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Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?  
User currently offlinenitepilot79 From Turkey, joined May 2008, 269 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14275 times:

If an airliner had to make an emergency landing in the north pole (god forbid), and by some miracle there were survivors, how would they survive? Is there a search and rescue plan in place that would get rescuers to the site within any reasonable amount of time? I realize that today's airliners are said to be more reliable than ever, but better safe than sorry as they say.


En Buyuk Turkiye, Baska Buyuk Yok!
44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinerscaife1682 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 332 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14248 times:

Polar Route aircraft have to have polar survival equipment on board the aircraft.

This equipment helps for short term situations only.

RYAN
FLTOPS


User currently offlinebiggsfo From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2926 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14110 times:

Extremely unlikely as there are ample diversion points along the north pole. I do believe Northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Siberia all have runways and (albeit limited) facilities to handle an airliner in case of an emergency.

User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7704 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14079 times:
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Quoting rscaife1682 (Reply 1):
Polar Route aircraft have to have polar survival equipment on board the aircraft

What kind of equiment exactly?



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineTranspac787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3209 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14065 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 3):
What kind of equiment exactly?

In the case of DL (I don't know if it's a company thing or FAR mandated) there are climate suits for the crew for use anytime they need to leave the aircraft.


User currently offlinereadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3265 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13917 times:

Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 4):
there are climate suits for the crew for use anytime they need to leave the aircraft.

and of course the First Class passengers.         



you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlinenitepilot79 From Turkey, joined May 2008, 269 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13836 times:

Quoting biggsfo (Reply 2):
Extremely unlikely as there are ample diversion points along the north pole. I do believe Northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Siberia all have runways and (albeit limited) facilities to handle an airliner in case of an emergency.

To be more specific, basically a ditching, like after a double engine failure. Or some other serious emergency.



En Buyuk Turkiye, Baska Buyuk Yok!
User currently offlinenitepilot79 From Turkey, joined May 2008, 269 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13785 times:

Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 4):
In the case of DL (I don't know if it's a company thing or FAR mandated) there are climate suits for the crew for use anytime they need to leave the aircraft.


What about the passengers? When I said emergency landing I should have been more specific. I meant more of an emergency ditching; whereas the hull integrity would most likely be compromised and the elements would affect the cabin.



En Buyuk Turkiye, Baska Buyuk Yok!
User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 977 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13658 times:

Quoting nitepilot79 (Thread starter):
If an airliner had to make an emergency landing in the north pole (god forbid), and by some miracle there were survivors, how would they survive? Is there a search and rescue plan in place that would get rescuers to the site within any reasonable amount of time? I realize that today's airliners are said to be more reliable than ever, but better safe than sorry as they say.
Quoting nitepilot79 (Reply 6):
To be more specific, basically a ditching, like after a double engine failure. Or some other serious emergency.

The survivors would have to improvise. No airplane carries all of the emergency equipment necessary to ensure the survival of every passenger in every contingency imaginable. Even if you consider a water landing such as US 1549, the lifejackets and flotation devices would not have kept all of the passengers alive if that jet had landed anywhere but the Hudson River.


User currently offlineCX flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6605 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13538 times:

Not sure about other airlines but an airlines I know well carries two artic survival suits...for potantially 320 people. I guess they have to learn to share.

User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4269 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13540 times:

Passenger aircraft have not such thing as polar survival kits, for passenger use. At least, not as far as I know from my job. Yes, they do excist for flightcrew though.

Aircraft in trouble can always divert to a nearest diversion airport in case of e.g. engine malfunction. If something more serious happens, survival chances are already very limited usually.



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineMrSkyGuy From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 1214 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13468 times:

What diversion airports exist above the arctic circle? Sure, ETOPS 180 gives you (hopefully) 2 hours of diversion time to the nearest capable field in the event of an engine failure for a twin.. but what of a diversion for more serious purposes such as fire, structural issues, etc. where an emergency landing is required? Swissair 111 comes to mind as an example.

I realize the question is near moot, as an aircraft experiencing such issues over water with no suitable diversion fields would simply have to ditch and pray for the best. But crossing the arctic circle, there's land and [possibly] suitable fields in length to accept an aircraft as large as a 777 or a 747? What fields might these be?

[Edited 2010-05-24 08:15:04]


"The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee." -- Gunter's 2nd Law of Air
User currently offlineEDICHC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13408 times:

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 11):
Aircraft in trouble can always divert to a nearest diversion airport in case of e.g. engine malfunction. If something more serious happens, survival chances are already very limited usually.

And in the context of the north polar region more so. Simple fact is if a commercial airliner cannot make any of it's diversion airports and has to land at or near the north pole it will amount to a situation even worse than a ditching at sea. The north pole has no land surface within several hundred miles. It only has a surprisingly few feet of pack ice that may not sustain the weight of impact. So hitting a hard surface then being immersed in freezing cold water does not bode well for anyone surviving the 'landing'.

[Edited 2010-05-24 08:36:33]

User currently offlineditzyboy From Australia, joined Feb 2008, 718 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 13252 times:

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 11):
Passenger aircraft have not such thing as polar survival kits, for passenger use.

Qantas carries them for each passenger on Antarctic sightseeing charters. They are not as protective as the crew one, but better than nothing.


User currently offlinejetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1648 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 13217 times:
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Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 8):
The survivors would have to improvise. No airplane carries all of the emergency equipment necessary to ensure the survival of every passenger in every contingency imaginable. Even if you consider a water landing such as US 1549, the lifejackets and flotation devices would not have kept all of the passengers alive if that jet had landed anywhere but the Hudson River.

As far as I know, there has to be a life jacket for every passenger, usually located under the seat and enough flotation gear for all passengers, either in life rafts or emergency exit slides or a combination of both. As in the case of US 1549, some of the passengers were able to use the 2 forward slides as life rafts.

What happened in US 1549 was the 2 rear flotation devices were unusable because the 2 rear doors where they are attached was underwater because of the way the airplane landed, tail first which caused some of the structure to fail letting in water in the rear part of the fuselage.

Even in my corporate aviation days, when we flew the JetStar on over water flights, except Northeast to Florida, but like to Bermuda or even across the Atlantic, we were required to have a life jacket for each person on board and a life raft big enough to hold everybody, this was an FAA regulation and we operated under Part 91 general aviation rules, not Part 125 airline rules.

JetStar


User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4269 posts, RR: 51
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 12970 times:

Quoting ditzyboy (Reply 14):
Qantas carries them for each passenger on Antarctic sightseeing charters.

That's not a standard operation of course. In general airlines won't carry it for each passenger, but only the general emergency equipment as can be found also on other routes.

Polar kits include e.g. extra flashlights, signal kit (smoke/flares) etc.



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinegatorfan From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 331 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 12938 times:

Seems like the beginning of the new ABC spin-off:

Cold & Lost - The Article Circle.


User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 12305 times:

great, thanks for giving them another awful idea for a tv show that they will find a way to stretch for a decade... UGH

User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 12298 times:

Quoting nitepilot79 (Reply 7):
When I said emergency landing I should have been more specific. I meant more of an emergency ditching; whereas the hull integrity would most likely be compromised and the elements would affect the cabin.

That's called a crash, basically. There's no requirement that you be able to survive that in any climate, let alone the north pole.

Quoting MrSkyGuy (Reply 11):
Sure, ETOPS 180 gives you (hopefully) 2 hours of diversion time to the nearest capable field in the event of an engine failure for a twin..

ETOPS 180 gives you far more than 2 hours...you've got until you exhaust your fuel. How far that is depends on where you were in the flight when it happened but, given the length of your normal polar flight and assuming a worst case point for the engine failure, you've probably got 5-6 hours of diversion time.

Tom.


User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4682 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12120 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 18):
ETOPS 180 gives you far more than 2 hours...you've got until you exhaust your fuel. How far that is depends on where you were in the flight when it happened but, given the length of your normal polar flight and assuming a worst case point for the engine failure, you've probably got 5-6 hours of diversion time.

I thought ETOPS 180 = 180 minutes = three hours?



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17044 posts, RR: 67
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12101 times:

Quoting A342 (Reply 19):

I thought ETOPS 180 = 180 minutes = three hours?

Yes. That's the minimum certified time. However that doesn't mean the remaining engine will stop at 181 minutes. It will most likely still run for quite a while.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4682 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 11905 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
Yes. That's the minimum certified time. However that doesn't mean the remaining engine will stop at 181 minutes. It will most likely still run for quite a while.

Yes, of course. But I take "diversion time" to mean the amount of time needed to reach the nearest alternate airport. Under ETOPS 180, that's a maximum of 180 minutes. So I don't understand where the 5 to 6 hours comes from?



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 22, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 11863 times:

Quoting A342 (Reply 21):
But I take "diversion time" to mean the amount of time needed to reach the nearest alternate airport. Under ETOPS 180, that's a maximum of 180 minutes.

Correct. But that's the diversion time required, not the diversion time available. An aircraft on an ETOPS-180 flight plan may be capable of flying far further than 180 minutes from the time of the engine failure.

Quoting A342 (Reply 21):
So I don't understand where the 5 to 6 hours comes from?

That's capability...if you're on a polar flight (10+ hours) and you suffer the worse-case engine-failure point, you should be about 180 minutes from at least 2 diversion airports. But you've still got the fuel to complete the remainder of the originally planned flight (plus reserves), plus a potential time extension (though not range extension) for flying slower and running your remaining engine at higher efficiency.

This whole tangent started here:

Quoting MrSkyGuy (Reply 11):
Sure, ETOPS 180 gives you (hopefully) 2 hours of diversion time

ETOPS-180 gives you way more than 2 hours of potential diversion time, that was my only point.

Tom.


User currently offlineYWG From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 1146 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 11732 times:

Kind of reminds me of this incident a while back. Not on a Polar Route, but far enough north that they we're ready for it (stairs, hotels, etc).

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Photo © Chris Baxter
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Photo © Chris Baxter

Quoting MrSkyGuy (Reply 11):
crossing the arctic circle, there's land and [possibly] suitable fields in length to accept an aircraft as large as a 777 or a 747? What fields might these be?

Lots of Tundra and Muskeg, so one could guess that in the odd ODD event of a dead stick landing up there, it may work out with a gear collapse and small fire. I think ever captain would rather limp to the nearest airport on fumes and one engine rather than consider that.

Quoting ditzyboy (Reply 13):
Qantas carries them for each passenger on Antarctic sightseeing charters. They are not as protective as the crew one, but better than nothing.

Good call by QF. I never leave home without the proper gear to survive in any weather enroute during my blocks.



Contact Winnipeg center now on 134.4, good day.
User currently offlinej0rdan From Canada, joined Feb 2010, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 11687 times:

I remember reading in "From the Flight Deck" by Capt. Doug Morris that Tiksi, Russia (IATA:IKS/ICAO:UEST) is a suitable airport for landing with a 9845 x 194 ft concrete runway available, I'm not sure what other field services are available. Does anybody else know? The airport appears to have 3x weekly scheduled service to Yakutsk, Russia (IATA:YKS/ICAO:UEEE) on Yakutia Airlines (IATA:R3/ICAO:SYL) with Antonov An-24 aircraft. Is there any other suitable airports near the poles?

Jordan


25 A342 : Ok, now I understand. Thank you.
26 NorthStarDC4M : Alert CFB is listed as a divert point for some airlines, wouldn't want to try it though. Thule AFB in Greenland would be suitable Svalbard has a dece
27 MrChips : In the event of an accident or off-airport landing in the Far North, there are plans for such an occurrence. At CFB Trenton, a Hercules stands on perm
28 BravoOne : Just came across this thread and to answer JOrdan's question there are only two airports north of the Arctic cirlce that would be suitable alternates
29 Viscount724 : I'm surprised that a 5,500 ft. gravel runway would be considered an acceptable divert point for any of the widebody aircraft types operating Polar ro
30 A346Dude : Guess it depends how desperate you are. Barring any major controllability issues or runway contamination, most crews should be able to get their craf
31 prebennorholm : Probably because SFJ is barely inches North of the Arctic Circle. But it has been visited by An-225 and also Concorde. On the other hand Station Nort
32 A346Dude : True, and looking into it more there's also MMK, TOS, LKL, BOO, and KTT north of the Arctic Circle, all with paved runways over 8,000 ft. None are pa
33 BravoOne : Disregard.... I found what I was looking for.[Edited 2014-04-23 03:48:34]
34 Post contains links flyingturtle : A huge aircraft carrier made of ice? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Habakkuk David
35 BravoOne : My error as what I meant the first time was airports above 78N which is the defining lat for the polar region.
36 chuchoteur : One of the northernmost airports designated for polar route diversions is Longyearbyen (LYR). Boeing went up there a few years back with their testbed
37 BravoOne : Here is a peice of trivia for you. All of the Boeing FCOMs have a Latitude limiiation for aligning the IRS/ADIRU/ERS and that happns to be the ramp a
38 Post contains images chuchoteur : Probably because that the northernmost latitude they validated IRS alignment when they went up there... Definitely a challenging environment
39 Post contains links and images Viscount724 : Churchill, Manitoba wasn't ready for it They had no stairs then that could reach the 777's doors so they had to deplane using one of the evacuation s
40 Post contains links YWG : CYYQ Churchill has seen a lot more than you would expect. The Esso FBO has a 'Wall of Fame' with photos of all the interesting visitors they've had ov
41 chuchoteur : That was a medical diversion as I recall?
42 BravoOne : Jordon, There are no airports "near" the poles but there are numerous airports within 180 minutes flying that are ETOPS approved alternates. I'll pos
43 flyingturtle : So, a crew can only file approved ETOPS alternates in the flight plan, but if deemed necessary, they can still land at a non-ETOPS airport? Has this
44 BravoOne : Well the crew does not file the flight plan, that's left to Dispatch. The flight can only contain operator approved ETOPS alternates. None of this tak
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