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Panel Falls Off AA Plane, Flight Lands Safely  
User currently offlineFWFlyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 9 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 16759 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]

55 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJetblueguy22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 2798 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 16667 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

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



You push down on that yoke, the houses get bigger, you pull back on the yoke, the houses get bigger- Ken Foltz
User currently offlineCuriousFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 694 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 16503 times:

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

User currently offlineQantas744ER From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1286 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 16469 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



Happiness is V1 in Lagos
User currently offlineSfomb67 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16396 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.


Not as easy as originally perceived
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21532 posts, RR: 59
Reply 5, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16396 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



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineMicstatic From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 780 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16341 times:

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


S340,DH8,AT7,CR2/7,E135/45/170/190,319,320,717,732,733,734,735,737,738,744,752,762,763,764,772,M80,M90
User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 79
Reply 7, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 15917 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.


User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 15756 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?


"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlineSoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 15096 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.

User currently offlineAirNZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 14726 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.


User currently offlineAAJFKSJUBKLYN From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 13971 times:

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


User currently offlineNational757 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 720 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 13952 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.









Formula 1 Grand Prix Trips: YUL '08, MEL '09, BCN '10, SIN '11, and LGW '12
User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 79
Reply 13, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 13890 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.


User currently offlineAAJFKSJUBKLYN From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 13809 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!

User currently offlineHiflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2172 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 13669 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.


User currently offlineCuriousFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 694 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 13479 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!


User currently offlineAAJFKSJUBKLYN From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 13223 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


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3474 posts, RR: 46
Reply 18, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 13206 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.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineSoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 13141 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.

User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 13092 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.


User currently offlineJcf5002 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 289 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 12926 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



Its always a sunny day above the clouds || CSEL, CMEL, CFI, CFII, MEI
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 59
Reply 22, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 11925 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR



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



Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offline333 From Norway, joined Dec 2007, 9 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 11102 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


User currently offlineCubastar From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 409 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (6 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 10779 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.


25 AAJFKSJUBKLYN : 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
26 DocLightning : 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 d
27 AAJFKSJUBKLYN : 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
28 MDorBust : 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 hav
29 ADent : 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 l
30 Jetblueguy22 : Oh i did not see that. Thank you for pointing that out. (not sarcasm) Blue
31 AirPortugal310 : Thats my kind of thinking
32 HAWK21M : The Pack door was not secured with all latches could be the reason currently for the Blow off. regds MEL
33 DocLightning : 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
34 Boston92 : Wait...no one has answered this question (the obvious one to me): Would they have landed if they had known what actually happened?
35 Cubastar : 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 minu
36 AAJFKSJUBKLYN : 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
37 Soon7x7 : 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
38 AAJFKSJUBKLYN : Exactly or a fly by of tower...simple..hey is my plane a-ok??
39 HikesWithEyes : AA's early wedding gift to Jenna Bush.
40 AAR90 : Correct thinking, and exactly what was PLANNED. The flight had 3 hours over land with divert fields that entire time. Nothing further developed so th
41 HAWK21M : You mean CDL item......CDL covers extenal panels. regds MEL
42 DocLightning : 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
43 Brons2 : 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.
44 Soon7x7 : 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
45 PITIngres : Non sequitur. The aircraft was entirely airworthy, as evidenced and proven by the results, if nothing else. In addition, a diversion would not have b
46 AAR90 : 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
47 Tdscanuck : Airworthy has a very specific and precise definition. It means complies with the type design *and* safe for operation. The aircraft was obviously saf
48 AAR90 : From the FAA Preamble to the AA MEL (ed; emphasis added): A. The Minimum Equipment List (MEL) provides equipment requirements, operational procedures
49 PITIngres : 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
50 Tdscanuck : 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 a
51 2H4 : But can the pilots/airline be faulted for continuing a flight when, even after reasonably prudent investigation, no signs of trouble existed? The air
52 ZTagged : 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
53 DocLightning : well nothing was wrong with the air conditioning system. It was merely the hatch covering it that was the trouble.
54 Tdscanuck : 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 b
55 Arffguy : 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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