"An Egyptair Airbus A321-200, registration SU-GBU performing flight MS-732 from Berlin Schoenefeld (Germany) to Cairo (Egypt), descended from FL330 to FL200 and returned to Berlin Schoenefeld after a left cockpit window cracked over Slovakia near Bratislava. The airplane landed safely about 2 hours after takeoff."
Wouldn't it have been safer to divert to Bratislava?
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DogBreath From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 251 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2827 times:
Quoting Warren84 (Reply 2): Wouldn't it have been safer to divert to Bratislava?
Without any accurate facts to base comments on, why should they divert to Bratislava? What was the weather at Bratislava at the time? What releveant NOTAMS were in force at the time of the divert (ie. is the airfield closed for works, is the ILS out of service)? What is the exact nature of their window problem? Does their Emergency-Non Normal Checklist state, 'Land at the nearest suitable airfield'? What maintenance and ground handling facilities are there at Bratislava for Egyptair? Is it better to return to their departure airfield where they have maintenance, ground handling? They know the weather and state of the airfield at Berlin?
To a layman a cracked window in the flightdeck may seem like a cracked window in your car, but that is far from the truth. Not all cracked windows are an emergency situation. Aircraft flightdeck windows are made up of (usually) two thick panes of glass bonded to a vinyl core and is about 3 inches thick. The windows are then heated which gives added strength and anti-icing properties. Depending on the location of the window and the number (and location) of cracked panes, they can sustain cracking without losing complete integrity (ie. complete failure).
I can only 'assume' (as I have no actual facts) that in this case if the aircraft descended from FL330 to FL 200 then the cracked window in question wasn't in a critical location or may have been only one pane cracked. Who knows? If I had made the decision to divert, and fuel wasn't a probelm, I'd descend also, even if it's not required by the checklist.
Also for info, diverting an aircraft is an extremely time consuming process. Again it's not like driving down the Motorway and deciding that you'll take the next exit and stop at the next service station. Being overhead an airfield such as Bratislava (in this case) at FL330 doesn't necessarily mean it's the best divert option. We don't descent vertically, it takes many track miles to descend from 33,000 feet and an airfield 100-120 miles away may be the best option. Once you decide to divert, you need to liaise with ATC for the lastest weather and NOTAMS, rummage through the NAV Bag, and gather the relevant Jeppensen airfield plates (sounds easy but it's not), configure the FMC, liaise with Company for ground handling, pax handling, maintenance, fuel, etc., brief the cabin crew and passengers, brief each other and execute the plan. A return to the departure field (in this case a 1 hour leg) seems like the most likely decision to make.
Again as I said above, I don't have all the 'facts' of this issue, but it seems to me that they made a sound decision.
PanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 8345 posts, RR: 26 Reply 5, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2726 times:
That's why I challenged BTS.
VIE however does have all what they need, the technical base of an A321 operator, large airport with all the facilities which its it already 2 points ahead of SXF. VIE is served by MS, whch means they have a station there..... .