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Trans Pacific Emergency Airports  
User currently offlineKevin From Canada, joined Dec 2000, 1145 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 14286 times:

During my recent trip from Tokyo to Vancouver the inflight map showed the aircraft flying right above the Pacific with the nearest land being too far. So let's say there is an emergency where would an aircraft land. Aleutian Islands? Do they have the necessary infrustructure?Or can a twin jet make it to US or Canada on one engine?

Very interesting to hear what experts say.

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDenverDanny From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 263 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 14285 times:

Not an expert here, but I was reading about each of the outer Hawaiian Islands recently. Apparently, Midway Island is an emergency landing spot. Could be wrong about that though. Sounded like the airfield there is maintained for that purpose.

User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2565 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 14261 times:

For any overwater flight in a twin-engined aircraft, it is mandatory to have alternate airports within the designated ETOPS range (normally about 3 hours) on one engine. Fuel calculations must allow for diversion to these airports with adequate reserves. For longer flights (like your NRT-YVR, or the HNL-SYD I often fly) there are several planned diversion airports along the way, so that there is at least one within that 3-hour window at all times.

Each of the airports must meet certain requirements for runway length, rescue equipment, and current weather. So the short answer is - no, you aren't stuck at any point in your flight with no place to land in an emergency.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlinePqdtw From Netherlands, joined Aug 2008, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 14104 times:



Quoting DenverDanny (Reply 1):
Not an expert here, but I was reading about each of the outer Hawaiian Islands recently. Apparently, Midway Island is an emergency landing spot. Could be wrong about that though. Sounded like the airfield there is maintained for that purpose.

I had a medical emergency landing back in 1989 on Midway Island working NRT-HNL (or the other way around--can't remember) on the 742. If I remember correctly, there was one runway with no parallel taxiways, and we had to be pushed back all the way down the runway so that we could take off again. I was just in my first few months of flying so I didn't quite understand how strange that emergency landing was at the time. I thought it happened all the time... Wish I had taken pictures and written down more so I could remember the experience all these years later...


User currently offlineChapavaeaa From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 13959 times:

I had a aquaintence that wound up taking nearly six months to visit every single (and I do mean every one) of the potential alternate airports for American Airlines. He visited Pacific islands that only had one flight per week and Russian airports in the winter. Military airports...everything. He had pictures and detailed reports on all of the capabiliities ranging from runway conditons to actual de-icing conditions. He had stories to last him a lifetime. It really wasn't that many airports when it came down to it...the problem was that many of these were so remote they only had service once or twice a week....the scheduling to do all the visits was the really tough part.

User currently offlineATCRick From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 772 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 13937 times:

Wake Island is always on stand-by for any emergency airline operations. I had a chance to go over there a while back (glad I turned it down), and that was one of the job descriptions for people associated with the airfield.


natch!!
User currently offlineAndrew From Singapore, joined Dec 1999, 369 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 13911 times:

Besides the established internation airports such as ANC, FAI and HNL, the other SQ Pacific ETOPS airports are:

Russian:

Magadan (UHMM)

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (UHPP)

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (UHSS),

Khabarovsk (UHHH)


US:

King Salmon (PAKN)

Cold Bay (PACD)

Shemya-Eareckson (PASY)

Midway Atoll (PMDY).


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25652 posts, RR: 22
Reply 7, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 13498 times:



Quoting Andrew (Reply 6):
Cold Bay (PACD)

Shemya-Eareckson (PASY)

Cold Bay and Shemya were common fuel stops on flights to/from Japan in the propeller era. After the USAF closed the Shemya base in the mid-1950s, NW leased it for several years for use as a technical stop in their routes. The military moved back in sometime in the 1960s but it's still available for ETOPS diversions etc. The 10,000 ft. runway was originally built during WWII and was intended for B-29s on bombing runs to Japan but was never used for that purpose.

A China Eastern MD-11 diverted to Shemya in 1993 after an inflight upset that killed 2 passengers and injured many others.
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19930406-2


User currently offlineGentFromAlaska From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3193 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 13366 times:

There are several U.S. Naval vessels which sail from Puget Sound and San Diego to Pearl Harbor.

Several years ago my son asked a similar question to a USAF C5A Galaxy aircraft commander. If a water ditching was imminent they would identify a U.S. Naval vessel, commercial cruise ship or other merchant vessel who participates in the AMVER program and ditch near it.

Depending on how far north you were crossing the pond. I suspect a inflight emergency would be handled by the North Pacific Rescue Coordination Center at EDF Anchorage.

In addition to the islands mentioned above there are airports at Attu Island which is the last island in the Aleutian chain. Kodiak is farther up the chain. Saint Paul island might be another choice. The Coast Guard also does a lot of flying in the north pacific.



Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
User currently offlineArcrftLvr From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 826 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 13292 times:



Quoting Kevin (Thread starter):
Or can a twin jet make it to US or Canada on one engine?

Depends on how far you are from the US or Canada. You may divert to Asia, Russia, etc. It all depends on distance from the closest suitable airport.

Quoting Pqdtw (Reply 3):
pushed back all the way down the runway

Why wouldn't you have back-taxiied? Seems odd to get pushed all the way down the runway.


User currently offlineChapavaeaa From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 13259 times:

Years ago a friend of mine was

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 8):
There are several U.S. Naval vessels which sail from Puget Sound and San Diego to Pearl Harbor.

Several years ago my son asked a similar question to a USAF C5A Galaxy aircraft commander. If a water ditching was imminent they would identify a U.S. Naval vessel, commercial cruise ship or other merchant vessel who participates in the AMVER program and ditch near it.

Depending on how far north you were crossing the pond. I suspect a inflight emergency would be handled by the North Pacific Rescue Coordination Center at EDF Anchorage.

In addition to the islands mentioned above there are airports at Attu Island which is the last island in the Aleutian chain. Kodiak is farther up the chain. Saint Paul island might be another choice. The Coast Guard also does a lot of flying in the north pacific.

Years ago I was on my way into Honolulu from the west coast and a Twin Otter had to ditch due to low fuel. They were only about 200 miles short or so as I recall. They were directed to a freighter or coast guard cutter (I don't remember which) along with a C-130 that circled while they burned off their remaining fuel load. We got to hear a fair amount of it on the "inflight" communciations channel of the entertainment system...three on board...all made it out fine.


User currently offlineCOSPN From Northern Mariana Islands, joined Oct 2001, 1623 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13176 times:

CO 772's have diverted to Midway and Cold Bay in the Past, Runway is fine but for Pax there Gooney Birds to watch and a workers canteen in Midway... and the Cold Bay Comunity Center to hang out awaiting for the "rescue flight"...but the name of the ETOPS game is get on the ground...

User currently offlineMtnWest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2473 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13165 times:
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Quoting ArcrftLvr (Reply 9):

Quoting Pqdtw (Reply 3):
pushed back all the way down the runway

Why wouldn't you have back-taxiied? Seems odd to get pushed all the way down the runway.

Don't know specs, but perhaps r/w not wide enough to accommodate a 747 to turn around. Or positioning of plane prevented it.



"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
User currently offlineSq2ams From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 12384 times:



Quoting ATCRick (Reply 5):
ATCRick From United States, joined Jun 2004, 755 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted Tue Nov 18 2008 08:08:15 your local time (15 hours 43 minutes 45 secs ago) and read 1340 times:


Wake Island is always on stand-by for any emergency airline operations. I had a chance to go over there a while back (glad I turned it down), and that was one of the job descriptions for people associated with the airfield.

All I can say is you missed the time of your life by not going. I spent a year there and although it's remote and you have to attend human being training when you leave and reenter civilization again, it's actually quite busy and is still an active emergency strip for any a/c in trouble. There is no way to describe life on Wake Island, but laid back doesn't even come close. I loved it and tried to go back several times but never made it.


User currently offlineDon81603 From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 1185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 12255 times:



Quoting MtnWest1979 (Reply 12):
Don't know specs, but perhaps r/w not wide enough to accommodate a 747 to turn around. Or positioning of plane prevented it.

From what I recall seeing in the 80's, there is no room to turn a wide body around at the end of the runway. And the runway isn't really all that long, as I recall either.



Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
User currently offlineN104UA From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 917 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 12242 times:

Quoting Chapavaeaa (Reply 4):
I had a aquaintence that wound up taking nearly six months to visit every single (and I do mean every one) of the potential alternate airports for American Airlines. He visited Pacific islands that only had one flight per week and Russian airports in the winter. Military airports...everything. He had pictures and detailed reports on all of the capabiliities ranging from runway conditons to actual de-icing conditions. He had stories to last him a lifetime. It really wasn't that many airports when it came down to it...the problem was that many of these were so remote they only had service once or twice a week....the scheduling to do all the visits was the really tough part.

Did he do it for Fun or was AA making sure that the airports were suitable

Quoting ArcrftLvr (Reply 9):
Quoting Pqdtw (Reply 3):
pushed back all the way down the runway

Why wouldn't you have back-taxiied? Seems odd to get pushed all the way down the runway.

My guess is that the r/w was not wide enough to turn the a/c around


A lot of airlines use 4 engine a/c on those routes so they do not need to fly ETOPS, I know flying LAX-SYD with out 4 engines is longer because they must fly with in ETOPS limits

[Edited 2008-11-18 22:00:26]


"Learn the rules, so you know how to break them properly." -H.H. The Dalai Lama
User currently offline1KCLAY From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 12045 times:

Just curious....Does anyone know what locations Air New Zealand's 777s that fly between LAX/SFO and AKL would use in an emergency and what locations V Australia will use once they start flying. I remember flying to AKL and wondering about it, since there didn't seem to be many islands near our flight path on the onboard flight tracker program.

User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2565 posts, RR: 53
Reply 17, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 11663 times:



Quoting 1KCLAY (Reply 16):
Does anyone know what locations Air New Zealand's 777s that fly between LAX/SFO and AKL would use in an emergency and what locations V Australia will use once they start flying. I remember flying to AKL and wondering about it, since there didn't seem to be many islands near our flight path on the onboard flight tracker program.

'Near' is a relative term. Three hours of flying time on one engine equates to nearly 1200 nm. Flying a direct line from LAX to AKL is within the ETOPS range of a 777 almost all the time, although if the winds are blowing the wrong way a slight detour towards Hawaii might be required.

Most airlines that fly ETOPS operations have at least 180 minutes approval, although some (I don't know about ANZ) may have more, which increases the flexibility of routing even more.

Leaving the west coast of the US LAX or SAN could be used, followed by ITO or KOA in Hawaii. After that it would be either CXI (Christmas Island - daytime operations only) or PPT, Papaete, Tahiti. Beyond that, there's no lack of alternates including PPG, APW, RAR, TBU, NAN, and more.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlinePqdtw From Netherlands, joined Aug 2008, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 11586 times:



Quoting ArcrftLvr (Reply 9):
Why wouldn't you have back-taxiied? Seems odd to get pushed all the way down the runway.

Not sure about that. I was a brand-new flight attendant back then and didn't pay attention to the ins-and-outs of it, and didn't realize that that was something really out of the ordinary, so I never discussed it with our pilots. Looking back, I definitely should have. My guess is what others have proposed---that the runway wasn't wide enough to turn the whale around on.


User currently offlineChapavaeaa From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 11416 times:



Quoting N104UA (Reply 15):
Did he do it for Fun or was AA making sure that the airports were suitable

He did it for AA. He probably wouldn't have been allowed on a number of the facilities in Russia and Kwajalien for example. I'm not sure how he got a plum assignment other than he was single and nearing retirement.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25652 posts, RR: 22
Reply 20, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 11110 times:



Quoting HAL (Reply 17):
Three hours of flying time on one engine equates to nearly 1200 nm. Flying a direct line from LAX to AKL is within the ETOPS range of a 777 almost all the time, although if the winds are blowing the wrong way a slight detour towards Hawaii might be required.

Most airlines that fly ETOPS operations have at least 180 minutes approval, although some (I don't know about ANZ) may have more, which increases the flexibility of routing even more.

A UA 777 operating AKL-LAX in March 2003 (shortly before they dropped the route) shut an engine down and diverted to Kona, Hawaii. The single-engine diversion took 192 minutes. I believe it was operating under the 180 minute rule but they enountered stronger winds than expected and exceeded the limit by 12 minutes. I think that's also why they went to KOA rather than HNL. I believe that still ranks as the longest single-engine diversion under ETOPS rules.


User currently offlineDynamicsguy From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 877 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 11010 times:



Quoting COSPN (Reply 11):
CO 772's have diverted to Midway and Cold Bay in the Past, Runway is fine but for Pax there Gooney Birds to watch and a workers canteen in Midway... and the Cold Bay Comunity Center to hang out awaiting for the "rescue flight"...but the name of the ETOPS game is get on the ground...

A friend had to stop in at Midway during a yacht race for repairs - they'd lost half their mast. They seemed to have a good time there - the residents even fired up the bowling alley for them.


User currently offlineSunriseValley From Canada, joined Jul 2004, 5054 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (5 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 10829 times:



Quoting N104UA (Reply 15):
I know flying LAX-SYD with out 4 engines is longer because they must fly with in ETOPS limits

Where did you get this notion from? Sounds like another of those myths propogated on Anet! AC flies YVR -SYD daily with twins and NZ the same LAX-AKL. The only south Pacific route from the U.S. west coast that encounters greater than ETOPS180 is LAX-PPT. NZ used to fly it with the 767-300ER for which they had ETOPS180 .They flew around the limitation which added about 100nm to the route.


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