a ditching as a potential outcome. Once you are in an emergency, your options change. Today, we have better tools, and the options may be easier.

My views are not a criticism of the flight crew, they did a good job. They could have had less stress if they had declared the emergency, and dealt with it as a real emergency at that time. From a training point, understanding the capability of the systems and what backup you may have at least gives a quick set of options to consider, which makes the decision making process less traumatic.

ATC-Cockpit communications were really pretty good in the circumstances.

Overall, good outcome, potential good training value to other crews for SA and ADM/NDM heuristics. I would fly with the crew. I would also buy the ATCO a beer.
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Old 19th Sep 2018, 08:39
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Actually it appears they were monitoring the situation well and made a decision well before fuel remaining became a critical factor, and the situation was successfully resolved. All we have are the radio transmissions which may not even be complete and which are one part of the largely opaque picture.
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Old 24th Sep 2018, 15:38
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Lot of comments about using a different approach and minima but the issue was that all NPAs had obviously higher minimal and with the low ceilings almost everywhere the choices were fairly limited.

Great job by the crew in stating their requirements vis a vis ceiling requirements to make an approach and to the ATCO for being totally calm and helpful in finding an airport with weather for a possible approach. Also his knowledge of the avionics was also very good considering that most Airbus pilots would not totally understand the Boeing terminology and vice versa.

Well done all
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Old 25th Sep 2018, 06:01
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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I don't fly the 777 but I am guessing that double RA failure means the autopilot will not couple to the ILS. What is wrong with a manually flown ILS though?
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Old 25th Sep 2018, 12:26
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Exactly.

Raw data ILS.
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Old 25th Sep 2018, 12:38
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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I don't fly the 777 but I am guessing that double RA failure means the autopilot will not couple to the ILS. What is wrong with a manually flown ILS though?
Both LOC receivers had failed.

Hence the need for the LNAV/VNAV approach.
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Old 25th Sep 2018, 15:28
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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They said "every time we try to lock on to the localised the instrumentation does not allow us to do that" that sounds like the loc was indicating but the autopilot/ flight director would not lock on, which is consistent with a double ra failure.
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Old 28th Sep 2018, 22:53
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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The main problem was the cloud ceiling which was low at JFK for an NPA and they couldn't do ILS. The other failures like APU, autoland, double RA are not significant. They chose their regular alternate EWR as the ceiling there improved 400ft.and trend showed further improvement. EWR has LNAV/VNAV approaches on both sides of the runway with 400ft. Ceiling. Once committed it's natural to feel anxious about the actual ceiling prevailing and whether they would see runway environment at minimum. Possibly they busted the minimum. With GPS PRIMARY should not be that hazardous.
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Old 29th Sep 2018, 05:14
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Possibly they busted the minimum. With GPS PRIMARY should not be that hazardous.
That says it all really
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Old 29th Sep 2018, 17:42
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Elephant and Castle View Post
I don't fly the 777 but I am guessing that double RA failure means the autopilot will not couple to the ILS. What is wrong with a manually flown ILS though?

I donít recall what the RVRs were, but I read somewhere that the vis was 1/4 sm, so maybe below CAT I mins, which requires an autoland at my company.
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Old 30th Sep 2018, 06:48
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Long Haul View Post



I donít recall what the RVRs were, but I read somewhere that the vis was 1/4 sm, so maybe below CAT I mins, which requires an autoland at my company.
RVRs around 3000 ft

Anyway EWR was much better vis so they could have done a manual ILS there at least.
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Old 30th Sep 2018, 08:29
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by wiedehopf View Post
Anyway EWR was much better vis so they could have done a manual ILS there at least.
Without localizer receiver? How do you do that?
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Old 30th Sep 2018, 15:15
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by arketip View Post
Without localizer receiver? How do you do that?
Please see the speculation above: Both RA faulty therefore the autopilot won't couple to the approach or something along those lines.

Thus the discussion ensued. Not saying it's a likely scenario was just pointing out weather conditions.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 00:24
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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It sounds to me like the controller couldn't understand a lot of the rapid AI 101 dialog but he was doing a great job trying.
Normally the situation is reversed after a 15 hour long haul into JFK.
Don't forget these guys have been working too long, probably with little rest onboard, and as usual when stuff gets busy and the feeling of overload occurs, you look for the easiest way out. Nit pick later.
7200kg is about 30 minutes of holding/diverting fuel, before you land with final reserve. (Not 72 minutes!)

Perhaps I'm assuming too much -- does ETOPS on a 777-300 require an operational APU for dispatch?
The 777 doesn't need much for EDTO. Most failures, including APU, allow 180 minutes.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 03:21
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Wannabe Flyer View Post
I felt the communication was clear & the crew must have been under a lot of pressure & managed well enough. To me it seemed a good example of ATCO & crew resource management
Agree.Easy to criticize from an armchair. Not an easy situation to be grammatically correct in. You just had to be there. The old saying applies..." People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"....
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 05:32
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Any criticism of these guys,and their handling of the unusual,after having flown a longhaul sector,just shows what a miserable bunch we can be,
FGS!
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 07:50
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Yaw String..very much agree, I actually think it sounded like both ATC and the crew did a good job handling an unusual non-normal...

That said I’m still waiting for they “should have brought their “A game”...
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 08:00
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Yaw String

So you want nothing but applause on this site. Fair enough but hardly professional.

I am used to hear a lot that did not go perfectly well and could be improved after each sim session. Discussion allowed!
On this particular event i stand by my earlier quote that there was too much irrelevant babble wasting precious time, call me miserable or not.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 11:22
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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I donít come here to criticise, I come here to learn. I think I have learned a few things from this thread, which makes it worthwhile.

I first listened to the video when the thread started. My immediate reaction was that the pilots should have been more specific about what they needed: eg ďWe are unable ILS, we need an RNAV approachĒ.

But I didnít say anything, because who am I to criticise? Iím glad I did because I have subsequently listened to it again, and now have a completely different conclusion.

Itís easy to criticise when you are sitting in an airchair, and donít have a rapidly dwindling 7200kgs in your tanks, and possibly donít fully understand what is wrong with your aircraft, although superior systems knowledge could help with that.

I think it turned out that they ended up happy to fly an ILS (Cat I) approach in LNAV and VNAV. They may have worked out that if they didnít attempt to couple the ILS to the autopilot, that they could actually fly a legal and safe ILS approach, provided the minima were above CAT I.

It appears that that is what they did. And perfectly legal (and sensible). There may be some who will state ďyou canít fly an ILS in LNAV/VNAVĒ. To those, I preemptively suggest that you have a think about that.

I therefore reject all the comments on this thread about ďthey should have flown an RNAVĒ. I also reject any suggestion that a PAN or MAYDAY was required.

They ended up flying an ILS approach in raw data using an autopilot coupled to LNAV and VNAV. That is surely the safest outcome, and Iíve had a couple of weeks to come up with that decision, these guys only had minutes.

So, yes, I say congratulations to both the pilots and ATC, and Iíve learned a lot from it.

Regards all, Fred.




Last edited by Derfred; 1st Oct 2018 at 11:42.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 11:39
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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[Any criticism of these guys,and their handling of the unusual,after having flown a longhaul sector,just shows what a miserable bunch we can be] Shouldn't professional discussion explore what really happened, what was done and whether there was better option? Otherwise it's like any number of comments that are written below the news. All emotional outbursts of the ignorant praising or criticizing but not worth wasting time reading.
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