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SV MD11 Birdstrike & Fuel Dump At BRU On 23/06/02?  
User currently offlineEstablished02 From Belgium, joined Jan 2002, 536 posts, RR: 1
Posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 4046 times:

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Photo © Peter D. Baumgartner


On sunday afternoon (14:30) I saw an SV MD11 on descent heading for (I think) RWY 20 at BRU. Nothing special so far, even though the rest of the traffic was following the regular approach pattern for 25L/R. However what caught my attention about this particular plane were the two trails of "substance” coming out from two identical points somewhere near the middle of each wing. It looked like this "substance" was discarded under pressure, so I started to speculate whether this observed phenomena was just innocent condensation or whether it might be a fuel dump. But why would Saudia want to get rid of expensive kerosine above scenic villages like St. Katelijne Waver, Hofstade, Zemst,…?

I mentioned my observations to a fellow member of Airliners.net (who has the right connections at BRU) and he could get a confirmation from Saudia that last sunday one of their MD11’s (HZ-ANB) was indeed forced to return to BRU after 20 minutes in the flight. The plane had a fire in one of the engines after encountering a birdstrike. So the pilot decided to return to BRU for an emergency landing. It could be that the pilot had no time left to fly to a designated area (e.g. the North Sea or the Foret des Soignes) to go and dump the excessive amount of fuel over there. Therefore the pilot may have preferred (speculation!) to dump some of the fuel above agricultural / residential / nature area in North Brabant in order to loose weight and land as quick as possible.

Did somebody else witness what happened with this plane after it had landed at BRU?

Kind regards,


6 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3998 times:

Thanks for this very interesting information Established02!!!

Did you see an intervention of the firebrigade once it was landed?

Best regards,

User currently offlineEstablished02 From Belgium, joined Jan 2002, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3966 times:

Hello Sabena 690,

I was in Mechelen when I saw this plane passing by. So I don't know what happened at the airport upon arrival. I guess it must be a general procedure to mobilise the fire department whenever this kind of incident occurs.

I'm wondering how soon SV could find a spare engine to replace the damaged one and to get the plane back in the air again. They probably had to fly in another engine from Saudi-Arabia.


User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3962 times:

They probably had to fly in another engine from Saudi-Arabia.

Because it was in Brussels, isn't Sabena Technics the one which repairs the aircraft?

I don't think that a new engine has to come from Saudi-Arabia, there must be places in Europe were there are new motors available.

Like in Zurich maybe, for the MD11's of Swissair, there have to be new engines. If they are from the same type, maybe they can get an engine from there, I don't know.


User currently offlineBobcat From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3910 times:

I was on a United flight from NRT to SIN about two years ago. 20 minutes after take-off, the captain came on the intercom and told us we had to return to NRT because the landing gear door(or the gear itself) couldn't be retracted. He said those seated in window seats near the wing should not be concerned about the fuel being ejected from the wings. He said it was necessary to relieve the plane of fuel weight for the landing. I was in the upper deck and decided to move downstairs for a better view.(I've never seen a mid-air fuel dump in person) It was a spectacular sight.

As we approached land again, the area was surrounded by a rather strong thunderstorm. There were many lightning as well. As the fuel was still being dumped, I wondered if the electrical charge from the lightning could possibly ignite the jet fuel... ???

When the plane landed, we were whisked into the gate area while the plane was being inspected. One of the pilots(possibly a relief pilot) was hanging around the area so I asked him where the jet fuel went when dumped in mid-air. He said 99% should be evaporated and whatever little remained was over the ocean.

User currently offline744rules From Belgium, joined Mar 2002, 408 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3842 times:

I don't think the engine had to be replaced. HZANB was fully operational 25jun.

BTW Lufthansa Technik takes care of SV maintenance in BRU

User currently offlineEstablished02 From Belgium, joined Jan 2002, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3761 times:

Hello again,

Another dedicated A.net reader told me a few more points about the SV birdstrike on 23/06/02.

After the birdstrike there were a few little flames and a possible danger of fire.

The plane had taken off at 14:20 from RWY 25R heading straight over Brussels, followed by a turn left towards the "Forest des Soignes" (a large forest in the south east of Brussels) where it could dump a (first?) load of fuel. Then the plane was directed further to Huldenberg, followed by another left turn, while dumping a further amount of fuel, and then cleared to land again on RWY 25R.

In the meantime a Sea King helicopter of the Belgian Army had been scrambled to provide assistance.

At 14:40 the plane was again safe and well on the ground with only minor engine damage.

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Photo © Pieter Declerck

RWY 25R may have been closed for 30 minutes, with traffic taking off on RWY 20 during that time.

The incident may have received little or no attention in the media. There was probably no need for this indeed. The danger of a birdstrike is inevitable and the potential consequences of it are a daily concern for all pilots and airports.

However, this event coincides a bit with the reports of the "ombudsman" of the airport, who has been performing nightly sound checks at various places around the airport, where traffic passes by. Some residents in several parts of the region are currently nervous and resentful about increased (nightly) air traffic above their houses. A large part of the air traffic has recently been rerouted over the suburbs, in order to protect the agglomeration of Brussels from noise pollution. Considering this, it might be wiser indeed not to frighten some worried souls even more with wild stories in the newspapers about a little bird striking an engine.  Wink/being sarcastic

> Bobcat: ... He said 99% should be evaporated

Can fuel evaporate so quickly?

The SV MD11 was dumping fuel from about 2000 feet.

It would take normal rain drops perhaps a dozen of seconds before they would reach the ground from that height.

Airplanes probably discard the fuel such that the liquid is immediately dispersed into vapours as soon as it leaves the plane. These vapours are then probably carried away by the wind and the turbulence of the engine wake. So that makes it pretty harmless, I guess. Otherwise there might have been nice fireworks at those gardens with the BBQ on.  Big grin

Kind regards,


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