David_itl
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Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 9:54 pm


bmi A321 G-MIDJ had a lightning strike last night whilst operating a charter flight into MAN according to this local report. By the looks of the nose cone area, it may be out of action for a day or two.

David
 
agrodemm
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 10:24 pm

Even though, many will come up and say that this is "business as usual",
I would say that from a pasenger's point of view, this event is something that they will remember.
I also want to comment on the article about the "thousands of feet" of altitude that the plane lost.......
At any rate, it seems that the crew handled this event in an excellent manner.
Well done.
 
EGGD
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 10:32 pm

Apart from the lightning and the hailstones, seems like a textbook case of severe turbulence.

The cockpit window shattering is a pretty regular occurance as well, isn't it?
 
Demoose
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 10:34 pm

There's some "better" photo's of the damaged aircraft in this report:
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_785167.html

I actually flew on this aircraft in January to LHR from MAN.
(Plug time! Big grin)

View Large View Medium
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Photo © Mark Allen
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Photo © Gerry Hill



Regards
Mark


[Edited 2003-05-27 15:38:01]
Take a ride...fly across the sky
 
EGGD
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 10:36 pm

Reminds me of the L1011 that is currently held at Lyon after being written off. Anyone know how much this kind of damage costs to repair?
 
AWspicious
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 10:40 pm

Don't you just love the headline and caption for that pic. Seems there's a new buzz-word for any incident that involves a high level of drama.
I suspect many of those passengers (who will ever fly again) may heed the airlines warnings and keep their seat-belt fastened during a flight, from now on.
Thankfully, the aircraft was not lost, nor any passengers seriously injured. It's amazing to see the extent of the damage to the aircraft, though. Look closely at the photo and you can see damage to the leading edge of the engine cowling.
I can't imagine how frightful that experience must have been for those passengers. I, on the other hand, probably would have been rummaging through my carry-on for a clean pair of boxers.

aw
Nevermind political correctness - Envision using your turn signals!
 
777guy
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 10:49 pm

But the airline insisted today that it was only "minor damage" - and claimed that terrified passengers, sent sprawling in the aisles, were never at risk.

Easy for that spokesperson to say. She was not one of the passengers.  Big grin
 
Going64
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 11:05 pm

Good thing they praised the crew for their behaviour. Makes passengers realise what their primary task is .... safety!
 
hammer
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 11:40 pm

This happened to a NWA 747 a few years ago right after takeoff in DTW, shortly after takeoff it went thru a thunderstorm and there was alot of hail damage to it- nose cone and the cockpit windshield were hit hard...
 
Demoose
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 11:42 pm

Nice to see the BBC are as acurate as ever...
"The BMI Airbus 312 was flying to Manchester Airpor from Cyprus when it encountered heavy turbulence."

It's the main headline on the news now, seems to be getting blown out of proportion a bit!

Mark
Take a ride...fly across the sky
 
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groobster
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Tue May 27, 2003 11:51 pm

just beat me to it Demoose, it was the major headline on Radio 1 at 3.30pm.

It has been blown out of all proportion.
Next flights: MAN-DXB-BKK-DXB-MAN
 
LHR340
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 12:43 am

Wow, I actually flew this plane as well LHR to CAG in July last year, (Which had engine problems during flight.) - That is a lot of damage. Reminds me of my recent flight landing in TFS  Laugh out loud doesn't seem that bad now, lol.

LHR340
A340 LoVeR! EC-GQK - LHR The Bussiest International Airport & 3rd Bussiest In The World!
 
DoorsToManual
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 12:58 am

I shouldn't really be surprised I suppose, but I always forget just how thin that metal fuselage is - I tend to think it's really thick and solid, but judging by that photo I will have to re-think!
 
eg777er
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 2:41 am

Isn't the best thing to do in this sort of incident to let go of the controls and let the FBW take over? Rather than try and fight increasingly sudden pitch changes?
 
aamd11
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 10:59 am

Let FBW take over?
Do you mean the autopilot systems (and the built in safety envelope of the FBW system)... FBW is the system that "flys" the aircraft (computers interpret the input on the joysticks - well them joystick like things in the cockpit - and adjusts the flight control surfaces accordingly... it does not fly the aircraft itself like Autopilot.

And i would have imagined the flight would have been on AP at the time of the incident.

A^A MD-11
 
eg777er
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 4:09 pm

No, what I mean is that if you take your hands off the controls in an Airbus FBW, it will maintain pitch/heading without inputs. For example, if you roll to 10 degrees bank, let go of the stick, then the aircraft will maintain 10 degrees bank and you'll end up flying round in circles.

So presumably if you are in straight and level flight the aircraft will automatically maintain straight and level even with no hands on the controls, irrespective of the status of the autopilot?
 
godbless
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 5:35 pm

I saw the plane in the hangar yesterday at MAN, too bad that I could only see the tail and not the nose though...

Max
 
airsicknessbag
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 6:06 pm


Since this happened over Germany and they continued as planned to MAN, it really can´t have been that serious.

Daniel Smile
 
DoorsToManual
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 6:34 pm

There is much debate on the pilot forum 'pprune' regarding whether hail would be detected by weather radar...I guess if the crew had known it would be that bad, they might have chosen to fly around it. Strange to get that sort of incident here in Europe, I always regard the tropics/USA as having more serious weather extremes i.e. "golf ball sized hailstones".
 
Craigy
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 10:33 pm

Here is my shot of it landing. Glad everyone was OK.

Regards,
Craig.

http://www.pbase.com/image/17186428
 
EGGD
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Wed May 28, 2003 10:52 pm

Nice shot Craig! Did you know it was coming?
 
Craigy
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Thu May 29, 2003 5:41 am

Thanks Dan, and no, I didn't know it was coming. The weather was very dull and I was just taking some routine 'practice' shots, having been there for the arrival of the Juventus and AC Milan team flights. I had about a gig worth of compact flash left and I was practicing how tightly I could frame an aircraft without cutting the tail off.

The shot I posted was a close up of a full frame shot of the aircraft - the only thing I noticed through the viewfinder was that the nose appeared to have a green tint. It was when I reviewed the shot on the LCD screen that I noticed the damage. I was surprised when I saw the "terror at 34,000 feet" headline in today's newspaper.

Since my posting this afternoon, I have had the following email, which I would like to share with you all.

"Hi,

I was browsing the internet today when I came across airliners.net and the conversation about the BMI flight. I didn't know which user to send an email to and I don't know if you are interested. But.... I was on that flight. I couldn't post as I am not a member and do not want to pay as I would not use the site often. I just thought if I could get a mail to one of you, you could let everybody else know the perspective of somebody who was actually there. Also this is part of me 'getting it out of my system' if you know what I mean. This experience was the most frightening thing I have ever faced in my life and without exagerating, I can honestly say I thought I was going to die. I think BMI would make this sound like a standard issue for obvious reasons. However, I am still here now and am thankful for that. My partner who was travelling with me has not coped as well as I have, she has slept only an hour since the incident and had a panic attack earlier today. This! incident is something that will most likely scar our memories for life. Even if this incident is classed as unserious in aviation I can fully back up that the pilot has been quoted saying that in twenty years of flying he had never experienced something like this and probably never will again. I heard him say that with my own ears.

Feeling very glad to be alive,

Graham


Regards,
Craig.
 
kellmark
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning/hail

Thu May 29, 2003 2:15 pm

OK Folks lets get a reality check here. This aircraft ran into severe hail over a period of 45 minutes and dropped or was forced down some 11,000 feet. It suffered severe damage and the passengers were frightened to death. This was very serious.

1. It is not required for this airline (BMI) to have a certified flight watch/monitoring system that would have alerted the pilot to the weather ahead and given him advice to go around it and avoid it. Neither the UK or JAA has a requirement for licensed flight operations officers/aircraft dispatchers who would do this function and support the flight crew in flight with the latest information on safety issues such as this type of weather. In the US and elsewhere dispatchers are certified and required to advise the crew and plan around weather such as this. So the crew was basically on their own, with no enroute support from the airline. This is a huge hole in the European aviation safety system. They launch their aircraft off into God knows where and nobody is required to watch the flight and give it information as it proceeds. ATC can't do it, as they don't know what the aircraft and crew are qualified for, what fuel it has onboard, what it weighs, what its limitations are or what airports the airplane could go to and their radar is often not well equipped to see weather, just aircraft targets. But in the US and Canada there is a dispatch system which does provide this info, including weather ahead.

2. This flight had the encounter with the severe weather over Germany, was obviously significantly damaged, and yet this pilot, not knowing the true condition of his aircraft, continues on to his destination of Manchester, when there were plenty of good airports close by. What part of this am I not getting? He should quickly have landed at the nearest available airport, rather than continuing on, especially over water.

3. Regarding severe weather in Europe, the assumption that this doesn't happen like in the US is simply no longer true. Remember the Swiss SAAB 2000 from Basel to Hamburg that crashed at Berlin Werneuchen last July? After running into severe weather it then had its destination and its alternates close, yet he continued on into bad weather and was on the verge of running out of fuel (7 minutes left) until he landed on a closed runway and wiped off the gear? Those passengers also thought that they "were going to die". By the way, that one also had no licensed/certified flight following system either. And there were tornados in Berlin that day.

Its about time that Europe closed this huge hole in their aviation system. You can't just launch a flight off into the wild blue yonder and then just expect everything will be just fine while providing no support for it enroute. When one of my colleagues asked an official at a major international airline that also does not have this system, he said, "well the pilot will find out about it when he gets there". Well, that is exactly what happened this week to BMI. And it will happen again and again until a lot of people get killed one day.


 
Rick767
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Thu May 29, 2003 11:40 pm

"So the crew was basically on their own, with no enroute support from the airline. This is a huge hole in the European aviation safety system. They launch their aircraft off into God knows where and nobody is required to watch the flight and give it information as it proceeds."

I'm sorry but I beg to differ. It is laughable that you think European airlines "launch aircraft into God knows where" with seemingly little regard for weather conditions and a lack of flight information passed to us. All the "US-style" dispatcher would do for us is add totally unnecessary cost and complication to the operation.

We don't need someone else to tell us where to divert to if the going gets tough, we are trained and qualified to make those decisions by ourselves thank you. If we require further information to assist in the decision making process we will obtain it from ATC / the company.

"and yet this pilot, not knowing the true condition of his aircraft, continues on to his destination of Manchester, when there were plenty of good airports close by. What part of this am I not getting? He should quickly have landed at the nearest available airport, rather than continuing on, especially over water."

Rubbish, it's not for you to be so quick to come to a conclusion about what this pilot should or shouldn't have done, without knowledge or appreciation of the operational situation the crew faced at the time. The decision to make an en-route diversion is based on so many factors which are simply not available to people on the ground, and certainly not to you or I discussing the event several days later.

As for the media and passenger remarks, they crack me up more every time. Passengers will always "cling to the armrests" and get "tossed about the cabin" and "scream with fear" in the unquestionable conclusion that they are "going to die" in these situations. Every time one of these events occurs the media go at it more and more.

All this "why did the Captain fly through the hailstones" and "why did he not divert" is just pure conjecture on our part. Let's wait for the facts (if we ever get any) before concluding that the pilots were to blame in this case.

At the end of the day that Captain will defend his decision to continue the flight to the destination. Should they have diverted? Whether they should or not, it isn't for you or I to challenge the decision without a thorough understanding of the incident which none of us have.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
EGGD
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Thu May 29, 2003 11:45 pm

I agree with you, Rick. What could the pilot have done to avoid what happened? Fly at 60,000ft to avoid the clouds?? If he'd have descended for all he knew it may have been worse, and obviously he wasn't suspecting such hail.

As there was no visible damage apart from the shattered windscreen (which as has been mentioned before, is not a huge deal when it comes to safety and happens more often than you'd think) the pilot was obviously inclined to carry on to his destination as the aircraft was still operating safely and was in a condition to fly.

As you can see it landed well enough, sure it was a bad experience for the passengers but it can't be helped, it does happen, it wasn't a major incident as such but obviously there was the element of danger there.. But nothing the pilots couldn't have handled.

Cheers

Dan
 
Bicoastal
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Fri May 30, 2003 12:51 am

I fly United all the time and listen to ground to air communication on Channel 9. Commercial pilots on the major airlines seem to do everything they can to aviod bad weather. Sometimes the pilots downright plead for ATC to reroute them or allow them to divert a few degrees to avoid a bad weather cell. They are always requesting higher or lower altitudes to find smooth air. Though the planes are built to withstand an awful lot, as a passenger, I appreciate what they do to provide as smooth a flight as possible. I'm not familiar with the practices of European airlines, but I appreciate what North American pilots do to make my flights enjoyable.
Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
David_itl
Topic Author
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Fri May 30, 2003 1:00 am


I've heard numerous pilots ask for deviation "due weather" when departing MAN on those rare occasions when we have 1 or 2 clouds congregating for a downpour; a few years ago, I remember a tremendous storm over the area in the early hours of the morning, turned on the scanner to hear KLM911 getting vectors that seemed to resemble a zig-zag pattern to avoid the worst of the build-ups.

David
 
work4bmi
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Fri May 30, 2003 2:22 am

Sure was a busy day, I tell yer! One of the weird things was another airbus flew out of Manchester (I think to collect the passengers, should the pilot land elsewhere after the storm) but this aircraft encountered a bird strike. I also expect that G-MIDJ will be flown down to EMA as a "dead-leg" as we call it in the trade, ample photo opportunity.
Fly Around The World : Above & Beyond
 
kellmark
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Fri May 30, 2003 2:57 am

Rick767 and EGGD. I stick to my guns on this one. What harm is it for the crew to have the best information both before the flight and during the flight? These type of incidents happen again and again because they simply don't have a system set up to provide it. Not only that. No one person can make the right decision 100% of the time. The system works best when the crew is given the proper support that they both need and deserve. Otherwise we will have more of these. It is accepted that aircraft need redundant systems, like more than one generator or hydraulic system. It is accepted that seat belts increase safety. It is also proven that a flight watch/following system does increase safety. And in fact it saves money, as there are normally fewer diversions and better flight planning solutions. And the Europeans DO simply launch off into the wild blue yonder without any inflight support from the airline. It is simply inexcusable. Why would the crew not want to have the best support possible? At present they most certainly do not. You say that this would "complicate" things. The best and most current information to a crew is in fact making things much easier for them, and helps remove complications.

Also, as far as what they could have done, in the US dispatchers have the ASD (Aircraft Situation Display) which gives them both realtime graphic images of the aircraft along with imposed weather systems. The point is that flights can be rerouted long before they arrive in the area of bad weather with appropriate fuel and alternate planning. Even when they encounter a bad area, a dispatcher can assist the crew with a better decision of which action to take. This kind of support has proven to be very valuable for crews. But again this doesn't exist in Europe. It is time for the ASD to be implemented in Europe as well.

And I still say that this crew did not do themselves or anyone else any favors if the aircraft has been damaged over Germany, to fly along to England. It is simply a question of putting a damaged aircraft on the ground as soon as possible at the most suitable airport in point of time. I also would not trivialize the passengers fear in this case, as even the Captain admitted that he had never seen anything like it.
 
BeltwayBandit
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Fri May 30, 2003 4:11 am

Am I correct in assuming that the nose cone is not within the pressurized portion of the fuselage? If it were, the hole would have been apparent to the crew.
 
DoorsToManual
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RE: Bmi A321 Struck By Lightning

Fri May 30, 2003 4:31 am

Nice to see everyone being so presumptuous.....