jacobin777
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White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 8:50 am

Did a search and didn't find it on the boards so I figured that I post it..

"SAN FRANCISCO -- Passengers aboard a Singapore Airlines flight had a few anxious moments early Wednesday when their 747-400 enroute to Hong Kong was forced to return to SFO because it blew out two tires on the left main landing gear during takeoff.

Video On Demand: Priya David Reports On Singapore Flight


The plane -- with 237 passengers and a crew of 21 aboard -- lifted off at 12:05 a.m. The captain radioed the tower a short time later when it was determined the tires had exploded and a return to the airport was necessary. The jet dumped most of its fuel over the Pacific so it could be light enough to land."


my questions are:
1) why didn't the continue the journey, since there was no more apparent problems with the flight in terms of any malfunctions (I assume the wheels were retracted by now),so why not just not fly to their destination point, they would not have had to dump all that fuel..., and they probably would have saved much more money by flying their passenegers to the arrival airport (i'm not saying its a money issue, but with only the tires blown, they could have flown the plane -unless they didn't know it was a couple of blown tires)

2)is it because of the BA occurences the past few weeks and SQ decided to take a more cautious approach?

rest of the story can be found at..

http://www.ktvu.com/news/4267593/detail.html
"Up the Irons!"
 
iowa744fan
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:02 am

I am more surprised that SQ1 only had 237 passengers on it.

I see your point that it would be better to fly onto HKG and land there instead of dumping the fuel and landing back at SFO unless there was another issue with the aircraft. Not sure.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:03 am

Quoting Jacobin777 (Thread starter):
my questions are:
1) why didn't the continue the journey, since there was no more apparent problems with the flight in terms of any malfunctions (I assume the wheels were retracted by now),so why not just not fly to their destination point, they would not have had to dump all that fuel..., and they probably would have saved much more money by flying their passenegers to the arrival airport (i'm not saying its a money issue, but with only the tires blown, they could have flown the plane -unless they didn't know it was a couple of blown tires)

Several reasons are possible. One of them being that maybe they have a maintenance base at SFO or they could more easily rebook the pax from there than from HGK.

As for the BA factor, that may well have been considered.
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SATL382G
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:07 am

Tire blowouts at takeoff speed can damage an aircraft. Better to go back to SFO and inspect for damage.
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KLMA330
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:09 am

"I am more surprised that SQ1 only had 237 passengers on it."

The same thought went through my head..

With the price of fuel as it is now, it would have made more sense.. perhaps the BA incidents played a role, for although the BA flights landed without incident, it was a PR disaster which I'm sure SQ didn't want to duplicate!
 
jacobin777
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:15 am

Quoting Iowa744fan (Reply 1):
I am more surprised that SQ1 only had 237 passengers on it.

that was the first thing which I thought of too..

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 5):
Tire blowouts at takeoff speed can damage an aircraft. Better to go back to SFO / KSFO), USA - California">SFO and inspect for damage.

what struck me was the reporter had stated the flight returned after 90 minutes from take off (according to the story, they contacted their "New Zealand" base), which is quite some time after takeoff....


Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
One of them being that maybe they have a maintenance base at SFO / KSFO), USA - California">SFO / KSFO), USA - California">SFO / KSFO), USA - California">SFO

I know United has a large maintenance base there, and I've seen a few AA's being serviced there, but nothing in terms of SQ.

[Edited 2005-03-11 01:16:28]

[Edited 2005-03-11 01:17:47]
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OPNLguy
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:21 am

There are a number of reasons why it made more sense to dump fuel and return to SFO, and I don't think the BA incident at SFO had anything to do with it.

The details from the news story still lack some specific info, but assuming that the tire(s) blew on the takeoff roll, one can also assume that they didn't want to retract the landing gear as would normally be the case. The tires that blew out may not have been in their original round shape, and may not have fit into the gear wells upon retraction. The crew may also been concerned about additional tires (on the same gear truck) also blowing once inside the wells, and creating damage to items inside the well.

If the gear couldn't be retracted due to any of the above, the flight sure wasn't going to make it to the original destination due to the increased drag of the extended gear adversely affecting fuel consumption. (Remember Hapag-Lloyd 3378 at VIE?)

Additionally, any gear/tire issues aside, why not deal with the emergency landing NOW, while the crew is still "fresh" versus making them do the emergency landing later, at the end of a long flight when they're more apt to be fatigued?

I'm not trained on the 747, and don't have access to the QRH for it, but these are a couple of things that came immediately to mind...
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planespotting
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:27 am

think of it this way

would you feel comfortable flying in a 747 across 6000 miles of water with a broken landing gear? It's a very real possibility that the aircraft could have sustained damage because of the landing gear breaking up on takeoff. What if that damage had caused some other problem that didn't show up until they were half way over the pacific? What if the have to divert to some field that doesn't really have that long of a runway? Definitely the safest option was to fly it back to SFO. Think if they would have flown it on to HKG and something else happened? Then everyone would be wondering why they didn't just land it back at SFO....
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jacobin777
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:45 am

The comments about returning to SFO may be true, but why after such a long period of time? I can understand maybe 10-15 minutes, but it was a 90 minute journey, which means it took them 45 minutes (approximately) to decide to return back...
"Up the Irons!"
 
Marcus
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:55 am

What is the BA incident people keep reffering to?
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africawings
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:57 am

"The comments about returning to SFO may be true, but why after such a long period of time? I can understand maybe 10-15 minutes, but it was a 90 minute journey, which means it took them 45 minutes (approximately) to decide to return back..."

Answer:
Keep in mind that it would take a while to dump that much fuel even in an emergency. Dumping fuel for a 13 hour flight would take over an hour.

(happened to me once; London to Washington. 777 had to dump fuel and land in Shannon Ireland. Took about 90 minutes from time of incidence being reported (smoke in cabin) to actually landing.
 
col
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:26 pm

Africawings,

Yep, takes quite a bit of time to dump the fuel. And they dump most of it, less chance of fire on landing if it goes wrong.

Only 237 pax, but all first and biz class!!
 
skywatch
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:03 pm

Marcus: The BA incident occurred recently. A British Airways 747 took off from LAX and experienced engine overheating 100ft. above the runway. The pilot was forced to shut down one engine, but he decided to continue his flight to LHR. He could not reach his filed cruising FL360, and only made it to FL290. Therefore, he could not get into the jetstream as well as planned. The aircraft eventually had to make an emergency landing in Manchester because of low fuel. This same aircraft, after being fitted with a new engine, had the same thing happen 3hrs. after departure from Singnapore. The pilot continued on for the remainder of the 13-hour flight, and arrived in Heathrow only 15 minutes late! British Airways has since changed their policies!
BA 744 Flies LAX-MAN With 3 Engines...WITH Pax! (by Pacific Feb 25 2005 in Civil Aviation)4/ British Airways 747 Flies Again On Three Engines (by Jacobin777 Mar 4 2005 in Civil Aviation)4/
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N754PR
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:14 pm

I'm shocked he retuned, after the 744 in Taipei that hit a tail stand denting the wing and still departed!!
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Kukkudrill
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:46 pm

Tyre blow-outs happened on a couple of Air Malta flights, from Glasgow and Moscow respectively to Malta if I remember right. In both cases the pilots dumped fuel and turned back rather than fly all the way to Malta. I think it was said at the time that this is a standing requirement in such cases, no doubt for the reasons OPNLguy gave. This was before the BA incident.
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stall
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:12 pm

Maybe the extend of the damage was unclear to the crew. So imagine that they kept going and when they are in the middle of the ocean they have to divert to an alternate (engine failure, medical emergency ... you name it). So now the crew have to land on one engine with maybe a damaged landing gear.
Better safe than sorry.
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tockeyhockey
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:31 pm


Several reasons are possible. One of them being that maybe they have a maintenance base at SFO or they could more easily rebook the pax from there than from HGK.


how is it easier to rebook the pax at SFO than in HKG when HKG was the destination city? man, that's some crazy logic!
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:20 pm

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 3):
Tire blowouts at takeoff speed can damage an aircraft. Better to go back to SFO and inspect for damage.

SATL382G and OPNLguy have the only pertinent answers. That's always the main concern with a tire failure on T/O. A shredded tire can damage flaps, rupture hydraulic brake lines, damage other tires and brakes and in some cases be injested into the eng. As OPNLguy pointed out we don't know if the gear was retracted or not. I don't know about the 747 but on the MD-11, ironically, the tire failure CAWS alert is inhibited from V1-20 kts to 400 feet RA. Luckily, on mine the tire stayed round so there was no damage and the flight continued.
As far as dump goes, a 747 driver can provide the avg. dump rate but till then the MD-11 is 5000lbs./min so a heavy jet can take along time dumping.
 
airbazar
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Sat Mar 12, 2005 12:24 am

Quoting Col (Reply 11):
Only 237 pax, but all first and biz class!!

And that's how you make money. Who cares if cattle class is half empty, as long as first and business are full or nearly full that's all that matters. Not to mention cargo.
 
PanAm747
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Sat Mar 12, 2005 1:21 am

http://www.aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19860331-1

http://www.aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19780301-0

These are two incidents relevant to the topic. The first is a blown tire with fatal consequences, and the second an aborted take-off. Either way, there is no such thing as a "safe" incident - every time something like this occurs, the potential is there for harm.
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flybyguy
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Sat Mar 12, 2005 1:27 am

The BA incident has everything to do with this decision. I believe the only other reason why the flight commander would have turned around was if he suspected the tire blowouts may have damaged the fuel tanks. Singapore Airlines would have had his head on a spike if he continued even if no significant damage was sustained. After the SARS scare, Singapore Airlines does not want any westerners fearing to fly Asian carriers for safety issues.

Singapore Airlines is uber rich anyway. In the time that they dumped all of that expensive fuel, booked passengers on new flights and put them up in hotels for the night, SQ would have at least broken even through operations elsewhere. Such costs are a drop in the bucket for an airline with such immense cash reserves.
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Tod
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:13 am

And they dump most of it, less chance of fire on landing if it goes wrong.


nope

they dump fuel because the plane exceeds max landing weight.
 
wbmech
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:28 am

Safety, that is why the aircraft turned back. That is also why the BA flight should have turned back as well. When you lose an engine on takeoff with a bang and flames or sparks coming out of the exhaust, sure it might just be that engine having a compressor stall or maybe damaged due to FOD. How did they know if it was FOD damage that it didn't damage the aircraft in any other way that may appear later on in flight?
 
khenleydia
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:02 am

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 3):
Tire blowouts at takeoff speed can damage an aircraft. Better to go back to SFO and inspect for damage.

Just remember, that is what they think caused the Concorde to catch fire then crash.

KhenleyDIA
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ltbewr
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:17 am

SQ made the right and proper decision here. There was a serious problem. They couldn't fully determine what damage they had incurred, which as noted could have included engine, flaps, landing gear structure, and so on. They apparently followed SQ SOP here. They had just departed from a major airport with high quality emergency facilities that could be needed if the damage would affect the ability to make a normal landing. Yes, SQ is one of the more profitable airlines in the world, but one reason they are is by providing safe service to all their passanger/customers, and here they were more concerned about the safety of them over money.
 
avek00
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:19 am

While I commend the SQ001 crew for returning the plane safely to SFO, the SQ safety propaganda kick some a.netters are spouting is unwarranted - this is, after all, the same airline who had a 747-4000 take off into a typhoon ON THE WRONG RUNWAY...
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SFOJFK
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RE: White Knuckle Moments On Singapore Airlines Flight

Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:34 am

Quoting Jacobin777 (Reply 5):
I know United has a large maintenance base there, and I've seen a few AA's being serviced there, but nothing in terms of SQ.

AA used to have their own maintenance base at SFO for the 767. They used to perform B checks in the midfield hangar. The UA MOC is on the northern end of SFO.

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