Turbulence From Spain, joined Nov 1999, 963 posts, RR: 24 Posted (10 years 7 months 5 days ago) and read 4055 times:
A couple of weeks ago, one of the Air Atlanta Icelandic's 743 operated by Iberia, returned back to Madrid. The following take off reported tire debris on the rwy, so ATC reported and asked to previous flights, reported to civil aviation authorities, and finally did it to Iberia, which notified the crew. After so much "bureaucracy" (2 hours and 1/2), the captain decided to fly bak to Madrid.
My question is: WHY?
And I mean: the aircraft was bounded for Mexico, DF. A lot of 747s operate there, so I don't have a doubt about the possibility of changing that tire or the whole wheel.
If the problem is on one engine, let's say, it is surely better to fly 2,5 hrs back to Madrid than 6,5 forward to Mex.DF. It is called safety. And, maybe, in such an event, that landing would have been at Lisbon, for example.
But, with a blown tire, the problem (IM-veeeery-HO), is not WHERE to land, but THE LANDING ITSELF. So, as long as a landing is needed, why not fly to destination and avoid at least half the problem (with ticket refunds, passengers allocation, relocation, connections, etc., etc., etc.?). Depending on the schedule, (how many long haul flights remain for 3 or 4, or even 9 or 10 hours at destination before fying back home?) it could have even flown back on time...
B747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (10 years 7 months 5 days ago) and read 4024 times:
Dear Turbulence -
It is very likely that technical assistance for Air Atlanta (+ IB) is better at Barajas than MEX... obviously the captain of the flight got informed of the problem by dispatcher, in turn HE ASKED THEM "what do you want to do?" They informed him to proceed back to MAD to fix the tire...
Captains do not take the Hollywood-hero attitude in flight - and ask company their preferences... so this becomes "company decision" - not captain decision and that goes along with the pilot philosophy, if any further problem - "you told me to proceed as I did..."
AJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2376 posts, RR: 27 Reply 2, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4008 times:
The question I'd be asking is "What other damage did the tire cause when it blew?" Did pieces of rubber damage the flaps, enter the slots, enter the slats? Did it damage the undercarriage at all?
Concorde learnt the hard way that a 'tire blow' can be more than just a tire replacement.
Turbulence From Spain, joined Nov 1999, 963 posts, RR: 24 Reply 3, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3994 times:
Yes, I assume that they do not act the "hero way", but it was not a "major problem"... (and this is for AJ, also), yes, I thought of F-BTSC while I was typing my question. But that tragedy occured at once without any possibility of reacting... This one had been for 2 1/2 hours on the air without having noticed it...
Anyway, 747skipper's dispatcher explanation sounds quite logical, especially if, in addition to what AJ says, there's no way of doing at least an optical inspection. But tha Interior Minister had "scrambled" an F-18 for that inspection....
Dragogoalie From Australia, joined Oct 2001, 1220 posts, RR: 7 Reply 4, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3996 times:
Even though its not a "major problem" its still not a good idea to fly with a minor problem because most acciden'ts/incidents are actually caused by many minor problems that come together....if you can fix the problem...why not. Not worth the risk, even if it is minor. We have all seen what a blown tire did to the concorde...
AJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2376 posts, RR: 27 Reply 5, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3941 times:
F-BTSC's damage was catastrophic, but undetected damage to the wing would increase fuel burn, a damaged brake line or hydraulic actuator can lead to loss of fluid over time etc etc. This could lead to problems later in the flight over the Atlantic. No thanks!
B747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3930 times:
There has been quite a few accidents which had for origin a tire failure, and the return of that 747-300 to Madrid sound like a good idea to me. As both AJ and Dragogoalie mention, you do not know "what else" was damaged by the tire failure - The Concorde accident is probably the best known example...
I can recall some other notorious accidents, the DC8-61 or 63 from NationAir Canada, taking off from Jeddah with 250 Nigerian pilgrims... under inflated tire overheated then the wheel well got on fire immediately after takeoff... all passengers and crew died. In the 747, there are many items located in the wheel wells housing the 16 main wheels and tires - 3000 psi hydraulic lines and reservoirs - fuel lines... without hydraulics the 747 is without controls whatsoever...
I had 2 incidents personally so far associated to tire failures... PanAm 727-100 takeoff, tire #3 (main gear) failed at rotation in FRA, a piece exploded forward and up, passing over the wing, entered (pod) engine #3, blocked rotation of N1 fan stage, which tore off the engine from the fuselage... We got engine failure indications - but unaware that the engine fell off... When we called the tower for an immediate return - that we had "lost" #3 engine, the tower advised "yes, you lost your engine, we see it, it is on right runway, cleared to land on the left runway"...
With a 747-100, Air Atlanta Iceland - in Saudi Arabia - short pilot contract I had - I landed the aircraft with autobrakes selected MIN... upon touch down the aircraft decelerated as if I had been standing on the brakes. A minute later while taxiing to the terminal, tires blew up... I stopped the aircraft... about one dozen of tires had exploded... there was severe damage to the aircraft in the belly area around the gear. The autobrake system was faulty, I had to ferry the aircraft gear down back to Jeddah for repairs...
Tire failures are not a laughing matter... the "landing roll" and "braking ability" remaining is not the concern, it is the other damage maybe associated with it.
Broke From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1322 posts, RR: 4 Reply 8, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3826 times:
Another consideration in the Captain's decision to return to Madrid may have been that Mexico City is at about 7,500' above sea level. The landing speeds for that altitude would be higher than at Madrid. When you don't know the condition of your gear, landing at a lower airspeed would be more prudent.
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3801 times:
Not one single reason, but a combination, as various folks have mentioned the pieces...
- Possible damage to other components (hydraulic lines, etc.) in the gearwell, that while maybe not having manifested themselves into actual problems (leaks, etc.) at the 2.5 hour point in the flight, might do so sometimes in the next 6.5 hours to MEX. Over deep water with hydraulic problems (1 system? All 4?) is not a place you want to to risk being... ("Airport 1977" was a farce)
- The field elevation at MEX, and the higher speed that "Broke" mentions. It's not so much the gear itself, but the tires. How many were blown earlier? One? Two? However many are blown, the remaining tires/brakes will also have to carry the higher loads and dissipate that same energy. In addition to tire changes, brake changes (due to a few zillion too many foot-pounds of energy) are likely, as well as likely holes (not major in and of themselves) in trailing edge flaps.
- No matter where the aircraft lands, i.e. other than MEX, tire changes, brake changes, and flap damage repair are still going to be needed. It's always better (company convenience-wise) to accomplish that at the airline's own maintence base, if at all possible. If the aircraft lands at an airport where the airline is at the mercy of another airline's maintenance folks, or an airport that doesn't have very extensive maintence facilities or parts for that type of aircraft, the affected aircraft is that much more likely to being a "restaurant" (i.e., useless for airline ops) that much longer. And, if the necessary parts aren't available locally and are thus "AOG" (aircraft on ground) from maybe the other side of the world, it could be days before an aircraft flies again...
Jhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6195 posts, RR: 13 Reply 10, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3792 times:
other consideration in the Captain's decision to return to Madrid may have been that Mexico City is at about 7,500' above sea level. The landing speeds for that altitude would be higher than at Madrid. When you don't know the condition of your gear, landing at a lower airspeed would be more prudent.
I like this answer.....
Anyway, I always wondered the same thing. Awhile back, I started a thread asking why a flight diverts when the problem will be the landing itself rather than when the landing is attempted. I hear stories all the time where, as a hypothetical example, a Continental 737 has a "minor emergency" immediately after departing Houston bound for Newark and must circle overhead for 2 hours to burn fuel and then make its emergency landing in Houston (well, why didn't they just fly to Newark then!) If you can find that thread, I got some pretty good answers. Anyway, I thought they might do it that way for legal implications. For example, here is a FAA regulation:
Section 91.7: Civil aircraft airworthiness.
(a) No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition.
(b) The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight. The pilot in command shall discontinue the flight when unairworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.
Could this reason possiblity tie in to the answer to this question, or am I misreading this requirement?
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (10 years 7 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3760 times:
>>>Section 91.7: Civil aircraft airworthiness.
In the USA, airlines operate under FAR Part 121, which in many cases has more stringent requirements than does the more-generalized Part 91. Since in the USA (Domestic/Flag operations) there is a dispatcher involved in the safety-of-flight equation, a better reg is 121.627(a) as far as flight continuation is concerned.
BTW, as far as your hypothetical IAH-EWR scenario goes, they'd almost certainly come right back and land at IAH without waiting to burn off the fuel to get below max landing weight. Many of the older aircraft (737-200 and older) were one thing, but newer aircraft (737-300 and up, other Boeing twins) can be landed at the max takeoff weight of the aircraft, as long as varying degrees of overweight landing inspections are accomplished later. Since the aircraft is already going to be out of service for whatever precipitated the diversion in the first place, the overweight landing inspection is usually no big deal...
But, back to the point of your example, why not continue to EWR? Two reasons.
1/ If it's a "medical" emergency, the aircraft will come back to get the pax in medical hands ASAP, for the pax's benefit, and for the airline to the sizable legal liability of not doing so.
2/ If it's a "mechanical" (however "minor") the FAA is going to expect the company/pilot/dispatcher to act in the most conservative manner possible so as to minimize risk(s) to those onboard, and underneath the possible wreckage path, irrespective of wherever it's more "convenient" to fix the aircraft or accomodate the passengers. On twins, an engine failure is a no-brainer, covered by another Part 121 reg (you land at the nearest suitable airport in point-of-time), but the FAA is not going to look positively on sustained flight with major hydraulic, electric, control, or pressurization problems (and the "minor ones" don't warrant diversions in the first place...)
VC-10 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 1999, 3677 posts, RR: 36 Reply 12, posted (10 years 7 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3744 times:
I find it interesting that several posts mention the dispatcher being involved in the decision making process. I work in Maintenance Control and it is Maintrol who will be involved in that process, evaluating the airworthiness of the a/c, evaluating if more damage going to be done by continuing the flight and looking at the best place for repairs. This info will be supplied to Operation who, with the Capt, will make the call of where the a/c goes.
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 13, posted (10 years 7 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3715 times:
I didn't mean to infer that MX wasn't involved in the process here in the US in a Part 121 op, they certainly are. Of the three items I mentioned a few messages back in this thread, #1 and #3 obviously involve MX participation in the loop, while #2 is a flight ops/dispatch consideration.
The similarities between UK/US practices aside, a key difference in the regulatory scheme between them is in operational control. Here in the US, operational control (defined as the authority over initiating, conducting, and terminating of flights) is the responsibility of the airline operator, who under Part 121 Domestic/Flag rules, is discharged via joint responsibility by the PIC and dispatcher. Many countries have "dispatchers" (by title) who accomplish the same flight planning and other duties,but don't have any responsibility for operational control, since (in those countries) that's purely a PIC concern. A few countries mimic the US FARs precisely, and their dispatchers function as to their US counterparts.
A couple of theoreticals...based on regs over here...
1/ Flight has problem after takeoff, MX says yep, it can continue to the destination (a MX base); PIC says yep, he wants to continue (destination is also a crew base), but dispatcher says newly-failed item can't continue due to the weather at the destination. Here, it's not a simple 2 versus 1 "vote", but rather, but the joint responsibility between PIC and dispatcher. If the PIC says yes, and the dispatcher no, the dispatcher can't teleport himself into the cockpit and take over the controls, obviously. However, that disconnect between what the PIC and dispatcher think is "safe" now triggers 121.627(a) and thus 121.557 (our FAR on emergency authory).
2/ It works the other way too. A couple of flights once blasted off on 4-hour flights and the dispatcher was advised :45 later that main tire fragments were found on the runway about the time the two flights departed. MX wants to divert *BOTH* flights immediately due to possible gearwell damage. Dispatcher contacts both flights, and PICs tell him nothing abnormal about either takeoff, and everything normal in-flight. Dispatcher has local station personnel check tire fragments with airport authority, and discovers after about :10 that the fragments are from the main tires of a different type aircraft. Tower says one of those type aircraft for Brand-X took off in between the two company flights. Based on those facts, dispatcher had both flights press on, and contacted the dispatcher at Brand-X, who later had their flight land on a blown main tire.
Lots of variables, but that's basically how it works over here...
B747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 14, posted (10 years 7 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3717 times:
Attn. VC10 and OPNLguy -
14 CFR 121.557 - Declaring an emergency
(b) In an emergency situation arising during flight that requires immediate decision and action, the aircraft dispatcher shall advise the pilot in command of the emergency, shall ascertain the decision of the pilot-in-command and shall have the decision recorded. If the aircraft dispatcher cannot communicate with the pilot-in-command, HE SHALL DECLARE THE EMERGENCY and take any action that he considers necessary under the circumstances.
The above tells you a little about the authority of dispatchers in US 121 air carriers... We have same system in Argentina, and I know quite a few other countries use the same rules, sometimes using wording from US FAR 121 verbatum...
In US and many countries, these people have full operation control, on the ground. Only the captain can override their decision... for emergencies.
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 15, posted (10 years 7 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 3697 times:
>>>In US and many countries, these people have full operation control, on the ground. Only the captain can override their decision... for emergencies.
With all due respect, Skipper, the dispatcher's role in operationAL control is not just limited to the ground phase of operations...
Section 1.1: General definitions.
Operational control, with respect to a flight, means the exercise of authority over initiating, conducting or terminating a flight.
OK, now everone knows what the "initiating" phase involves (flight planning, ATC filing, company considerations, etc.), but the dispatcher still has responsibilities in the enroute phases. FAR 121.601 is just one example.
As far as the "terminating" aspect is concerned (and also another example of the "enroute" phase) check out:
Section 121.627: Continuing flight in unsafe conditions.
(a) No pilot in command may allow a flight to continue toward any airport to which it has been dispatched or released if, in the opinion of the pilot in command or dispatcher (domestic and flag operations only), the flight cannot be completed safely; unless, in the opinion of the pilot in command, there is no safer procedure. In that event, continuation toward that airport is an emergency situation as set forth in 121.557.
As I said earlier, should the PIC and dispatcher at some point have different ideas as to what constitutes a "safe" operation once enroute, the "tiebreaker" is 121.627(a) itself, which defaults the situation to 121.557 (emergency authority) in which the PIC can indeed take any action they feel necessary. A key element of 121.627(a) is also the fact that the "emergency" situation isn't dependent upon the PIC using the magic "E" work to ATC, et. al., i.e. the dispatcher can/will also declare should the situation require it.
In 23 years of dispatching, I can count the number of emergency declarations that I initiated on one hand and have fingers left over, since I think most folks (on both side of the radio) understand the philosophy behind the regs. That said, my personal knowledge of 121.557 as it relates to 121.627(a) and other FARs is tantamount to a police officer knowing his department's rules/regs on the use of deadly force--It's not something you're all that likely to use in daily work life, but you better be able to do so in that rare instance that you need to.
If you ever want to see a CLASSIC example of how proper understanding and use of these operational control regs could have prevented a fatal accident, check out the NTSB accident report on the Air Illinois 710 accident back from 1983. A more recent example would be Avianca 52 near JFK back in 1990...