trekster
Posts: 4319
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 2:47 am

Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 5:25 pm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/4170948.stm

http://www.airdisaster.com/cgi-bin/v...eg=G-BGJL&airline=British+Airtours
http://www.airdisaster.com/special/special-bakt28m.shtml

Today marks the 20 years since an accident that changed the aviation industry (if not changed, certainly made them move a lot faster) to implement so many different safety regulations


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Howard Chaloner



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Derek Ferguson



[Edited 2005-08-22 10:32:18]
Where does the time go???
 
Capital146
Posts: 2099
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:45 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:06 pm

Incredible to think 20 years have passed since that horrific incident, I can remember it happening so clearly even though I was only a child at the time.

Like you say, a number of significant safety regulations were implemented, particularly on UK airlines as a direct result of this tragedy, let's hope that the lives which have been saved because of these actions offered some kind of comfort to those who lost loved ones that day.
Like a fine wine, one gets better with age.
 
skidmarks
Posts: 6614
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:51 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:21 pm

Quoting Capital146 (Reply 1):
I can remember it happening so clearly even though I was only a child at the time.

Pull the other one Dave Big grin

Seriously, it was a tragedy which has made air travel just that bit safer. Shame things like that have to happen before beancounters sit up and take notice.

Andy  old 
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
trekster
Posts: 4319
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 2:47 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:29 pm

Skidmarks, u definatly would remember this one Smile

I do remember it coming on the news and the family being shocked when it happened and i was only 4 at the time.

I have never forgotten this one
Where does the time go???
 
skidmarks
Posts: 6614
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:51 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:51 pm

I do remember it, and the pictures shown at the time. The arguments afterwards coupled with the hurried development of smokehoods and such were very public.

But, it did stimulate the safety culture and, although people pay lip service to the on-board briefings, it also beefed up the airlines safety responsibilities.

As it was, I was in the RAF at that time going through a divorce and civilian air travel was something that happened to other people Big grin

Andy  old 
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
ACEregular
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2003 8:00 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:34 pm

I remember it well too, even though I was fairly young. I think the image of a burnt out plane is a graphic one for any individual and will stick in the mind easily. I think the fact it happened so close to home in the peak of summer when lots of people just like them were off on their holidays. I remember also watching the documentary a few years ago about the survivors, one lady going on holiday with a girlfriend (I think she was the furthestmost survivor from the rear). She was terrified to fly after, but I read an article not long ago about her taking her first flight since the disaster with her Daughter. they flew on Excel Airways (B738) to Malaga. Excel were by all accounts very good and let her have a good look about the plane before she commited herself to flight.

Lets not forget the unlucky 53 passengers and 2 cabin crew who were lost that day.
 
Orion737
Posts: 3044
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:14 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:13 pm

I recall that evacuation in that tightly configured 737-200 wasnt easy and that accident resulted in similarly high density configured 732s having to either remove a seat at the exit row or increase pitch along the exit row to facilitate emergency evacuation.
 
BCAL
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:16 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:29 pm

Quoting Orion737 (Reply 6):
I recall that evacuation in that tightly configured 737-200 wasnt easy and that accident resulted in similarly high density configured 732s having to either remove a seat at the exit row or increase pitch along the exit row to facilitate emergency evacuation.

I cannot recall this but I do recall that the installation of emergency lighting along the floor to guide passengers to the exits was one of the recommendations of the report of the accident.

For anybody wishing to read the report of the accident here is the link
www.aaib.gov.uk/sites/aaib/cms_resources/dft_avsafety_pdf_502609.pdf

I remember this accident very well. I arrived at work that day, completely unaware that there had been any crash, and a colleague told me as soon as he came through the door that a plane had caught fire at Manchester, killing all on board. I immediately tuned into the news (internet was not common in those days) to find out more information and I remember clearly the headlines of the midday papers showing a picture of the burning 737 and the headline "54 survive inferno on holiday jet".
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
Orion737
Posts: 3044
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:14 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:46 pm

Some years afterwards I flew a BY 732 and the emergency exit rws had the window seats missing, so there was just the centre and aisle seats at the overwing exit rows.

I thought I read somewhere that this was done to fulfill a requirement bought about by the reccommendations of the Manchester accident.

Somehow, I cannot see BY or any other charter airline doing away with 2 seats unless they were forced into it!
 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 7:10 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:15 pm

This crash was the reason NG 737s have their overwing exits on a hinge by the way. 737s don't have a bulkhead in front of the left hand side of row 1 anymore, and a wider gap for the overwing exits, thanks to this crash.

What was amazing (to me) is how a modern (at the time) aircraft at a busy airport with significant fire-fighting capability involved in a moderate pooled-fuel fire with half of the doors working and light wind resulted in 50+ deaths.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
Orion737
Posts: 3044
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:14 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:24 pm

Before the reccomendations regarding access to exits were implemented, evacuating a 130 seat 737-200 wasnt an easy task, particularly if one or more of the exits were unavailable for a time, as in the manchester accident.

Many UK charter airlines chose to remove the window seat at the emergency exit row to improve access in the wake of the accident. that was a positive to come out of that horrific accident.
 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 7:10 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:34 pm

http://baaa-acro.com/photos/B737-200-British%20Airtours-Manchester.jpg



The latter picture is the scariest, in my opinion. Anyone familiar with MAN knows that view well - the pier is what is now the end of pier B.

Edit: Note the two Orion 737s!

[Edited 2005-08-22 15:37:56]
Your bone's got a little machine
 
Orion737
Posts: 3044
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:14 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:39 pm

Yes, haunting sight indeed. Look on the apron, sign of the times a Dan Air 1-11, 732 and my namesake, an orion 732 and 733.

I think of all those people trapped in the claustrophobic confines of that 732, one minute excited and looking forward to a well deserved holiday, the next trapped in a smoke filled hell.
 
User avatar
ZSOFN
Posts: 1379
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:20 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:16 pm

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 9):
This crash was the reason NG 737s have their overwing exits on a hinge by the way

Do they also have the missing window seats at the exits too? I noticed those missing when travelling with a 6' 6" friend on a couple of U2 flights shortly after they began to receive the 73Gs, however recently there seemed to be window seats all along. How come this was the case? Or was I mistaken?
 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 7:10 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:57 pm

Quoting ZSOFN (Reply 13):
Do they also have the missing window seats at the exits too?

I certainly think BA made their 737s 2x2 directly adjacent the overwing exits, but easyJet and Ryanair (and I presume all the low-cost airlines) tend to stick with the 3x3. I think the biggest bit of layout legislation to come from this crash was an increase in the pitch of the overwing row. G-BGJL only had 32'' pitch at the exit row.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
TIMC
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2005 11:05 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:16 am

I was only 2 at the time! Don't remember any of it...

Its good that it had such an impact on safety though, its unfortunate that lessons have to be learnt in that way.
 
leisurejet
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:30 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:57 am

I remember this accident really well and for two reasons...

Firstly - At the time of the crash, I was living and working in Ottawa, Canada and had just boarded an Eastern Provincial Airways (now, there is a blast from the passed) Boeing 737-200 (same aircraft type as this) and after settling into my economy seat, was handed the morning paper (yes, those were the days) and saw on the bottom of the front page, a picture and the article of this crash...

Bad enough, I was about the fly on the same aircraft type, but when I read on further, I realised it had happened at my "home airport" as I am from Manchester in England originally and as you can imagine, this really hit me sideways and I have to say, despite all the flying I had done, I felt for the first time, somewhat apprehensive. Anyhow, the flight was just fine and my time (my first visit) in Halifax was far better than I anticipated...

Secondly - Several years later, when I was living and working back in the UK again, I was asked by the travel company I was working with at the time to arrange a multitude of "first time flyer" flights from various parts of the country, one of which though, was to go from Manchester.

As it transpired, one of the passengers, who was wanting to take this flight (and thankfully I was informed prior to the day of the actual flight) was one of the passengers who luckily escaped (although not totally unharmed) from this aircraft and this was to be the first time that he had try to take a flight since then, feeling that this was the best way to try and deal with it.

Arrangements were made for a doctor from the medical facility at Manchester Airport and a pilot from the airline operating the flights (and am sorry, for the life of me I cannot remember which airline this was) to accompany him on the flight and talk him though the whole process and procedure and he did it, albeit sweating profusely for the first 15 minutes and since then (as far as I am aware) he was able to fly again...

So, as you can imagine, this crash certainly did make an impression on me, in more ways than one...
 
trident2e
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:38 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:13 am

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 9):
737s don't have a bulkhead in front of the left hand side of row 1 anymore

I was in seat 1A on an AF 737 recently, and the bulkhead was still there.
 
GDB
Posts: 12652
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:57 am

I remember it all too well.

At work at BA at LHR, in those days, pre e-mail, pre internet, VDU's in BA (in our case purely internal to check the spares stock system), had the facility to send a message to another one if you had the receiving VDU's number.
Mostly used by enthusiasts reporting a rare type at LHR, send the occasional jokey insult to someone you knew!

But on that day these one of two line messages at the bottom of the screen started appearing, about a 737 a MAN, followed by how it was on fire, then finally a rising death tool.
 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 7:10 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:18 am

Quoting Trident2e (Reply 17):
I was in seat 1A on an AF 737 recently, and the bulkhead was still there.

The CAA certainly don't allow it for British-registered aircraft anymore.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
MYT332
Posts: 7283
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2003 7:31 pm

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:24 am

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 11):
The latter picture is the scariest, in my opinion. Anyone familiar with MAN knows that view well

Yes I agree, I saw that and it made me sit up. It's hard to envison that actually happening at such a familiar place to me.
One Life, Live it.
 
trekster
Posts: 4319
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 2:47 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:26 am

It is a very recognisable spot. But just THINK if that happened now. The avp is right opposite to where it happened  Sad

[Edited 2005-08-22 21:27:51]
Where does the time go???
 
Demoose
Posts: 1891
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2001 8:06 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:28 am

That is the view I have from my office. It's a very striking image. I flew from MAN to Corfu on a 737-200 a month before this disaster, it still makes my mum scared when she hears about it.

Mark
Take a ride...fly across the sky
 
trident2e
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:38 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:54 am

I flew on that very aircraft just a couple of weeks before the accident. The Aviation Society in Manchester chartered it for a day trip to Fairford (I think it was Fairford). After arrival the aircraft did a display for the crowd then took us back home to MAN later in the evening.
 
ACEregular
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2003 8:00 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Wed Aug 24, 2005 3:13 am

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 19):
Quoting Trident2e (Reply 17):
I was in seat 1A on an AF 737 recently, and the bulkhead was still there.

The CAA certainly don't allow it for British-registered aircraft anymore.

I have boarded 737's of BA, BY, XLA and found the forward left hand bulkhead still in place, I think on some planes it looks smart as it acts as a vestibule keeping the cabin clear of the elements while boarding takes place. Whether practical in an emergency is debatable but they certainly are still allowed on UK registered aircraft.
 
trekster
Posts: 4319
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 2:47 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Wed Aug 24, 2005 3:15 am

Smae with the 735 i think it was i flew back up to manchester, i was in teh b/h positon in the window seat, i looked over and there were was a bulkhead in front of ABC seating
Where does the time go???
 
philb
Posts: 2645
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 5:53 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Wed Aug 24, 2005 6:43 am

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 9):
737s don't have a bulkhead in front of the left hand side of row 1 anymore

Until withdrawal, at least one easyJet 737, G-EZYA, had a front left hand bulkhead in place. Last flew on it LPL-GVA in 1999 but many times before. This was ex Monarch and wasn't typical of the 737-300 fleet.

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 9):
What was amazing (to me) is how a modern (at the time) aircraft at a busy airport with significant fire-fighting capability involved in a moderate pooled-fuel fire with half of the doors working and light wind resulted in 50+ deaths.

The cause of the rapid burning of the fuselage was the fact that the pilot in command turned the aircraft off the runway, towards the fire station putting the fuselage across the wind on the side the fire was coming from.

One of the recommendations of the AIB was that, if fire breaks out on the ground, the aircraft should be turned to shield the side on fire from the wind.
 
philb
Posts: 2645
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 5:53 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:10 am

The day before the accident was a slow day at Manchester. I was on holiday at the time and, the afternoon before, went down to the unofficial viewing point at Jackson's brickworks and took some photos from one of the mounds including a Wardair 747 taking off and a number of regulars.

As I said, it was a slow afternoon. Most of the noise that day was coming from one of the so called south bays which were between the finger piers, opposite the terminal.

Aircraft not required for some time were regularly parked there for hours and engine runs up to full power were permitted when there was nothing landing or taking off.

British Airtours G-BGJL was parked in one of the bays all the time I was there and, for a period of an hour or so, was running engines up to full power.

When the runs were completed the engineer reported shut down to the tower and commented he wouldn't require further runs as all was satisfactory.

During the investigation into the accident, it transpired that the crew bringing the aircraft in from Greece on the preceding flight had snagged the engine that eventually caused the accident on the basis of power losses and surges in the climb and cruise. The aircraft was taken out of service for checks.

Of course the basic cause, a previously cracked and repaired compression chamber, could not be detected by the checks carried out that afternoon.

Given the time the engine was running that afternoon, much at 75% and full power, it is perhaps fortunate for those that survived that the engineer persevered for so long.

Had the failure occurred during an en route climb or other application of power whilst airborne and the uncontained failure of the casing punctured the wing tanks as happened on the ground, then all would have died in a mid air explosion. On the other hand another 10 minutes testing at full power may have destroyed a parked aircraft.
 
philb
Posts: 2645
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 5:53 am

RE: Manchester Airport Disaster 1985

Wed Aug 24, 2005 8:41 am

Quoting Philb (Reply 26):
Quoting 777236ER (Reply 9):
What was amazing (to me) is how a modern (at the time) aircraft at a busy airport with significant fire-fighting capability involved in a moderate pooled-fuel fire with half of the doors working and light wind resulted in 50+ deaths.

Going back to this point, I've just read the AAIB report's precis regarding the primary cause. To quote:

"As the aircraft turned off, a wind of 7 knots from 250° carried the fire onto and around the rear fuselage. After the aircraft stopped the hull was penetrated rapidly and smoke, possibly with some flame transients, entered the cabin through the aft right door which was opened shortly before the aircraft came to a halt. Subsequently fire developed within the cabin. Despite the prompt attendance
of the airport fire service, the aircraft was destroyed and 55 persons on board lost their lives.

The cause of the accident was an uncontained failure of the left engine, intitiated by a failure of the No 9 combustor can which had been the subject of a repair. A section of the combustor can, which was ejected forcibly from the engine, struck and fractured an underwing fuel tank access panel. The fire which resulted developed catastrophically, primarily because of adverse orientation of the parked aircraft relative to the wind, even though the wind was light.

Major contributory factors were the vulnerability of the wing tank access panels to impact, a lack of any effective provision for fighting major fires inside the aircraft cabin, the vulnerability of the aircraft hull to external fire and the extremely toxic nature of the emissions from the burning interior"

What I had forgotten when I typed my post re the day before was the aircraft had performed two sectors between the engine runs and the fatal take off attempt. Quoting the report again:

"The aircraft documents on the flight deck were examined and an entry in the technical log (entered on the previous day) relating to slow acceleration of No 1 (left) engine was discussed, the co-pilot having been a member of the
crew on that occasion. As there had been no reported problems on the two flights after remedial action had been carried out, the commander signed his acceptance of the aircraft in the technical log."

Obviously there are around 220 people who, in addition to the accident survivors, are lucky to have survived their journey in that aircraft between the late afternoon of the 21st and the morning of the 22nd when it logged 7 hours 14 minutes in flight, arriving back at Manchester at 04.30 on the morning of the accident.

It is interesting to note the terms used in the official document and the information that was coming out during the investigation. A number of contemporary professional aviation journals and accident updates refer to the engine problems on the flight fom Greece on the morning of the 21st and previously on the 18th and 5th of August in a much more expansive way than the official report but the official report quotes the tech log and it is engine spool up and acceleration problems that are logged.

After the engine runs on the afternoon of the 21st, the fault was logged as an acceptable deferred defect and crews were asked to note further problems with a view to sending the aircraft to Gatwick for further checks if necessary. No snags were noted on the two sectors flown in the late evening and early morning of 21/22 August.

In some ways it is a long time ago. In others it seems like yesterday but the lessons for safety in 100% survivable aircraft accidents were some of the most significant ever.

Very few aircraft come to a halt in a serious emergency with the whole complement of crew and passengers uninjured and able to eveacuate. Had the Manchester event not happened I just wonder what the consequences would have been for the A340 pax and crew at Toronto?