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UA Flight Delayed: Missing Crash Axe  
User currently offlineQualityDr From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 117 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 9142 times:

I flew from Hong Kong to Chicago on UA 896 on Friday, 31 July, and we had a truly bizarre experience trying to leave. Seems someone misplaced the crash axe.

We loaded the plane, then we sat around for a while. No announcements, no nothing. We had been looking at an on-time departure (12:45 PM local), but it was clear we were going to be a bit late out of the gate.

Silly me. A little late doesn't begin to catch the essence of it all...

Finally word came over the intercom: "Please gather all your personal belongings and deplane." We began that process, then the purser came on the horn to explain why we were leaving the aircraft. They couldn't find the crash axe. Not in its designated location in the cockpit, not anywhere else. So off we went!

With every seat booked, there was a sea of humanity idling near the gate when I got off. We waited nearly an hour as they searched the plane, bit by bit. No axe. So they started the reboarding process.

We were asked to remove our shoes, and then we underwent full bag checks and hand-wanding, as there are no permanent security scanners at the gate. A very slow process! We finally all got back to our seats, settled, and we took off. About three hours late. I don't know how much chaos that caused with missed connections, etc., although I didn't make my connection to AUS.

How could a flight operations load a whole 747-400 with passengers and baggage, and THEN notice the crash axe is missing? Seems to me that particular piece of gear ought to be one of the first things looked for on a checklist, if it's required. In any case, why have us take off our shoes to reboard? Any chance the crash axe is that small?  Silly


All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. -- Mark Twain
7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7557 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 9124 times:



Quoting QualityDr (Thread starter):
How could a flight operations load a whole 747-400 with passengers and baggage, and THEN notice the crash axe is missing? Seems to me that particular piece of gear ought to be one of the first things looked for on a checklist, if it's required. In any case, why have us take off our shoes to reboard?

Its on the checklist for pilots to check for, however, most likely they don't even begin that checklist until well into the boarding process...



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26021 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 8961 times:

Not the first, nor the last time such will happen.

A few years back, I was involved in a delay where the ramp staff used the axe to help wedge a cargo pallet, and forgot to return it. (was left sitting on the ramp equipment).

Took quite a delay till we could procure one from another airline, as its not your typical item for which spares are stocked.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineBrouAviation From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 985 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 8656 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):

Took quite a delay till we could procure one from another airline, as its not your typical item for which spares are stocked.

I can be wrong, but the lack of the axe isn't a that big problem? I think the main problem is they don't know where it is, so maybe somebody on board might have stolen it with malafide intentions.

Of course I can be wrong.



Never ask somebody if he's a pilot. If he is, he will let you know soon enough!
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21797 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 8632 times:



Quoting BrouAviation (Reply 3):
I can be wrong, but the lack of the axe isn't a that big problem?

If there should be a crash, and you needed to cut someone free of debris or something, it would definitely be a big problem. Thus, it's a required item for flight.

It would be like saying a malfunctioning evacuation slide isn't that big of a problem - sure, there's a 99.9% chance you won't need it, but it's for the .1% of the time that you really want to have it around.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineBrouAviation From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 985 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 8616 times:



Quoting Mir (Reply 4):

If there should be a crash, and you needed to cut someone free of debris or something, it would definitely be a big problem. Thus, it's a required item for flight.

It would be like saying a malfunctioning evacuation slide isn't that big of a problem - sure, there's a 99.9% chance you won't need it, but it's for the .1% of the time that you really want to have it around.

Well, clearly his story tells that they were searching the passengers and plane prior to reboarding. And I guess just getting a new axe is way easier, so I guess they were afraid of the axe falling in the hands of a malafide person.

Of course you have a point too, I just was wondering if somebody could validate my theory.



Never ask somebody if he's a pilot. If he is, he will let you know soon enough!
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26021 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 8388 times:

In my story, the axe is parts of ships equipment and was required for dispatch, hence the search for a replacement.

This UA case however probably also took on a concern of a passenger possibly having taken or found it, which obviously would be a security issue having a weapon in the cabin.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineGT4EZY From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2007, 1800 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8036 times:

It is called a crash axe but it's more common use would be for prizing panels away when fighting an onboard fire. Therefore, it is an important piece of equipment.


Proud to fly from Manchester!
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