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Topic: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: FWFlyer
Posted 2008-05-07 15:07:05 and read 16959 times.

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Quote:

American Airlines employees have been buzzing about an April 20 flight from D/FW to Paris in which a panel from the plane's air conditioning system apparently fell off after takeoff.

According to a message the airline sent to pilots today, there was a "loud noise" and "short-lived vibration" as the Boeing 767 passed about 10,000 feet. The captain consulted with the crew and mechanics on the ground, and they determined it posed no threat and may have been cargo shifting in the belly of the jet.

When the plane landed, it was discovered that the lower fuselage panel, part of the air conditioner, was missing. Still, the airline said that safety was never compromised and that the flight crew made the right decision in keeping the plane aloft. An internal investigation into the incident is underway.

The incident occurred just one week after American had to ground its fleet of MD-80 jets for inspections.

http://startelegram.typepad.com/sky_talk/2008/05/panel-falls-off.html

[Edited 2008-05-07 15:20:16]

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Jetblueguy22
Posted 2008-05-07 15:30:38 and read 16867 times.

Interesting. BUt last time I checked the MD-80 incident was like 2-3 weeks ago. Im sure there will be something big to come out of this. I just don't want to hear "Fleets of 767s have been grounded because of issues with an air conditioning panel"
Blue

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: CuriousFlyer
Posted 2008-05-07 16:23:30 and read 16703 times.

Does anyone have a picture? This 767 or another one and the panel location? I cannot picture how bad this was...

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Qantas744ER
Posted 2008-05-07 16:30:23 and read 16669 times.



Quoting FWFlyer (Thread starter):
may have been cargo shifting in the belly of the jet.

How can shifting cargo not be a possible threat?

Anybody remember the KE 744F out of ARN were shifted cargo brought the CG way aft and on TO the plane would not climb right, the crew had to manually adjust it again to conduct a later safe landing.


And yes I know this is only the journalistic interpretation..which explains everything  Silly

Leo

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Sfomb67
Posted 2008-05-07 16:52:47 and read 16596 times.

A/C bay access door is a pretty good sized hunk of fiberglass. Someone must have been in there working, and just shut it with one latch, probably towards the back. Then, in-flight, the airstream pried it open causing the vibration, till it departed from its hinges.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Ikramerica
Posted 2008-05-07 16:52:38 and read 16596 times.

Cargo shifting in an -F model is a bit different than in a pax model, as cargo is a larger part of the payload by proportion.

It sounds as if the problem was about equivalent to driving without a grill on a car (that usually has one). Cosmetically bad, aerodynamically less than ideal, functionally fine. We'll see what the investigation shows.

But AA is already guilty by association due to the MD80 re-inspections.  Wink

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Micstatic
Posted 2008-05-07 17:00:52 and read 16541 times.

Or it could have hit an engine or flight control. Or killed someone on the ground. So there is hazard with this.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Tdscanuck
Posted 2008-05-07 21:51:01 and read 16117 times.



Quoting Micstatic (Reply 6):
Or it could have hit an engine or flight control. Or killed someone on the ground. So there is hazard with this.

Air conditioning bays are on the bottom of the aircraft in the middle (on a Boeing widebody like the 767). A liberated pack bay panel can't hit an engine and would be extremely difficult to hit a flight control unless you were already in a very strange attitude.

It could certainly bonk someone on the head on the ground, so there is obviously a hazard, but the probability is extremely low.

Tom.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Ssides
Posted 2008-05-07 23:48:30 and read 15956 times.

I'm wondering if the panel was ever found on the ground. Have any news stories indicated whether they were able to find it?

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Soon7x7
Posted 2008-05-08 05:41:37 and read 15296 times.

Not the first time "panels" falling from 767's...I was reading yesterday about three other incidents involving pylon fairings on 767s with GE powerplants. Apparently with the GE required pylons, the fairings are fastened by a DZUZ TYPE fastener. The possibilty of not securing the fastener 100% exists with this style resulting in seperation of these fairings and on one occasion that I read about, struck the leading edge slat causing some deformation. This incident occured at 13,700 ft. Other engine type installations required screw type fasteners as opposed to the GE "quick release" type.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AirNZ
Posted 2008-05-08 06:11:46 and read 14926 times.



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 7):
It could certainly bonk someone on the head on the ground, so there is obviously a hazard, but the probability is extremely low.

A bit semantic that, don't you think? Whilst the probability of 'bonking and individual on the head' might be extremely low......would you or anyone else be so candid if a pretty large chuck of an aircraft falling many thousands of feet (with the appropriate velocity attached!) happened to 'bonk' on top of say a school bus, or in traffic in a congested area????
Call it low probability all you wish, but that probability very much still exists and is certainly not low enough to be considered intangible.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAJFKSJUBKLYN
Posted 2008-05-08 07:16:33 and read 14171 times.

Big version: Width: 1024 Height: 768 File size: 29kb
Big version: Width: 3072 Height: 2304 File size: 232kb
DFW-CDG

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: National757
Posted 2008-05-08 07:18:16 and read 14152 times.

More Pics:

From: http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/a...photos-of-aa-jet-with-missing.html

Quote:
The photos are part of an angry email circulating among American employees. The writer blames the captain for not returning to D/FW Airport immediately. In the previous item, management pilots staunchly defended the captain's decision to continue the flight, based on the situation and the information he had available.






Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Tdscanuck
Posted 2008-05-08 07:24:01 and read 14090 times.



Quoting AirNZ (Reply 10):
Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 7):
It could certainly bonk someone on the head on the ground, so there is obviously a hazard, but the probability is extremely low.

A bit semantic that, don't you think? Whilst the probability of 'bonking and individual on the head' might be extremely low......would you or anyone else be so candid if a pretty large chuck of an aircraft falling many thousands of feet (with the appropriate velocity attached!) happened to 'bonk' on top of say a school bus, or in traffic in a congested area????
Call it low probability all you wish, but that probability very much still exists and is certainly not low enough to be considered intangible.

Well, no, it's not just semantic. Given the size of the earth and the size of the average panel, the probability is, as I said "extremely low." It's probably out there in "extremely improbable" (1e-9) territory unless you're over a heavily populated area.

It's candid/blunt/ghoulish (to some) to speak in such terms about human life (or property damage or any other harm) but that's how risk analysis is done. I agree that the risk probably isn't low enough to be considered intangible but the risk of damage to the airplane so far outweighs the risk of injury on the ground that I suspect the airplane risk is the driving factor. Avoiding ground injury is obviously desirable but not a driver.

Tom.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAJFKSJUBKLYN
Posted 2008-05-08 07:28:40 and read 14009 times.

I am definately not an aviation anything other then a flier, but based on what I see, the panel hinged open and what fell off was limited to what appears to be insulation. Someone help!

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Hiflyer
Posted 2008-05-08 07:40:00 and read 13869 times.



Quoting AAJFKSJUBKLYN (Reply 14):
the panel hinged open and what fell off was limited to what appears to be insulation. Someone help!

There are two identical panels....one fell off and you see the other one obviously lowered after arrival for inspection.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: CuriousFlyer
Posted 2008-05-08 07:51:34 and read 13679 times.

Funny the pilot had not noticed anything, this big hole must have created some drag, no? Would not the plane's gas consumption have increased a bit?

Anyway those 767s are well built, it seems that the absence of the panel and the strong airflow that must have taken place inside the compartment did not damage the AC system (only seems though...).

Thanks for the great pictures!

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAJFKSJUBKLYN
Posted 2008-05-08 08:11:05 and read 13423 times.



Quoting Hiflyer (Reply 15):
There are two identical panels....one fell off and you see the other one obviously lowered after arrival for inspection.

Thanks Buddy! Makes sense now! I was assuming the plane flew with the panel lowered...so it almost acted like a rudder...I was like wow! those are some strong hinges!  Smile

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAR90
Posted 2008-05-08 08:12:54 and read 13406 times.



Quoting AAJFKSJUBKLYN (Reply 14):
and what fell off was limited to what appears to be insulation.

The "insulation" you see is actually the honeycomb stucture that is "sandwiched" between the rigid outer surfaces to create the access panel. Thick, but lightweight and strong.

Quoting CuriousFlyer (Reply 16):
Funny the pilot had not noticed anything, this big hole must have created some drag, no? Would not the plane's gas consumption have increased a bit?

The "big hole" is actually very small compared to the size of the 767. It is also located in a relatively "dead area" of the airstream meaining there is very little increased drag. The only noise/vibration noticed was during the very short time period when the panel came loose, but remained attached to the plane. Once it broke free (in just a few seconds) the plane behaved normally. Post-flight analysis does not show any appreciable fuel use --nothing beyond normal variations between normal flights. Given the available information, I suspect I too would have continued the flight.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Soon7x7
Posted 2008-05-08 08:17:29 and read 13341 times.

That "insulation "...is not insulation, that is the core of the structure...Nomex honeycomb (resin impregnated paper folded into 1/8th inch cells.) Laminated betwen fibreglass,sometimes kevlar...sometimes carbon fibre. 40% of a 747's wing is made of this material. Ingenious Boeing engineering!...As access doors, they latche with a system called Hartwell latches.The tension on the latches is adjustable. Hard to believe they let loose. Human error in this case seems more probable. I once witnessed a L-1011 in push back and the fuelers left the single point refueling panel (under wing leading edge) dangling open. I pounded on the 1 inch thick glass window at JFK Delta Terminal to get attention of a ramper as I pointed to the wing...he saw it ndand grabbed a baggage conveyer and ran another ramper up to close it...so it happens.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: MDorBust
Posted 2008-05-08 08:20:39 and read 13292 times.



Quoting Qantas744ER (Reply 3):
How can shifting cargo not be a possible threat?

Well, if it doesn't alter the CG of the aircraft.. it's not a threat.

The pilot had a vibration and a noise, both of which ceased. Then thre were no further indications of trouble with the aircraft. I don't see any reason not to continue the flight.

Panels fall off aircraft all the time.

Oh, and by the time you are passing 10k out of DFW enroute CDG, you are well out into the hinterlands of Texarkana. That panel probably fell in the middle of twenty square miles of Texas scrubland.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Jcf5002
Posted 2008-05-08 08:34:07 and read 13126 times.



Quoting Jetblueguy22 (Reply 1):
Interesting. BUt last time I checked the MD-80 incident was like 2-3 weeks ago. Im sure there will be something big to come out of this. I just don't want to hear "Fleets of 767s have been grounded because of issues with an air conditioning panel"

The article said the flight was on 20 April, so it would have been right in the midst of the inspections and whatnot of the MD-80s
--------

The thing to remember is its the uninformed who yell the loudest in these situations. ONE PERSON felt angry that the pilot didn't turn around, and it gets blown up as if there was a major safety factor. With the available information, the pilot made the best choice he could. Nothing was immediately wrong with the plane, so he continued the flight. Now if someone told him he was missing a panel, or there was some sort of indication that something was amiss, then I'm sure he would have made a decision based upon that information.

On a side note, you are probably more likely to catch rabies from a squirrel than get hit in the head with a falling aircraft part, so I wouldn't be ducking for cover just yet.

-Jeff

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: 2H4
Posted 2008-05-08 09:47:08 and read 12125 times.



Quoting Jcf5002 (Reply 21):
The thing to remember is its the uninformed who yell the loudest in these situations. ONE PERSON felt angry that the pilot didn't turn around

Indeed. One person who is completely and totally unqualified to accurately assess the situation, I might add.

2H4

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: 333
Posted 2008-05-08 10:53:16 and read 11302 times.



Quoting Qantas744ER (Reply 3):
Anybody remember the KE 744F out of ARN were shifted cargo brought the CG way aft and on TO the plane would not climb right, the crew had to manually adjust it again to conduct a later safe landing.

This happend at OSL.

http://www.sht.no/items/1784/144/3025347237/KAL520_HL7467.pdf

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Cubastar
Posted 2008-05-08 11:18:08 and read 10979 times.



Quoting MDorBust (Reply 20):
The pilot had a vibration and a noise, both of which ceased. Then thre were no further indications of trouble with the aircraft. I don't see any reason not to continue the flight.

Maybe and maybe not. Any unknown noise or vibration not before heard or experienced should be cause for worry. I am not at all second guessing the pilots or the company, but it could have possibly developed into a not so benign situation later in flight. That later development could have caused a diversion enroute or quite possibly a failure of an associated system while in flight.

Case in point. We departed MIA enroute to LGA in a DC9-30. After about 5 minutes in flight a moderate, short-lived noise and unusual vibration occurred which lasted for about 15 seconds and then the vibration ceased completely and all instruments and controls functioned normally. My feeling was that......this was a noise and a vibration that was not supposed to happen and I had no idea what had caused it, so I felt that it was only prudent to return to MIA and find out what the problem was. On approach when the landing gear was lowered we had a MLG door caution light that flickered and then went out. No other indication was forthcoming. On touchdown the door light illuminated again. We rolled to a stop and then the ground crew motioned us to cut the engines. We had begun to spray hydraulic fluid all over the place.

Subsequent inspection revealed that the outer MLG door had left the aircraft taking a small hydraulic line with it, hit the underside of the right wing and then hit the outboard section of right engine nacelle.

My feelings then and now are that unusual situations are suspect and should be checked out promptly as possible. Just my opinion.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAJFKSJUBKLYN
Posted 2008-05-08 11:28:02 and read 10816 times.



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 22):
Indeed. One person who is completely and totally unqualified to accurately assess the situation, I might add.

I would not make this assumption as Flight Attendents know the normal sounds and routines of an aircraft and are the pilots eyes and ears in the rear of the ship. Suspicion alone to an odd noise is reason for the cock-pit to return. For god's sake they were appraoching 10k feet that plane should have been turned around to DFW in 10 minutes. Sure the situation and dred of trying to get another aircraft would have been "annoying", but I would rather be annoyed then flown in an UNSURE condition as was done.

Quoting Cubastar (Reply 24):
My feelings then and now are that unusual situations are suspect and should be checked out promptly as possible. Just my opinion.

I can't agree more with you. 230 Passengers and crew, and you take a gamble! Come on now. We are not talking a car with a broken broken tail light here.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: DocLightning
Posted 2008-05-08 11:37:08 and read 11057 times.

20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So you're passing through 10,000 ft and there's a bump and some vibration. After a second or two, it stops and doesn't return. All your indicators are normal. The plane is behaving as if nothing has happened.

Do you 1) Turn around and take 300 odd people back to their origin to have the entire plane evacuated and then picked over with a fine-toothed comb when there is very little chance that ground crew will find anything wrong?

2) Figure that you have a good 5 hours before you head out over water and that in the unlikely event there is something that will subtly affect aircraft performance, you will have ample opportunities to land?

If planes turned around every time there was an odd thump nobody would ever get anywhere.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAJFKSJUBKLYN
Posted 2008-05-08 12:36:04 and read 10228 times.

It was apparently assessed as more then your normal thump and go away type noise. Thats my point. FA's fly 70-80 hours an average month, an average of 23 ups and downs a month (depending on trip length obviously)...I think they know something abnormal. I dont think a responsible pilot should discount a flight attendants fears of something not right. It does not happen all the time.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: MDorBust
Posted 2008-05-08 13:23:38 and read 9614 times.



Quoting Cubastar (Reply 24):
Subsequent inspection revealed that the outer MLG door had left the aircraft taking a small hydraulic line with it, hit the underside of the right wing and then hit the outboard section of right engine nacelle.

No low HYD pressure indications inflight? Or was the leak connected to a system that was activated by lowering the landing gear and thus wouldn't have manifested itself until you reached you original destination if you pressed on?

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: ADent
Posted 2008-05-08 13:25:09 and read 9593 times.



Quoting AAJFKSJUBKLYN (Reply 25):
For god's sake they were appraoching 10k feet that plane should have been turned around to DFW in 10 minutes. Sure the situation and dred of trying to get another aircraft would have been "annoying", but I would rather be annoyed then flown in an UNSURE condition as was done.

How long does it take a 767 to dump fuel down to max landing weight? I would guess more than 10 minutes. Do you wait for that or risk an overweight landing?

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Jetblueguy22
Posted 2008-05-08 16:07:03 and read 8204 times.



Quoting Jcf5002 (Reply 21):
The article said the flight was on 20 April, so it would have been right in the midst of the inspections and whatnot of the MD-80s

Oh i did not see that. Thank you for pointing that out. (not sarcasm)
Blue

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AirPortugal310
Posted 2008-05-08 17:07:31 and read 8099 times.



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 26):
If planes turned around every time there was an odd thump nobody would ever get anywhere.

Thats my kind of thinking

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: HAWK21M
Posted 2008-05-08 21:25:34 and read 7843 times.

The Pack door was not secured with all latches could be the reason currently for the Blow off.
regds
MEL

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: DocLightning
Posted 2008-05-08 22:53:48 and read 7721 times.



Quoting AirPortugal310 (Reply 31):


Quoting DocLightning (Reply 26):
If planes turned around every time there was an odd thump nobody would ever get anywhere.

Thats my kind of thinking

I mean, it's one thing if you're leaving Easter Island. Then I might be more in favor of turning around because there's nowhere to land until you hit SCL. But out of DFW you have most of North America to cover and if there is a problem that will degrade aircraft performance then it will declare itself long before you find yourself over the North Atlantic.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Boston92
Posted 2008-05-08 23:12:08 and read 7688 times.

Wait...no one has answered this question (the obvious one to me):

Would they have landed if they had known what actually happened?

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Cubastar
Posted 2008-05-09 08:43:06 and read 7492 times.



Quoting MDorBust (Reply 28):
No low HYD pressure indications inflight? Or was the leak connected to a system that was activated by lowering the landing gear and thus wouldn't have manifested itself until you reached you original destination if you pressed on?

No, no indication of quantity loss and of course, no pressure loss as long as there was fluid in the system. As we were only in the air about 15 minutes totally, and the after takeoff check list run, the two engine driven pumps had already been placed to the low pressure position and the aux pump to the off position thereby limiting loss until the pumps were turned back to full output and the aux pump to on prior to landing.

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 34):
Wait...no one has answered this question (the obvious one to me):

Would they have landed if they had known what actually happened?

My guess would be yes. It certainly would have been mine. Don't think anyone would have wanted to fly over the pond with that panel missing. Again, just my opinion.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAJFKSJUBKLYN
Posted 2008-05-09 09:59:54 and read 7415 times.

It's fundementals of safety, If you see something say something. There is a saying, "I could have saved a life that day, but I chose to look the other way". There was a reason the FA did what they did. The saying goes further and is actually a safety poem..."The chances didn't seem that bad, so I shook my head and walked on by"...Thats what the pilots did...they made a bad decision, in the long run it worked out for them. The fact of the matter is that the pilot discounted the FA and chose to look the other way and proceeded on. Its foolishness. How many airline disasters could have been avoided if someone in a responsible position, whether a pilot, FA, Ramp worker, actually said something..........

Sorry I take this personally, a buddy of mine (AA employee) was killed by a fellow AA worker at JFK. I wont go into details, but if someone chose to speak up, the incident would not have happened in the first place.

LUCKILY no one got hurt, and the plane went on. Thats a wonderful thing.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Soon7x7
Posted 2008-05-09 11:03:23 and read 7354 times.



Quoting Boston92 (Reply 34):

Would imagine they would have to, I seriously doubt an absent 4'x8' DOOR,... "AERODYNAMIC PANEL"... missing is an MEL item.
Perhaps a request to ATC to ask another airborne ship to perform a visual fly by given the length of the trip they were going to endure would have been the simplest and most prudent thing to do.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAJFKSJUBKLYN
Posted 2008-05-09 11:32:51 and read 7304 times.



Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 37):
Perhaps a request to ATC to ask another airborne ship to perform a visual fly by given the length of the trip they were going to endure would have been the simplest and most prudent thing to do.

Exactly or a fly by of tower...simple..hey is my plane a-ok??

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: HikesWithEyes
Posted 2008-05-09 11:42:46 and read 7286 times.



Quoting MDorBust (Reply 20):
That panel probably fell in the middle of twenty square miles of Texas scrubland.

AA's early wedding gift to Jenna Bush.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAR90
Posted 2008-05-09 11:41:56 and read 7288 times.



Quoting Cubastar (Reply 24):
Maybe and maybe not. Any unknown noise or vibration not before heard or experienced should be cause for worry. I am not at all second guessing the pilots or the company, but it could have possibly developed into a not so benign situation later in flight. That later development could have caused a diversion enroute or quite possibly a failure of an associated system while in flight.

Correct thinking, and exactly what was PLANNED. The flight had 3 hours over land with divert fields that entire time. Nothing further developed so the flight continued with the over-water portion of the flight.

Quoting AAJFKSJUBKLYN (Reply 27):
It was apparently assessed as more then your normal thump and go away type noise.

No, that is exactly what it was assessed to be at that time. The decision was made in consultation with more experienced personnel (maintenance, dispatch, other flight crewmembers, etc.).

Quoting AAJFKSJUBKLYN (Reply 27):
I dont think a responsible pilot should discount a flight attendants fears of something not right.

Nobody "discounted" anything. The decision was made that it was safe to continue with multiple divert fields available for 3 hours in case anything became abnormal. Nothing abnormal developed, so yes, it truly did develope into a "normal thump and go away type noise."

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 34):
Would they have landed if they had known what actually happened?

Yes.

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 37):
Perhaps a request to ATC to ask another airborne ship to perform a visual fly by given the length of the trip they were going to endure would have been the simplest and most prudent thing to do.

Formation flying is not a legal activity for a commercial airline flight in USA.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: HAWK21M
Posted 2008-05-09 21:40:37 and read 7058 times.



Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 37):
Would imagine they would have to, I seriously doubt an absent 4'x8' DOOR,... "AERODYNAMIC PANEL"... missing is an MEL item.

You mean CDL item......CDL covers extenal panels.
regds
MEL

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: DocLightning
Posted 2008-05-10 12:48:06 and read 6881 times.

Let me talk about being "too safe." Now, I can't speak from my vast experience in commercial aviation, because I don't have any. So I'll talk about my own safety-obsessed field: medicine.

We had an 8yo boy admitted to the hospital. Now, there's this ER doctor downstairs who takes the point of view of "you can't play it too safe." So the boy comes in with a sore throat and a rash. Any pediatrician on seeing that rash would have pointed it and said "scarlet fever." Damn the negative rapid strep test, just give him penicillin, motrin, and benadryl and send him home. Come back if he gets worse or not better.

This attending said "he could have a serious infection in his blood" because the rapid strep test was negative. I argued that sometimes you have to treat the patient and not the test. I argued that it would do more harm than good to administer potent antibiotics to treat a meningococcal strep infection and admit him to the hospital with blood cultures for 48 hours of observation. He insisted on admitting him; I had no choice but to accept the admission.

He missed his 9th birthday party because he got admitted. And then he had a pseudo-allergic reaction to the antibiotics from being infused too quickly. And then his throat culture grew out strep. He got admitted to the hospital, missed his 9th birthday, and suffered a horrible rash all because "you can't be too safe."

And so there is such a thing as too safe. It's called benefits not outweighing the risks.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Brons2
Posted 2008-05-10 15:03:22 and read 6796 times.

Scary. Before my DFW-CDG flight last August, the plane was delayed for 2 hours to work on - you guessed it - the air conditioning system.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Soon7x7
Posted 2008-05-12 11:15:02 and read 6516 times.



Quoting AAR90 (Reply 40):

Either should a trip across the Ocean with a full compliment of PAX be legal if the aircraft has become UNAIRWORTHY. In the interest of a safety and trying to qualify whether or not an flight has just experienced a potentially crippling event, I'm sure the COURTS would agree.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: PITIngres
Posted 2008-05-12 13:33:16 and read 6423 times.



Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 44):
Either (sic) should a trip across the Ocean with a full compliment of PAX be legal if the aircraft has become UNAIRWORTHY.

Non sequitur. The aircraft was entirely airworthy, as evidenced and proven by the results, if nothing else. In addition, a diversion would not have been free of risk either; I understand that the aircraft was over landing maximums and would have had to dump fuel, which is a far worse ground hazard than a panel fluttering around.

I think you confuse takeoff criteria with airworthiness. There is a huge gap between the two, for good reason. It's trivially easy to fix things like missing panels on the ground, so one doesn't take off with a missing panel. The lack of the panel does not however make the plane un-airworthy.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAR90
Posted 2008-05-12 18:03:33 and read 6307 times.



Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 44):
Either should a trip across the Ocean with a full compliment of PAX be legal if the aircraft has become UNAIRWORTHY.

Please show me where the plane became "unairworthy." It was never in such a condition. And what do you think the crew was doing during those first 3 HOURS of OVER LAND flying? Verifying the status of the plane as being not just "airworthy" but meeting ALL the requirements for an extended overwater flight.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Tdscanuck
Posted 2008-05-12 20:13:07 and read 6249 times.



Quoting PITIngres (Reply 45):
Non sequitur. The aircraft was entirely airworthy, as evidenced and proven by the results, if nothing else.



Quoting AAR90 (Reply 46):
Please show me where the plane became "unairworthy."

Airworthy has a very specific and precise definition. It means complies with the type design *and* safe for operation.

The aircraft was obviously safe for operation. It obviously did not comply with the type design (there is no CDL relief for a missing pack bay panel). Therefore the aircraft was not airworthy.

Tom.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: AAR90
Posted 2008-05-13 09:14:21 and read 6131 times.

From the FAA Preamble to the AA MEL (ed; emphasis added):

A. The Minimum Equipment List (MEL) provides equipment requirements, operational procedures and restrictions for dispatch and takeoff. Flight crews will not operate any deactivated or placarded inoperative item or system. The MEL is not applicable for a component failure inflight.

B. The Configuration Deviation List (CDL) contained at the back of the various airplane sections of the MEL Manual , provide FAA Approved Flight Manual limitations for operation without certain secondary airframe or engine parts.

Therefore (at least at AA), the following is true:

1. The CDL is actually part of the MEL.... according to the FAA.
2. The MEL (and by inclusion, the CDL) is only applicable to dispatch and takeoff and does not apply to this incident.

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 47):
The aircraft was obviously safe for operation. It obviously did not comply with the type design (there is no CDL relief for a missing pack bay panel). Therefore the aircraft was not airworthy.

By your own definition attempt, the following facts are known:

1. The aircraft became "unairworthy" only AFTER landing in Paris.
2. AA did not fly the plane until the panel was replaced --making it "airworthy" again.

And your point was???

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: PITIngres
Posted 2008-05-13 10:17:50 and read 6089 times.



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 47):
Airworthy has a very specific and precise definition. It means complies with the type design *and* safe for operation.

The aircraft was obviously safe for operation. It obviously did not comply with the type design (there is no CDL relief for a missing pack bay panel). Therefore the aircraft was not airworthy.

Ah, I didn't realize that a term-of-art definition existed. So, what I should have said was more like "Non sequitur, as airworthiness is a criterion applied at dispatch and takeoff, at which times the aircraft was in fact airworthy. The in-flight criterion is safety, and as adjudged by the flight crew and affirmed by the flight results, the plane was safe for continued operation without diversion."

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Tdscanuck
Posted 2008-05-13 10:24:25 and read 6076 times.



Quoting AAR90 (Reply 48):
Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 47):
The aircraft was obviously safe for operation. It obviously did not comply with the type design (there is no CDL relief for a missing pack bay panel). Therefore the aircraft was not airworthy.

By your own definition attempt, the following facts are known:

1. The aircraft became "unairworthy" only AFTER landing in Paris.
2. AA did not fly the plane until the panel was replaced --making it "airworthy" again.

And your point was???

It's not a definition "attempt"...that's straight from the relevant FAA AC.

The aircraft went out of type design the second the panel departed, not after it landed in Paris. The second it went out of type design, it became unairworthy. The part about the CDL was just to reflect that you can be within type design with some missing items, but the pack bay panel isn't one of them.

Tom.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: 2H4
Posted 2008-05-13 10:31:44 and read 6053 times.



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 50):
The aircraft went out of type design the second the panel departed, not after it landed in Paris. The second it went out of type design, it became unairworthy.

But can the pilots/airline be faulted for continuing a flight when, even after reasonably prudent investigation, no signs of trouble existed? The aircraft may have been unairworthy, but it sounds like that determination could only have been made on the ground, no?

2H4

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: ZTagged
Posted 2008-05-13 11:09:24 and read 6007 times.



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 51):

I'd think not. Let's put it this way:
The pilots heard a bump, then the flight continued normally. They investigated, and determined it to be a fluke, thus continuing on to France.
If they would have returned, and there had been nothing wrong, they would have:
A) Wasted the pax time.
B) Wasted AA's time, money
C) Probably been disciplined.

Plus, if every flight that felt a bump returned to their departure field, nobody would be going anywhere.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: DocLightning
Posted 2008-05-13 20:44:57 and read 5907 times.



Quoting Brons2 (Reply 43):

Scary. Before my DFW-CDG flight last August, the plane was delayed for 2 hours to work on - you guessed it - the air conditioning system.

well nothing was wrong with the air conditioning system. It was merely the hatch covering it that was the trouble.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Tdscanuck
Posted 2008-05-13 22:20:16 and read 5847 times.



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 51):
But can the pilots/airline be faulted for continuing a flight when, even after reasonably prudent investigation, no signs of trouble existed? The aircraft may have been unairworthy, but it sounds like that determination could only have been made on the ground, no?

That would be my interpretation as well. Aircraft are complex creatures and there's no way for the flight crew to be pre-trained for every possible bump, thump, and noise they may experience in the course of their career. At some point, good judgment has to enter the picture. There are usually enough monitoring systems and flight crew training that a condition that really was a threat to the aircraft could be identified as such.

There are exceptions to this, obviously, but they usually involve failures so odd that nobody even considered it beforehand, so nobody planned for it (e.g. JAL123 or AS261).

Tom.

Topic: RE: Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely
Username: Arffguy
Posted 2008-05-13 22:19:25 and read 5845 times.



Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 19):
I once witnessed a L-1011 in push back and the fuelers left the single point refueling panel (under wing leading edge) dangling open.

Big deal. Fuel panels are hinged at the front, so that the oncoming airflow would most likely push it closed anyway, unlike these panels.


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