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BA 777 Crash 'due To Ice' - Report  
User currently offlineMoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4089 posts, RR: 4
Posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 24104 times:



Quote:

The BA plane that crashed at Heathrow in January was probably brought down by ice in its fuel system, an accident report says.

The pilots of the Boeing 777 managed to land safely, and 136 passengers and 16 crew escaped without serious injury.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch believes the flow of fuel dropped causing the engines to lose power less than a minute before touchdown.

...

the scenarios being considered by the AAIB are based on the idea that the ice formed gradually in the system and was released as the plane prepared for landing.

But the report makes three safety recommendations:

* that the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency introduce interim measures to reduce the risk of ice forming on the Boeing 777 powered by Trent 800 engines
* the agencies should consider the implications for other aircraft types
* review the requirements for new engines


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7598267.stm

Still not the final report, since they do not know how the ice formed - I think this is going to go on for some time yet.

67 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineHAMAD From United Arab Emirates, joined Apr 2000, 1161 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 23999 times:

wow!!!!! interesting.... so does that mean that the pilot will go back to flying after what happened, as in some other thread a while ago someone reported that he was not flying for some reason


PHX - i miss spotting
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31436 posts, RR: 85
Reply 2, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 23979 times:
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And the British and US aviation safety agencies are preparing to implement new procedures for Trent 800-powered 777s to help prevent this ice build-up from happening. They are also examining whether or not they need to extend this to the PW4000 and GE90 engines, as well.

User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 23966 times:

The full interim report can be found here


MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
User currently offlineAirNZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 23948 times:

So does this mean there'll have to backpeddling from those members here who were very quick to blame 'foreign fuel and Chinese crap' without even the tiniest shred of evidence to support such nonsense?

User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 23660 times:

The investigation is obviously enormously complex and I think the report tries to make clear that, whatever exactly did cause the reduction in fuel flow, the chances of it happening were miniscule. I also think it's interesting they raise the point that it is unknown whether the problem might affect different aircraft/engine combinations, i.e. not necessarily solely a 777 issue.

Quoting AirNZ (Reply 4):
So does this mean there'll have to backpeddling from those members here who were very quick to blame 'foreign fuel and Chinese crap' without even the tiniest shred of evidence to support such nonsense?

Would hope it would silence the conspiracy theorists who are still banging on about the aircraft running out of fuel  Yeah sure , but I doubt it.

Incidentally if anyone wants a good laugh, try this, the, ahem, 'truth about BA038': http://ba038.terapad.com/



Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3787 posts, RR: 29
Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 23568 times:



Quoting AirNZ (Reply 4):
So does this mean there'll have to backpeddling from those members here who were very quick to blame 'foreign fuel and Chinese crap' without even the tiniest shred of evidence to support such nonsense?

I haven't read the report, but bad fuel could have helped the Icing, correct?


User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21589 posts, RR: 59
Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 23512 times:



Quoting AirNZ (Reply 4):
So does this mean there'll have to backpeddling from those members here who were very quick to blame 'foreign fuel and Chinese crap' without even the tiniest shred of evidence to support such nonsense?

Contaminated/improperly mixed fuel leading to a higher freezing point still seems like a likely partial cause, combined with unprecedented cold temps in flight last winter.

Since they "don't know how the ice formed" I am not going to rule out contamination at this point, because for those who have actually dealt with China and contaminated products/production "short cuts," it's still not out of the question.

There were those of us who were dismissed about the ice to begin with, that it was "impossible" and such, despite it being the simplest and physically most obvious answer, so are those mia culpas coming any time soon? I doubt it.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineSmeg From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 23512 times:

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 6):
I haven't read the report, but bad fuel could have helped the Icing, correct?

Well...... in the report....... they make it very clear that the fuel was up to spec!

Just heard on the BBC that the FAA are issuing an airworthiness directive with regards to "procedures" that will need to be changed. - No other info yet.

(althought it could have something to do with the fact that according to the report, this flight was "unique" due to the fact that combined with the very low temp, there was no real request for large throttle increases from in the cruise until the very last stages of the flight, and it is thought that this is what dislodged the ice)

[Edited 2008-09-04 08:13:26]

[Edited 2008-09-04 08:26:49]

User currently offlineCJAContinental From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 459 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 23436 times:



Quoting HAMAD (Reply 1):
so does that mean that the pilot will go back to flying after what happened

The captain and FO received the silver gilt medal BA safety medal, the highest award offered apparently. So I presume if he wants to fly again, he shouldn't have a problem.



Work Hard/Fly Right.
User currently offlineMoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4089 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 23365 times:



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 7):

There were those of us who were dismissed about the ice to begin with, that it was "impossible" and such, despite it being the simplest and physically most obvious answer, so are those mia culpas coming any time soon? I doubt it.

I was one of the nay sayers about the whole ice thing (and contamination), and I stand by my previous comments - for the exact same thing to hit both engines within seconds of each other at the end of a very long flight is extremely long odds, bordering on impossible.

Despite how close to spec an aircraft is built, one side is not a mirror image of the other, initial conditions at the start of the flight would not have been identical (non-identical amounts of fuel in each tank et al) and conditions during the flight on both sides are close, but not identical - so I stand by my previous comments.


User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3787 posts, RR: 29
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 23288 times:



Quoting Smeg (Reply 8):

Well...... in the report....... they make it very clear that the fuel was up to spec!

Ok that pretty much rules out that the fuel itself was contributing the problem  Wink


User currently offlineSmeg From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 23183 times:

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 11):

- Not a problem!

To be honest, it is all a little confusing. They say that the fuel was up to spec, and tested its icing and waxing properties - all was OK. They tested the amount of water in the fuel and found that this was well within limits. They basically say that all was well in the world and a safe landing should have resulted.

But, they then say that due to the pump cavitation, Ice was the most likely candidate. They are essentially saying that it was the circumstances of this flight that caused the problem. (As I said earlier, the cold temps combined with few throttle increases and no large throttle increases from the cruise until the last stages of the flight)

Quoted from page 17 of the report

"It is therefore clear that the fuel temperatures experienced during the accident flight were low, but were not unique, with other flights experiencing lower temperatures.

Analysis of fuel flow from the 13,000 flights shows that 10% had fuel flows less than 10,000 pph during step climbs (the accident flight did not exceed 8,896 pph), and 10% had had fuel flows greater than 10,000 pph during the approach phase (the accident flight was greater than 12,000 pph). Although these were not unique, they were at the edge of family for the data analysed. However, when analysed in conjunction with the fuel temperature data above, all of these factors make this flight unusual within the 13,000 flights analysed."

[Edited 2008-09-04 08:45:38]

[Edited 2008-09-04 08:52:34]

User currently offlineBoeing747_600 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1295 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 23101 times:



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 7):
Since they "don't know how the ice formed" I am not going to rule out contamination at this point, because for those who have actually dealt with China and contaminated products/production "short cuts," it's still not out of the question.

Well, if you had bothered to read upto at least Page 10 of the report, you would have come across the following paragraph:

Following the accident, 66 fuel samples were taken from the aircraft and the engines. A number of these samples were tested and critical properties such as the freezing point, density, flash point, viscosity, contamination, fuel additives and presence of water were tested against DEF STAN 91‑91 and ASTM D1655 requirements2. The fuel samples complied fully with the fuel specifications for Jet A‑1. Additional tests were carried out to detect any unusual components that would not normally be found in aviation turbine fuels. No evidence of contamination was found. The water solubility, which is the fuel’s ability to absorb and release water, was considered to be normal.
The properties of the sampled fuel were also consistent with the parameters recorded in the quality assurance certificate for the bulk fuel loaded onto G‑YMMM at Beijing.
The fuel sampled from G‑YMMM was compared with 1,245 batches of Jet A‑1 tested in the UK during 2007. With regard to the distillation range, which is the boiling range of the fuel, the fuel from G‑YMMM was approximately in the middle of the sampled range. The freezing point of the fuel sampled from G‑YMMM was ‑57°C (‑71°F), which was slightly below the average freezing point but within the normal range for Jet A‑1.

Speculation is fine - Nothing can be ruled out until an investigation is complete. But once credible information is published, it behooves the proponent of any sort of speculation to catch up with established facts.


User currently offlineReadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3367 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 23025 times:

The line in the report says a lot.
"This accident remains an enormous challenge for the investigation team."

We are not at the end of the line yet. Thanks to a great crew and some luck no one died.
We will have to wait longer for the 100% answer.



you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlineBeany From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 181 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 23007 times:



Quoting HAMAD (Reply 1):
so does that mean that the pilot will go back to flying after what happened, as in some other thread a while ago someone reported that he was not flying for some reason

Both the Captain and First Officer have been back flying for a while. The First Officer has been flying longer though.


User currently offlineOkie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3190 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 22898 times:

From what I read the ice accumulation was between the low pressure pump and the FOHE.

The solution may be to move the FOHE closer to the low pressure pumps. Sounds like a lot of plumbing. It would be interesting to know the diferences between manufactures on the fuel lines between the low pressure pump and the FOHE.

Okie


User currently offlineTristarSteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 4073 posts, RR: 33
Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 21713 times:

Well I have read the whole report. I am pleased that they have issued a report so early in the investigation, even though they can't really explain how it happened. lets hope that there will be a final report later when all the testing has been completed.
The safety recommendations at the end will cause a lot of people a lot of work.
I expect the FAA will issue rulings that the engines must be throttled up to high powers at intervals during the descent stage.


User currently offlineYellowtail From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 6358 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 21628 times:



Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 17):
I expect the FAA will issue rulings that the engines must be throttled up to high powers at intervals during the descent stage.

Not god for those decent fuel conservation measures...



When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No-one has ever collided with the sky.
User currently offlineSmeg From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 21488 times:



Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 17):
I expect the FAA will issue rulings that the engines must be throttled up to high powers at intervals during the descent stage.

I agree, that and I would also not be surprised to see temporary altitude limits in very unusual/very cold air temps to keep the aircraft in slightly warmer air.


User currently offlineOldAeroGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3606 posts, RR: 66
Reply 20, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 20959 times:



Quoting Moo (Reply 10):
initial conditions at the start of the flight would not have been identical (non-identical amounts of fuel in each tank et al)

At the start of a flight, the difference in the amount of fuel in the main tanks will be nearly indentical when expressed as a percentage of the total fuel in each tank.

Quoting Moo (Reply 10):
for the exact same thing to hit both engines within seconds of each other at the end of a very long flight is extremely long odds, bordering on impossible.

Given an identical fuel source on the ground and since left and right main tanks, fuel system plumbing and engines are nearly identical and have been under the same flight conditions, I don't think that similar behavior from each system is so surprising.

Can you give a statistical explanation as to why you think it's impossible?



Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
User currently offlineOldtimer From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2006, 191 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 20332 times:



Quoting Moo (Reply 10):
I was one of the nay sayers about the whole ice thing (and contamination), and I stand by my previous comments

As I guess you are not an experienced AAIB inspector or a technician with experience in fuel supplies and their problems, I will put my faith in the AAIB and the many manhours they already have, and will continue to have in solving this problem

Oldtimer



Oldtimer, I should have known better!
User currently offlineOa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27339 posts, RR: 60
Reply 22, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 20293 times:

BBC Video item here ::

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7598803.stm

Certainly a tough investigation.


User currently offlineMoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4089 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 20294 times:



Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 20):
At the start of a flight, the difference in the amount of fuel in the main tanks will be nearly indentical when expressed as a percentage of the total fuel in each tank.

Note the word 'nearly' - 'nearly' in the context we are discussing can be quite a lot.

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 20):

Given an identical fuel source on the ground and since left and right main tanks, fuel system plumbing and engines are nearly identical and have been under the same flight conditions, I don't think that similar behavior from each system is so surprising.

But we aren't talking about similar behaviour, now are we? We are talking about the exact same issue manifesting itself in two separate and essentially independent systems within seconds of each other.

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 20):
Can you give a statistical explanation as to why you think it's impossible?

I can't give you one that would pass a PhD or whatever, all I can do is voice my concerns.

I'm not posing any conspiracy theory here, I don't think alien interference made it crash, or Bush tried to kill an Iranian deep undercover spy or whatever, so don't consider my comments with that in mind.

What I am saying is this, and maybe you can see why I have doubts:

No two systems are identical, even with aviation tolerances.

No two engines are identical, even with aviation tolerances - each engine has different wear on it, both engines on an aircraft are rarely operated completely in sync their entire lives. This means no support systems for the engines are identical, all the different parts have their own wear and tear rates and levels.

No two fuel tanks are identical - engines consume slightly different amounts of fuel each, meaning fuel rate in each tank is similar but not identical. This means the fuel mix in each tank is slightly different, the dirt levels in each tank are slightly different etc etc.

The conditions over each wing, and thus over each wing tank, are not identical - the sun does not stay at 12 o'clock over the aircraft for the entire time, air does not flow 100% uniformally over both wings, the wind does not stay dead centre head on or tail on 100% during the entire flight.

Conditions in both tanks are different throughout the flight. Conditions on the support systems for both tanks are different throughout the flight. Conditions on the engines are different throughout the flight.

And yet we are talking about identical issues manifesting themselves in both systems within seconds of each other after a 4,400nm flight. Identical problems in essentially independent systems.

Tell me, how many times have there been incidents in aviation which has affected both independent engines at essentially the same time that turned out to be the same issue occuring independently in both systems?

Thats why I have my doubts. I still think theres a central cause to this.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 19961 times:



Quoting Okie (Reply 16):
From what I read the ice accumulation was between the low pressure pump and the FOHE.

What's a FOHE?



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
25 OldAeroGuy : There are several. Volcanic ash encounters are one. Another, and by far the most numerous, is running out of fuel. Although this is not the cause of
26 KELPkid : Well, I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything of the sort, but, ahem, the aircraft did crash due to fuel starvation (the engines were starved of fu
27 OldAeroGuy : Fuel-Oil Heat Exchanger
28 Moo : And you chose both examples where there was a direct external factor, not the same event manifesting itself internally in both independent systems at
29 ElbowRoom : Having read the report, there seem to be two common factors which could have affected both engines: 1. Both were powered up more strongly about 30 se
30 ROSWELL41 : I wonder if Boeing is going to require the PRIST additive to the B777 fuel. For those interested in fuel system icing, research the issues Raytheon/Be
31 Cumulus : Water in contaminated fuel, feasible. Although there is a water content in Jet fuel anyway.[Edited 2008-09-04 12:54:08]
32 KELPkid : The airlines might raise Cain over that one...I'm sure the cost of treating a 777-200LR load worth of fuel with Prist would probably be expensive (a
33 OldAeroGuy : Yet the accident here was also likely caused by external factors. 1) Water in the fuel at accepted levels. 2) Freezing of that water due to enroute t
34 Stitch : I'm not familiar with a 777's fuel distribution system, but is it conceivable a blockage further "upstream" could have starved both engines? Perhaps b
35 AAN777AN : Identical issues, yes. But as you admit, not manifesting themselves at exactly the same time. Is it not possible that the variations you highlight in
36 LHR27C : Sure you aren't being a touch pedantic? If you want to me to rephrase it, when I said "running out of fuel" I meant: "insufficient fuel in the tanks
37 NA : Well, Convertibles and Triple Sevens, they are just built for the summer. Btw, is the wreck still existing or have they scrapped it?
38 Sandyb123 : The BBC news just mentioned that BA has issued a directive to make the engines run at full power whilst in the cruise??? What does that mean? Engine s
39 KELPkid : Perhaps. I've been accused of that before My point precisely-I don't think 99% of the public knows (or cares to know) the difference between fuel sta
40 VV701 : Saw it at LHR on Monday but its tail was removed sometime ago.
41 Post contains links and images VV701 : Still looked like this on Monday: View Large View MediumPhoto © Savvas Petoussis
42 KELPkid : Thanks
43 TWAL1011727 : Some if not all MD80s were fitted with heater blankets in the fuel tanks to preclude icing on the top of the wings. Granted this was for temps basical
44 WAH64D : I agree entirely. Not the fuel, no way, no how. Hundreds of aircraft got Jet A-1 from PEK that day. Tens of aircraft flew PEK to western europe on th
45 Patches : I may have missed this, but was the BA 777 written off? Sorry If I did miss if it was or wasnt.
46 Tdscanuck : Sort of. Water content in fuel is technically "bad" but it's expected and the airplane is supposed to deal with it (that's why there's a water scaven
47 Pellegrine : Haven't you been around here long enough to know that people like to speculate on silliness? Perhaps the ice did not come from the fuel at all. Readi
48 CURLYHEADBOY : Written off, unfortunately it was assessed as damaged beyond economical repair.
49 Stitch : I kinda figured it was like that, based on what I had learned about how the A330's system worked... So we have a dual common point of failure in two
50 Bond007 : I don't disagree with the opinion that the fuel itself was not to blame, but it's illogical to surmise that just because hundreds of other aircraft t
51 AirNZ : Not from me because I wasn't one of them. However, I would fully agree with Moo on this, so we'll see. I also hope that the same mia culpas also come
52 Bond007 : Well, there weren't too many folks that blamed the pilots, but too many that declared them as 'heroes' before anyone, AAIB included, had any clue wha
53 EMA747 : I may be wrong but I remember reading that the 777 had a fuel ice detector. Is this the case and if so why did it not pick up on the build up of ice i
54 OldAeroGuy : There is a water detector on the maintenance read out, but no fuel ice detector. You may be getting confused because there is a wing ice detector tha
55 TristarSteve : And this water detector only measures water sitting on the tank bottom, i.e. water that has separated from the fuel. The report mainly talks about di
56 Mpsrent : I have absolutely no expertise in aviation engines or fuel. I do have extensive expertise with snowmobiles, their engines and fuel systems and the eff
57 Mir : To expand on this, the FOHE is the system that is used to heat the fuel prior to the fuel going to the engine. The hot engine oil is cooled by the fu
58 EMA747 : If there was some water in the fuel would it not make for a no-normal fuel burn? Or will the engine burn fuel with a little water in it without any ef
59 TristarSteve : We are not talking about a lot of water. The Fuel Metering Valve on the engine is opened by the FADEC to increase thrust. The FADEC then measures the
60 Jetlagged : Presumably they wouldn't run at max continuous for very long, so the speed change would not be great. I should have thought they would be better off
61 777DEN : the problem is in descent you need minimum thrust to avoid overspeed. In the 777 like most modern jets you can "go down or go slow". usually your rate
62 Tdscanuck : Nothing is foolproof, but FSII (Fuel System Icing Inhibitor) is pretty good. It's not normally used for commercial operations though. Not unless you
63 Smeg : 2 questions. 1 - How much additive are we talking about with regards to 777 full tanks. What would that do to the overall cost of fuel? Is it hugely e
64 LHR27C : The new procedures introduced by BA a few weeks ago for 777 Ops are related to step climbs. In the past (and on BA38) step climbs would generally be
65 SXI899 : I'd be interested in how long it would have taken for the ice that was present at the time of the thrust rollback to have melted, and allowed the fuel
66 Tdscanuck : Normal concentration is 0.10 to 0.15%. So a full 777 fuel load (-200ER) would need about 45-68 gallons. It works out to about $0.03/gallon of fuel (h
67 JetMech : The LP fuel pump and FOHE are both engine mounted components, so it would not be too hard to move them closer to each other if need be. Interestingly
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