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Virgin A340 runway excursion. Well done.

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Virgin A340 runway excursion. Well done.

Old 1st Feb 2003, 10:14
  #21 (permalink)  
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Dear ASAP,

It sounds like you had a horrendous shift, well done to you and everybody whether ATC, Airline etc. who kept the show on the road.
Your remarks about the conduct of the Virgin crew may be a little premature and may have been born of fatigue and frustration at the end of a very tiring day. Either way, these conditions are extremely rare for us pilots and sometimes mistakes do happen. Airbuses often seem to have minds of their own, I gather that even nose-wheel steering is FBW and is non-linear, great in ice!

As for “BA Knockers-R-Us” what a bunch of idiots you are. I found joining BA a breath of fresh air after another excellent airline (BCal). Apart from the odd individual, the airs and graces are all myth.
I wish you better luck with your interviews next time.

ATB, PTC (Nigel)
Accent: Northern
Education: Grammar School
Background: Very poor Working Class
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Old 1st Feb 2003, 11:06
  #22 (permalink)  

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(Spoken in a Scouse accent so thick it's affected by gravity) Ey! Calm down, calm down, calm down! Arright?

Ok, so Land ASAP made a bit of a faux pas there but there is no reason to launch into the Nigel bashing. Whilst PPRuNe originally grew on this kind of thread I had thought most of you had matured beyond the 'handbags at dawn' attitude. Obviously not.

Before this thread spins out of control and self ignites, I'd like to request that you end the bashing now. Your comments were amusing but now is the time to give Land ASAP the benefit of the doubt and assume that the post was made whilst under the influence of a post flight wind down.

Personally, I have yet to meet a BA pilot who fits the stereotypical mould that so many of you seem to believe exists. I have met some pilots (thankfully few and far between) who fit the mould but have never had anything whatsoever to do with BA. Go figure!
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Old 1st Feb 2003, 13:09
  #23 (permalink)  

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Geez! And I thought Dunnunda was BlTCHY!!!!
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Old 1st Feb 2003, 17:40
  #24 (permalink)  
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Can i ask a few questions?

Whats remote De-Icing?

If conditions get so bad, how come LHR didnt just shut down, surely volume of traffic could not be an excuse with other airports so close ( Manchester, Liverpool, even Orly and Charles DeGaulle)?

Thanks for your time, go easy, i am just a beginner.

Old 1st Feb 2003, 17:53
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<<Whats remote De-Icing? >>
At LHR, you deice "on stand". Causes problems in waiting for the deicing truck to appear and do the Biz. Then the clock starts running for "holdover time" (say 25 mins). You now have to be airborne in this time... You have to ensure everything goes well - from ground allowing you to push back, start up OK, no queue at Holding point etc., all a little unlikely given the conditions.

Alternative, say like Oslo, is start up, taxi out covered in snow etc, and stop near the runway holding point in a designated area. There you get deiced by designated teams that don't waste their time trundling around the airfield finding their "customers". When its done, you are right by the holding point, so off you go in 2-3 minutes. In addition, by the time you get to them, most of the other "hassles" associated with departure are solved...

However, it is a "system", and can't really be knocked up on the cuff in a day, especially somewhere like LHR which is chronically short of space. In addition, it really relies on 1 airfield run DeIcing company, which airline beancounters won't like because there is no competition over charges etc.

<<If conditions get so bad, how come LHR didnt just shut down>>
Conditions weren't necessarily "that bad" i.e. 'dangerous'. It just slowed everything down. It was hardly a safety hazard that the Virgin A340 ended up off the edge - who knows why - but I bet when it got pulled out it just needed a hose down. It really just added to the delays. Shutting the airfield down, as you suggest, would have caused 10x more inconvienience, and is a Hazard in itself leaving numerous airborne aircraft needing to divert into the limited capacity of other airfields ...

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Old 1st Feb 2003, 19:17
  #26 (permalink)  
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Devil LandASAP

LandASAP, I think that your've come in for a Heavy Landing.
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Old 1st Feb 2003, 19:23
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Cheers NoD!

Old 1st Feb 2003, 21:10
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Dear Danny

(Spoken in a Scouse accent so thick it's affected by gravity) Ey! Calm down, calm down, calm down! Arright?

Eh Lah, no knocking scousers or I'll set my wife on yer, and if you are really bad it'll be the ex-wife.

Thanks for the input Danny, I guess I shouldn't get too sensitive about the knocking of BA. In my experience my colleagues certainly don't actively slag off other airlines, well not British ones anyway! and then only when they pull the state airline card like the spaniards and greeks (you are no.2 to the Olympic on a 30 mile final). No all you guys in BMid, Virgin, Easyjet are cool, in 7 years time it's going to be "gizzajob!"

Sounds like it was hell at LHR this week. I am very glad to be on days off in a civilized and non-snowy place. As they say on The Fast Show, come to the Isle of Man!


PS: How are things at "The Camp", trained a DHL Captain the other day who knew you, used to be in Longacre myself many moons ago.
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Old 2nd Feb 2003, 07:00
  #29 (permalink)  
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Good God, some of you non BA people are very bitter and twisted.

I am told that there are about 4000 BA pilots. To tar them all with the same brush is barking. It is like saying all Germans are greedy, and all Arabs are terrorists. Barking.

Your posts say nothing about BA, but they do speak volumes about you.
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Old 2nd Feb 2003, 09:39
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Sitting down the back as I tend to do as a Champion SLF'er I would imagine that pushing back all snowed up and going to an end of runway de-icer would be better for all, as we think we're off, you thank god we're off, and the gate and ramp are freed up for another(and eventually faster) turnaround. Is snow so unusual in the UK now that it's not worth the initial expense to do like they do in Oslo? Like Matty, I'm new at the site, but I've stared at a bulkhead or two in my 30 years of self-freighting! cheers,
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Old 2nd Feb 2003, 10:48
  #31 (permalink)  
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Cattle - you are right. Several advantages to off-stand de-icing, such as:

the very latest protection against contamination for the aircraft - it has not been unknown for a/c to have to return to stand for further de-ice when there is a big take-off queue

Easier to control the ecological side of it and collect the fluid, possibly even to recycle. Paris CDG is an example of an efficient off-stand system

Some of the disadvantages are that bottlenecks can occur when in the queue if facilities are limited and that the installation cost has to be born by the airport and recovered from airlines which means capital expenditure rather than having airlines pay an agent per de-ice

......and, of course, it achieves that 'Holy Grail' - departure on schedule, even if you sit for 20 minutes + somewhere else waiting to be 'hosed down'!
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Old 2nd Feb 2003, 12:12
  #32 (permalink)  
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BOAC, you said it! Its all about off blox time!
......and, of course, it achieves that 'Holy Grail' - departure on schedule,
We have a smallish international airline, with one LHR flight a day. Our flight was one that was de-iced at the gate, but didnt make it out in time. For some reason they couldnt get anyone to re-de-ice before they were out of duty time. End result, one 744 out for a day. We are not big enough to 'ABSORB' that kind of problem. The ripple was felt through our modest network.
Remote de-iceing is the way to go. Then again, its not a problem isolated to LHR, dont start me on snow at FUK this week.
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Old 2nd Feb 2003, 19:44
  #33 (permalink)  
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OK people. I apologise for my initial comments.

Using all of FDP's and 'then some' and having used up our diversion fuel (Because nowhere would accept you because all ramp areas were full at BHX/LGW and STN and LTN were closed due WX) it 'pained' me to hear that an aircraft had left the paved surface lining up. Not what you want to hear eh? After 3 sectors, 14+ hours, a headache, 75 minutes of holding and then this?
I thought I had to pinch myself. Is this a simulator? Can we freeze it and have a coffee?
Can I answer a few of your unsarcastic comments?
  • No, I have never taxied an A340
  • Yes, I was there looking at the incident from a remote part of the Eastern part of LHR from the comfort of our cockpit.
  • Yes, The handling pilot had quite obviously lost adhesion to the nosewheel as he lined up on 27R. The Braking action at the time will, I'm sure, be listed in the AAIB report.
  • Yes, I have taxied on taxyways which are solid ice/slush/compacted snow etc and each has its own speed in which successful turns can be made. I would hazard a guess that on Thursday night such a speed would be very slow at a couple of knots. I hope the handling pilot proves that such a speed was being taxied at.
  • To the one who asked what school I went to...errr it woz a comprehensif.
  • To all who wish to hold me up as an Icon of 'Nigelness'. That would be doing me and all Nigels a major dis-service. We are a diverse bunch of guys ranging from the pratt to the hero. Don't belittle yourself with such prejudiced twaddle gents.

It was a bit cliched though to think that my comments that were directed to the CREW seemingly have been interpreted as a slur on all non-BA pilots. I made my opinions known in what I thought was at the very least, a guarded and tongue in cheek manner so that the handling pilot was made to realise that such an incident from the outset is quite obviously due to overcooking it. On Thursday night such 'overcooking' might well have happened at 4 or 5 knots. He will very likely, 'Learn about Flying From That'.

Why don't we all calm down as Capt PPrune asks and accept that my opinion is just that. An Opinion. My rationale is based on experience based on many sectors flying in MUCH worse conditions than last night. I saw the aftermath of the incident and I interpreted it in the poorly slept aftermath the next day. Let's all be thankful that it resulted in NO fatalities and we all lived to tell the tale.

Yours, sincerely looking forward to the AAIB report so I can revisit this thread so we can all
a) Eat our Hats or
b) Tell me, your iconic, Nigel, AS(AP)HOLE, holier than thou' friend, "I told you so!".


P.S. Bet if it was a BA aircraft it would have been on the news for days.
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Old 2nd Feb 2003, 20:14
  #34 (permalink)  
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Well Done Land ASAP, An Apology has been made and I must agree if it had been a BA A/C it probably would have been all over the Media.
Once again thankyou for tha Apology.
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Old 2nd Feb 2003, 20:43
  #35 (permalink)  
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Yes no doubt if it was the Daily Mail it would have questioned the
state of the pilot of the BA aircraft involved in'a major incident',
and then proceeded to to find out his address,names of the wife and kids,their school,size of the house,type of car and what bog roll they used!! .

Yes you're all right I can't stand that cr*p paper.

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Old 2nd Feb 2003, 20:44
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Land ASAP As you rightly say anyone whon thinks that Nigels are from the top drawer are about 25 years behind the times. Most accents I hear from Nigels are South London or Regional ones.

As an ex A340 Captain myself I can say that taxying onto the threshold at Heathrow is not a problem regardless of conditions as there is bags of room so tight turns are not necessary. Yes the A340 NWS takes a bit of getting used to and on an icy ramp in a cul-de sac with an incline say then things can get awkward when a sharp turn is required, but onto a long runway at LHR then one has to assume either taxy speed was too fast for the conditions or there was a problem with the FBW nose wheel steering system,which has happened in the past to me once and total steering was lost,fortunately not at a critical phase of taxying. So not lets pre judge this incident until the facts are known.
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Old 3rd Feb 2003, 12:06
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I was also caught up in the mess of that night and I suspect like others quietly cursed Virgin for adding to our collective misery. It is a very human failing and although I would not have burst into print I understand the emotion.

The evening and subsequent early hours of the next day revealed the best and the worse of Heathrow. I arrived just after midnight and was also very impressed by the performance of the man on tower/ground.

The subsequent wait for a stand of nearly three hours revealed what problems BA has in its operations. Cutting staff, restricting resources, placing overtime limits on bussing, ignoring employee morale all come back to haunt you when the operation is stretched by bad weather.

I am grateful that someone stuck with it in "55" and that the bus did turn up to remove the passengers and also that the police were there to keep the passengers from doing something silly.
Regards BP
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Old 3rd Feb 2003, 14:48
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"I made my opinions known in what I thought was at the very least, a guarded and tongue in cheek manner so that the handling pilot was made to realise that such an incident from the outset is quite obviously due to overcooking it".

I'm afraid that it sounds to me as if you are still throwing your toys out of your pram. How do you know that the handling pilot overcooked it or have I missed something?

For example, how are you going to feel if we subsequently discover that he/she suffered a nosewheel steering or brake failure on top of ice at an unfortunate time?

You of course would have handled the situation much better. As someone has already said, I hope you never get anywhere the AAIB.
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Old 3rd Feb 2003, 15:00
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Land ASAP, good clarification..........here's mine: public school comment was dripping with sarcasm.....it's one of the more ridiculous 'Let's attack BA becuase it's BA' allegations that I've recently heard.
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Old 3rd Feb 2003, 22:47
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Land ASAP ......... There are times in our lives when we all wish that we had kept our mouths shut. (Mrs. Taildragger reminds me time after time of this simple truth) However, it takes a big man to admit he has (possibly) dropped a big one. You are that Soldier.
I am sure the Virgin with the tight slot did it only to annoy everybody, and had a huge laugh about it later in the Crew Room with the Flight Manager over a beer.
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