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Surviving Disaster  
User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15729 posts, RR: 26
Posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 5709 times:

Last night I caught the last bit of Surviving Disaster on Spike TV. The scenario was an airliner hijacking with both pilots incapacitated. Some of the advice was good, like counting seatbacks to the exit, which people should do anyway, but a few things struck me as not being correct.

1. They said that landing with too much fuel is bad because the wings could flex down and strike the ground. This is one of the smaller hazards with an overweight landing, but isn't snapping the landing gear off a little big more worrisome? Not to mention that a non-pilot landing a plane should be done with a minimum of flammable fuel on board.

2. Their method of losing the fuel was to simply lower the gear. Wouldn't even a non-pilot (with guidance) be able to dump fuel? Plus, just lowering the gear for the last few minutes probably wouldn't burn off enough fuel, and a novice pilot could damage the landing gear if they lowered it at too high of a speed.

3. The advice on getting to the cockpit was to change the COM radio to 121.5. While this is OK advice, the plane would already probably be in contact with someone. Wouldn't a better course of action be to turn on (if the hijackers turned it off) the transponder and squawk either 7500 or 7700 as necessary?

Ordinarily I'd pass this off as being just a TV show for entertainment, but they say that this is actual sound advice that should be followed in such a situation.


Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSwiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 5668 times:

Didn't see the program, but in general:

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
This is one of the smaller hazards with an overweight landing, but isn't snapping the landing gear off a little big more worrisome?

Not really. Non pilot flying, little or poor understanding of basic landing technique, let alone the differences in a large jet = a good chance of damange anyway, regardless of overweight or not.

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
Their method of losing the fuel was to simply lower the gear

This DOES make a/c hugely innefficnent, compared to gear up.

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
Wouldn't even a non-pilot (with guidance) be able to dump fuel?

Maybe, but depends how the authorities wanted to play the emergency. Fuel dump may still require flight to a safe, over water area. Hard to say for sure, even in an emergency.

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
. Wouldn't a better course of action be to turn on (if the hijackers turned it off) the transponder and squawk either 7500 or 7700 as necessary?

It would be 7500 in this case.

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
The advice on getting to the cockpit was to change the COM radio to 121.5. While this is OK advice, the plane would already probably be in contact with someone

Again, depends on the situation. I presume the program was looking at a generic situation. In a lot of cases 121.5 will be on COM2 anyway, but if in a remote or a non controlled area, it would be a good choice to use to transmit on. I would recommend remaining on existing frequency and transmitting first, speaking in plain english (not attempting R/T language and risking getting it wrong). Then trying 121.5 if no response.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 5632 times:

I saw the show and thought it was pretty entertaining. The cabin aspect seemed to be on point. The tactics of subduing your enemy, etc. The cockpit version; well the wing flex thing got me too but then again, when speaking in layman's, you generally want to bring across the most simple point. However, as we all know, there are cases were there is no time to dump fuel and there have been many, many landings were the a/c returned to the field immediately after take-off. Obviously, a though MTC check would follow. Then again, it's trained cockpit crew that's flying, not a non-pilot or someone with zero experience.


What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 5610 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
Wouldn't even a non-pilot (with guidance) be able to dump fuel?

Not all planes have fuel dump capability, specially when talking narrowbodies.

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
Plus, just lowering the gear for the last few minutes probably wouldn't burn off enough fuel

Oh yes it will. And if you dump flaps and pop up the spoilers you'll have plenty more drag to keep those engines running at high speeds burning lots of fuel without gaining much airspeed.

Of course, I wouldn't trust some random John Doe who just watched that program to land the plane.

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
but they say that this is actual sound advice that should be followed in such a situation.

Sounds like they are right for the most part.


User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 5610 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
1. They said that landing with too much fuel is bad because the wings could flex down and strike the ground. This is one of the smaller hazards with an overweight landing, but isn't snapping the landing gear off a little big more worrisome?

The landing gear is supposed to snap off in order to protect the wing, if the landing loads are too high. It's all about keeping the fuel contained. With an intact airplane, a post-crash fire is more likely to kill you than a hard landing, so minimizing that danger should be the priority. Even if the gear does come off, it's supposed to do it in a way that doesn't violate wing integrity.

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
2. Their method of losing the fuel was to simply lower the gear. Wouldn't even a non-pilot (with guidance) be able to dump fuel?

The issues is that fuel dump capability and operation is very aircraft specific, while gear-down is essentially the same on all of them. A non-pilot with guidance could dump fuel if talked through it by a knowledgeable person, but there'd be a fairly high risk of accidentally hitting the wrong buttons while you're working the overhead panel. It would be very difficult to screw up dropping the gear.

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
Plus, just lowering the gear for the last few minutes probably wouldn't burn off enough fuel, and a novice pilot could damage the landing gear if they lowered it at too high of a speed.

A few minutes won't do much, that's true, but if you're flying "slowly" (which you'd hope you are if you're within a few minutes of landing) you'll be below the gear extension speed anyway.

Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
3. The advice on getting to the cockpit was to change the COM radio to 121.5. While this is OK advice, the plane would already probably be in contact with someone. Wouldn't a better course of action be to turn on (if the hijackers turned it off) the transponder and squawk either 7500 or 7700 as necessary?

I would think both. If you know to squawk 7500, that would be a great action, but if you don't know that somebody needs to tell you, and even if you know to do it you may not know how. If you're not familiar with aircraft, first priority should be to get help (i.e. comm) and 121.5 probably has the highest chance of that.

Tom.


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5302 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Thread starter):
Wouldn't even a non-pilot (with guidance) be able to dump fuel?

There are an awful lot of current passenger aircraft in the air without the capability to dump fuel. It is just not built into many aircraft because of the extremely low potential to need to reduce the weight that way.

A near MTOW landing in an A320 at 170,000 lbs is not a huge percentage over the MLW.

However a near MTOW landing in a B747-400ER at 910,000 lbs is a much higher percentage over the MLW.


User currently offlineDXing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5268 times:

There were a number of items in that show once they gained the cockpit that were in error. The biggest ones I saw? Airports don't have autoland, airplanes do. When the airplane landed they collapsed the left main gear yet the host was still giving steering commands. I have a feeling that the number one engine dragging on the runway would pretty much be the steering component at that point.

As to the fuel, lowering the landing gear 10 minutes out from the airport isn't going to make much of a difference in 65,000lbs which is what they quoted.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 3):
Not all planes have fuel dump capability, specially when talking narrowbodies.

The aircraft they were showing in the computer graphics and the interior shots resembled a 767.


User currently offlineF9fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 696 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5220 times:

OK, I am about to show my (limited) knowledge of flying an airplane, but here are my  twocents 

Quoting DXing (Reply 6):
There were a number of items in that show once they gained the cockpit that were in error. The biggest ones I saw? Airports don't have autoland, airplanes do.

While airplanes do have to have the autoland capabilities, doesn't the airport also have to be configured with the right ILS setup to accommodate autoland, too? Now, in a situation similar to this, I imagine the ATC will try to get the aircraft to the nearest suitable airport with the best combination of autoland capability and the best weather.

As for the squawk codes, I thought the squawk code 7500 (hijack in progress) would communicate that the plane was being hijacked, and the pilot was not free to navigate the airplane wherever the pilot wanted to (i.e. not under "friendly" control). In the case where the passengers overpowered the hijackers to retake control of the aircraft, and with the pilots incapacitated, wouldn't the squawk code of 7700 (general distress) be more appropriate since the plane was now under "friendly" control? That said, I could understand the use of 7500 since that would alert authorities to the situation and to be ready to assist (i.e. show up with handcuffs for the bad guys).

By the way, there was an episode of "Mythbusters" where the two hosts tried to see if someone without flying expierence could (a) land a commercial airliner without assistance and (b) land a plane with ATC guidance. In the episode, they went into a flight simulator (it looked like one for a 777) and tried to land at DEN. One crashed on the runway and the other crashed about ten miles short of DEN. When they had guidance from ATC, both landed safely at DEN with a crosswind thrown in just for fun (and without using the autopilot).


User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5190 times:



Quoting DXing (Reply 6):
Airports don't have autoland, airplanes do.

Both need the capability. An airplane with autoland can't do anything if the airport doesn't have ILS (or GLS). And a top-notch ILS/GLS doesn't do you any good unless the airplane's got a fully coupled autopilot that can talk to the right receivers.

Tom.


User currently offlineSwiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5179 times:



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 8):
An airplane with autoland can't do anything if the airport doesn't have ILS (or GLS)

Specifically a Category III C ILS


User currently offlineDXing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5156 times:



Quoting F9fan (Reply 7):
While airplanes do have to have the autoland capabilities, doesn't the airport also have to be configured with the right ILS setup to accommodate autoland, too?

Yes, but while the aircraft is identified as "autoland" capable, I have yet to ever hear of an airport identified as such. They have, as you described, an ILS, either CAT 1, 2, or 3.

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 8):
Both need the capability.

I doubt that air traffic control would have a novice pilot or just a plain passenger try and land anywhere you wouldn't find the capability if 65,000 lbs of fuel were available. Why land them on anything less than a 8-10 thousand foot piece of concrete with large firefighting capability? Usually when you trip across those they have the equipment needed for an autoland landing.


User currently offlineF9fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 696 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4930 times:



Quoting DXing (Reply 10):
I doubt that air traffic control would have a novice pilot or just a plain passenger try and land anywhere you wouldn't find the capability if 65,000 lbs of fuel were available. Why land them on anything less than a 8-10 thousand foot piece of concrete with large firefighting capability? Usually when you trip across those they have the equipment needed for an autoland landing.

They would for a critical medical emergency, which in this scenario they had (the co-pilot with the sucking chest wound). You also had the four hijackers that needed to be taken into custody ASAP.

One thing that did surprise me is that the flight attendants didn't take a more aggressive role in the aftermath of the passengers taking back control of the plane.


User currently offlineChrisjw From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4861 times:

They have an hour to tell a person with little to no aviation experience, other than seats and tray tables in the upright and locked position, how to regain control of a hijacked aircraft and fly it safely to the ground.

I watched the show and I would say that the advice they gave was pretty sound advice.

Also trying to vector someone with no knowledge of stall speeds or altitude for a nice chunk of time waiting for fuel to burn off could possibly create more problems than it solves.

One thing I did notice was that the host used 'Over' to end each transmission when talking to ATC like he was a truck driver with a CB radio.


User currently offlineDXing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4748 times:



Quoting F9fan (Reply 11):
They would for a critical medical emergency, which in this scenario they had (the co-pilot with the sucking chest wound). You also had the four hijackers that needed to be taken into custody ASAP.

So for one person who is already injured you'd divert to the nearest field, which might be considerably shorter although within the envelope of the aircraft with a competent pilot on board and take the chance of creating dozens more? The hijackers were a non issue by that point. Secured and sensory deprived any attempt to break free would have been the end of them.

Quoting F9fan (Reply 11):
One thing that did surprise me is that the flight attendants didn't take a more aggressive role in the aftermath of the passengers taking back control of the plane.

I did chuckle at the way the host was telling them what to do. That took guts!

Quoting Chrisjw (Reply 12):
One thing I did notice was that the host used 'Over' to end each transmission when talking to ATC like he was a truck driver with a CB radio.

He's ex-military so its just habit. I will say though that on the occasions when I have had to communicate to an aircraft on a HF voice link I have used "over" many times since the quality of the link was so poor due to atmospherics and such.


User currently offlineChuchoteur From France, joined Sep 2006, 763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4684 times:



Quoting Swiftski (Reply 9):
Specifically a Category III C ILS

Cat IIIC?
I thought the max used today was IIIB, IIIC being a theoretical concept (that may become reality with GLS/GBAS) due to lack of precise positioning information once you've gone past the ILS array?

I may be wrong of course.

Ref autoland in actual fact you can do an autoland on any runway with ILS, depending on the lighting available on the runway and other airport equippage your decision altitude will then vary, as far as I understand.


User currently offlineSwiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3643 times:



Quoting Chuchoteur (Reply 14):

Cat IIIC?
I thought the max used today was IIIB, IIIC being a theoretical concept (that may become reality with GLS/GBAS) due to lack of precise positioning information once you've gone past the ILS array?

Cat B is slightly more restricted, Cat C can provide control along the ground as well, hence it would be desireable in the situation described by the OP. Cat IIIc is the highest quality.

Quoting Chuchoteur (Reply 14):

Ref autoland in actual fact you can do an autoland on any runway with ILS, depending on the lighting available on the runway and other airport equippage your decision altitude will then vary, as far as I understand.

Cat I can automatically capture the ILS but it has to be disengaged for a manual landing at a defined height.

Cat II required two autopilots and Cat III requires 3.


User currently offlineChuchoteur From France, joined Sep 2006, 763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3464 times:



Quoting Swiftski (Reply 15):
Cat B is slightly more restricted, Cat C can provide control along the ground as well, hence it would be desireable in the situation described by the OP. Cat IIIc is the highest quality.

... are there any Cat IIIC operations today?

Quoting Swiftski (Reply 15):
Cat I can automatically capture the ILS but it has to be disengaged for a manual landing at a defined height.

Ref for example Cat I + Autoland on Airbus a/c for GLS approaches, my understanding was that at the DA, if ceiling/vis conditions are met (as well as the approach stabilised etc), they can pursue for an Autoland without disengaging the A/P?


User currently offlineSpudsmac From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 298 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2806 times:



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 4):
The landing gear is supposed to snap off in order to protect the wing, if the landing loads are too high.

You mean like the BA777?  Wink


User currently offlineWildcatYXU From Canada, joined May 2006, 2603 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2522 times:



Quoting F9fan (Reply 7):
In the episode, they went into a flight simulator (it looked like one for a 777) and tried to land at DEN.

I think it was an A330 simulator.


User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 19, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2188 times:



Quoting Swiftski (Reply 9):
Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 8):
An airplane with autoland can't do anything if the airport doesn't have ILS (or GLS)

Specifically a Category III C ILS

Any airplane with Cat II or higher can autoland on any runway with an ILS...the guidance close to the ground might get dodgy, but in an emergency it would certainly work.

Depends

Quoting Swiftski (Reply 15):

Cat B is slightly more restricted, Cat C can provide control along the ground as well, hence it would be desireable in the situation described by the OP. Cat IIIc is the highest quality.

You don't need C to get ground guidance, you'll just get better performance. If the airplane is set up to IIIB or C, you can do a complete autoland including rollout on a Cat I ILS beam.

Quoting Spudsmac (Reply 17):
Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 4):
The landing gear is supposed to snap off in order to protect the wing, if the landing loads are too high.

You mean like the BA777?

Exactly. It punched up through the wing behind the fuel cell and didn't open up the wing tank.

Tom.


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