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Command Decisions-what would you do?

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Command Decisions-what would you do?

Old 23rd Sep 2008, 14:04
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Australia.
Posts: 305
I always wonder about landing after an engine failure on takeoff/climb out. Do you land over-weight? Or do you stay in close proximity to the field and hold until you are below max landing weight. (off course this is if fuel dumping is not an option). If holding, would you put the gear down to increase rate of fuel burn?
Alf asked the question and I made the point using an extreme example of the Swiss Air disaster that you need to appreciate that there are some situations where structural landing weight limits are relatively trivial. In-cabin fire is one example. I would argue that being down to just one good engine is another.

Yes the chances of losing both engines on the same flight are extremely remote, but the fact that you already lost one engine does not make the loss of the remaining engine any less likely.

Just like when you walk up to a roulette wheel and you notice the last five rounds have been all reds. You figure the chances of the next number being a red is remote because the chances of having six reds in a row is 2x2x2x2x2x2= 1 in 64. But in fact the chances of the next number being red is still 1 in 2 (ignoring the green zero).

In fact getting back to the engines you could argue the chances of the remaining engine suffering an engine failure has just increased. After all they are of the same design and have things in common such as fuel supply and environmental conditions which may have contributed to the first engine failing.

Hope my point is clear now.
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Old 23rd Sep 2008, 19:12
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Castle Greyskull
Posts: 32
as a new-ish captain who had exactly the same concerns.......

1. Trust YOUR judgement.
2. If in doubt, always default to the safe option, bu**er the accountants!
3. If in lots of doubt, ask your FO what he/she suggests. Gives a bit of thinking time.

In any unusual situation we'd all do something slightly different. Almost never a right or wrong answer. That's why we have PPRuNe.......so we can have long protracted arguments afterwards.

oh and congrats, you'll love it!
skeletor is offline  
Old 23rd Sep 2008, 19:58
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Thailand
Posts: 942
If you ever think that you need to put the aircraft on the ground, the weight must never be a limiting consideration.
Some pilots seem obsessed with this question of reducing to the limited landing weight. It should not be. Indeed, it is foolish to consider it so important, as the Swissair Captain seemed so to do.
The aircraft will not sustain irreparable damage if you land at the MTOW minus what you have burned in the time it takes you to prepare for the approach. It will merely need a check from the engineers.
My sailing instructor, who knew exactly what he was talking about, once told me; the first time you think you need to put a reef in a sail is the only time to do it.
So it is with an aircraft; if you think it should be on the ground ASAP, then now is the time to prepare for an approach.
Stop using words like 'nightmare scenario' and concentrate on the facts of the situation.
Flames, smoke, dying pax, serious bomb threat.........land ASAP
Engine run down, system failure or other non-critical event, by all means reduce weight.
It is not a lottery or a gamble, it is common sense.
rubik101 is offline  
Old 23rd Sep 2008, 21:25
  #24 (permalink)  

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stilton where is it mandated that one lands ASAP after an engine failure in a twin? The Australian CAO even gives approval to overfly the nearest suitable, provided consideration is given to several factors, terrain and performance being just two of them.

I'm not advocating flying hundreds of miles on one engine only as a routine matter. But, unless there were contrary indications, I'd have no problem holding in close vicinity to the aerodrome and waiting until < MLW.

If landing ASAP is so high a priority, should I land on a road or salt lake if hundreds of miles from a suitable aerodrome?

The last down to the ground QRH i used was on the DH8. For several abnormals it did say land ASAP. But for an engine fire, or an engine failure, and they were different entries, it said land at the nearest suitable.
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Old 23rd Sep 2008, 21:26
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 690
I would have no hesitation at all landing overweight after an engine failure as long as the performance allowed it.

744 or 737 no difference in philosophy.(If the decision on the 744 was to land rather than continue)

People seem happier to fly around on one now than they did in the past? Etops maybe?

Or is it the same attitude that leads us to say 'Just a minor problem' when it really isn't that minor?
Stan Woolley is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 00:14
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Europe
Posts: 168
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 09:22
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: uk
Posts: 687
With regard to my previous posting about bomb warnings and immediate overweight landings I had hoped to open the discussion up to include RELATIVE RISKS. Most posters seem to have concentrated on what is aircraft possible whilst ignoring possible other risks.
It is an unfortunate fact of my past 40 years in aviation that every successful aircraft bombing has occurred with NO PRIOR WARNING and all other given warnings have been hoaxes.
My personal interest stems from being (as a duty travelling crewmember) once involved in a full aircraft diversion and subsequent evacuation via the slides for what proved to be a hoax. I have also experienced an overweight landing (+80 tonnes) due to multiple engine damage from bird ingestions.

Note please that I am not advocating ANY particular course of action here. I am simply pointing out, as I think the original poster wanted, some thought processes that need to be made.
One always has to be sure that one is not creating even greater safety hazards by being too quick to act. eg. Yes the aircraft can be landed quickly but a brake fire may mean that an unnecessary evacuation is required which will almost certainly injure people. eg. Having landed OK does one slowly taxy to a remote stand or evacuate (see above)

In short there are NO complete answers just a balance of risks to be made by the captain on the day.
Meikleour is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 23:23
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 542
Know that salvation isnt always in the QRH.You may have to interpret (eg fuel filter contamination..QRH states flameout possible but doesnt say anything about diverting) or there may not be a procedure at all...electrical bus isolation with smoke when over water..some checklists for elec smoke can be very rudimentary in an effort not to distract you from the land asap principle..
Interpretation of QRH is down to experience and judgement..eg,with fuel filter bypass on one side and several available alternates,perhaps continue..with bypass on both sides and few alternates,obviously not.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 00:21
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 19
Hi D7,

I am a new captain and also had similar concerns before and during my training.

I would try to think of all the things that could go wrong on the aircraft I fly.

Quite often I had flying friends and colleagues stumped with my impossible scenarios, but thatís really what they were.

Since passing the course and thoroughly enjoying it, I have had a number of interesting events, fumes in the cockpit, a number of gear indication problems and one genuine nose gear stuck in the retracted position.

The first thing I like to do in these situations is really nothing at all.

Ensure who ever is flying the aircraft continues to do so, memory items if required and a quick mental check on our fuel and hence time available, and then, and only then look at what we have. The speed at which this all happens depends on the problem of course but I was taught by a friend never to rush, think and move quickly but donít rush.

I really enjoy being in the left hand seat now, it is a challenge but it is also very rewarding to deal with the problems that arise, and to learn from them so the next time you can do it better.

You will make the decisions based on the information you have at the time, use your crew (part of mine often have vastly more flying experience than I do!) and they have a wealth of knowledge, use it wisely.

Generate options, select the best fit and always re assess once you action it. Things change and the original plan may need a tweak, or other, better options may present themselves if you are actively looking for them.

Regarding the nose gear incident, it was my FO who had seen it before and had the solution. Sure, the checklist would have got the gear down had it been followed to completion but it would have resulted in a long and costly re fit once on the ground.

One particular captain I had the pleasure to fly with was just fantastic. He worked hard to create a relaxed but professional cockpit that was a pleasure to work in. I always felt I could ask questions, put forward ideas and that my opinion was valued. I think that encourages the guys to speak up and put things forward. I'm confident it wonít be the last time a good FO helps me out and though I am far from perfect I do try and emulate flying with that captain. If only I could be as funny!

Re the engine failure in a twin, if one on the aircraft I fly fails then all the checklists will be completed and we will land as soon as possible, overweight at a suitable airfield. Without rushing of course

All the best and enjoy it.

Last edited by super ted123; 25th Sep 2008 at 00:44.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 00:30
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Right seat
Age: 40
Posts: 47
What about an engine failure (2 eng ac) during app in landing config?
Continue landing with too much flaps?
Reconfigure to single eng flap setting?
danishdynamite is offline  
Old 25th Sep 2008, 01:08
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Oztrailia
Posts: 2,804
land that plane Maverick.

On the 777 you can leave flap at 25 or 30 if you wish OR select Flap 20 and bug up a little.

Depends on what Go Around climb perf you wanted.

quote from the 777 FCOM:

All engine inoperative approaches are to be carried out at FLAPS 20, unless landing
distance limited, when FLAPS 30 will be used. If an engine failure occurs after
selection of FLAPS 30 on approach, Flaps 30 may be used for landing, unless
go-around performance requires a FLAPS 20 approach.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 01:16
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 2,263
The problem with "scenarios" is that (as evidenced here) there are often many ways to "skin a cat". Command is really about the demonstrated ability to make decisions. That ability doesn't mean a snap decision for every scenario you might face. The most important ability is the ability to manage. There are very few situations that require an immediate critical response. The most important things that you will need to manage are the resources available to you. Chief amongst these are time and space. Give yourself enough of both to suit the situation. Far too many people faced with an emergency or non normal situation rush to a solution. This often results in insufficient time or ground distance to execute a tidy conclusion to a problem. The other equally important resource is your crew. As part of your command management, you should properly bring them into your solution as quickly as time allows. Also don't forget all the other resources available to you, ATC, emergency services,operations and engineering. Communicate the situation as early as time permits and for all those resources, you will become the most important aircraft in the sky.

Becoming a commander will not make you a font of all knowledge, or provide immunity from bad decisions. However it will mean that somebody has judged you have good management abilities, and you should use that as the basis for ongoing improvement for the rest of your career. Inevitably you will make mistakes and continue to learn from them. Others should also be able to learn from you. Time critical decisions are normally recall items, or practiced simulator exercises, however any situation should be effectively managed by you, even as is often the case it means listening to, discussing with, and sanctioning decisions that are made by other members of your crew. Again within the bounds of what you assess to be reasonable, give people the space and time to come to their decisions as well. The only other advice I can give, is where possible (and it almost always is), always have a "plan B" or an escape route. Any decision made by or endorsed by you, belongs to you. As such you have the right to modify, change or abandon it as the situation warrants.

Enjoy your command.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 11:34
  #33 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Derbyshire, England.
Posts: 4,066
"All engine inoperative approaches are to be carried out at FLAPS 20, unless landing
distance limited, when FLAPS 30 will be used. If an engine failure occurs after
selection of FLAPS 30 on approach, Flaps 30 may be used for landing, unless
go-around performance requires a FLAPS 20 approach".

It is probably bleedin obvious but why are we concerning ourselves with GA requirements with all engines inop.?
parabellum is offline  
Old 25th Sep 2008, 11:53
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: brisbane
Posts: 393
Great Advice

Now Son, one more thing before I let you loose..................try and do anything stupid as slowly as possible.

Sounded condascending at the time but after experiencing life in the left it taught me the calm mind is a thinking mind.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 12:41
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Oztrailia
Posts: 2,804
It is probably bleedin obvious but why are we concerning ourselves with GA requirements with all engines inop.?
Yeah I see what you mean now. Hadn't looked at it that way before, I guess It's kind of funny.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 15:30
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: _... .. ._
Posts: 27
It is probably bleedin obvious but why are we concerning ourselves with GA requirements with all engines inop.?
Methinks this is what they intended:

"All one engine inoperative approaches..."

as opposed to

"All all engine inoperative approaches..."

If that's the case, why they didn't write that I don't know - to save ink maybe? Ha, I'm off for a lie down in a dark cupboard
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 17:03
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: uk
Age: 46
Posts: 22
I don't see anyone replying about the bird strike?
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 18:07
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Room 757
Posts: 81
I have been a Captain for only 1.5 years and I can remember rolling around in bed wondering "what would I do?", just like you are. I suggest what everyone else is recommending:

use common sense,
know your plane and company policies,
and play it safe.

Everything else will fall into place on its own. Before I knew it, I took the controls from an FO during an unstabilized approach, I decided to delay my take off or approach for weather, elected to go to the alternate instead of attempting an approach into bad weather, and refused to go with MEL'd items. I still got struck by lightning on my first month after IOE, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me, but I know what you are feeling.

Good luck. Congratulations.


PS- I've killed many birds. Every time we've hit one I was able to see it was a small bird prior to hearing or feeling the impact. Thank God the worse thing has been having to write the reports, always non-events.

Last edited by rcl7700; 25th Sep 2008 at 18:19.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 21:24
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Thailand
Posts: 942
As for the birds; if there have been a few bumps around the nose or whizzing past the windows, then simply check all the engine, config and aircon parameters, if normal, continue the flight.
If the gear won't come up or the config warning sounds with the gear up or the smell in the cabin is like grossly overcooked BBQ'd chicken or the oil or fuel temp. is climbing steadily, then it's a no brainer, as our colonial friends say. Land at the nearest suitable airport.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 22:25
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: brisbane
Posts: 393
Hoorah for the British Empire

Multicultural yes, Colonial No!!(colonial relates to the period of Australian history pre-1901 i.e before Federation).

Stick that in ya pipe ya Pommie Git!
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