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eksath
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My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:47 pm

John Mageropoulos was a passenger on the LOT Polish Airlines Flight 16 and this is his first person account of his experience in the Airliners.net Article Forum


"My belly landing experience on LOT Polish Airlines flight 016"
By John Mageropoulos
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-articles/read.main?id=165


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Flight 16 was the passenger flight which made an emergency wheels up landing at Warsaw Chopin Airport, Poland, on 1 November 2011. All 231 aboard survived. The aircraft involved, a Boeing 767-300ER with registration SP-LPC, was operating as LOT Polish Airlines' scheduled international service from Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, USA, to Chopin. The preliminary report found that a hydraulic leak occurred shortly after takeoff, which resulted in a loss of all the hydraulic fluid that powered the primary landing gear system. It was classified as an aviation accident by State Commission on Aircraft Accidents Investigation in Poland.


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Byrdluvs747
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:10 pm

Pardon my lack of knowledge on the subject, but do modern widebody airliners have a way to manually deploy the landing gear?
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Mortyman
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:27 pm

Quoting Byrdluvs747 (Reply 1):
Pardon my lack of knowledge on the subject, but do modern widebody airliners have a way to manually deploy the landing gear?

I think most Aircraft have the possibility of letting their landing gir "fall" into place by their weight alone. There is always the possibility though, that they won't Lock into position.
 
cedarjet
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:58 pm

Thank you very much for taking the time to share this experience with us. I have flown LOT twice across the pond (only eastbound, once JFK-WAW and once YYZ-WAW) so I guess I can picture the flight in some ways (although my YYZ-WAW machine wasn't a proper LOT plane, it was painted in their livery and everything but it was an old banger from a leasing company, possibly brought in to replace SP-LPC; when the moving map cycled through it's pages of maps and flight data, it included a screen that said, "Thank you for flying Zoom Airlines").

It's crazy that the pax were held in the airport til 9.30pm. That is crazy. 12 hours? I would have left and told LOT where to send my bags after the first hour. I remember when USAir put a 737 into the East River after going off the end of a runway at LGA in the 90s with one fatality; two businessmen-type passengers were seen climbing out of the river and up an embankment to a highway where they flagged down a taxi, got in and drove off. Very New York.

I also think it's quite comical that LOT never even contacted you to apologise, let alone dump a gazillion frequent flyer miles into your Star Alliance account. Then again, I would fly them again but they aren't a great airline, Cathay Pacific they are not.

Thanks again for telling us your story here.
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:40 am

Very interesting first person account. Thank you for sharing!
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135mech
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:38 am

That is awesome that he wrote this for people to read on here! Thanks a bunch, and amazing how the very professional and "calm" LOT crew maintained the situation!

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konrad
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:11 am

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I am impressed by how cool you stayed throughout the incident. Was it the general attitude on board?

Also, did you try flying on LOT Dreamliners since then?

Being a long-haul flight from the US this accident had pretty good coverage in the news. There is also a number of clips on youtube showing the landing, see here and here.
 
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eksath
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:52 am

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 3):
I also think it's quite comical that LOT never even contacted you to apologise, let alone dump a gazillion frequent flyer miles into your Star Alliance account

It is very interesting that LOT never contacted John after he departed the airport that day. They certainly have all his information to do so.

There is a class action lawsuit in process for this event according to my current understanding. (John is not part of it.)
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transaeroyyz
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:17 am

So the pilot announcement was only stating it will be a emergency landing, not including it will be a belly landing, gear stuck. Would that create panic of the passengers? Maybe, but I would've have liked to know the full scale of the situation, like not to use the over the wing exits as friction of engine contact could ignite a fire.
 
jpmagero
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:48 am

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 3):
It's crazy that the pax were held in the airport til 9.30pm. That is crazy. 12 hours?

it was more like 7 hrs, but we were only really "held" for the first few hours while they sorted through passports, immigration, etc. We were in two rooms, then the police/immigration folks setup at the doorway of one of the lounges, anyone who had passports could line up and get processed. It was there that they captured our contact details in a notepad. After that, I think anyone that wanted could leave, but if we wanted our bags we had to wait. I had a few thousand dollars of equipment in my carry on (camera, lens, laptop, iPad, etc) so preferred to wait.

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 3):
I also think it's quite comical that LOT never even contacted you to apologise, let alone dump a gazillion frequent flyer miles into your Star Alliance account. Then again, I would fly them again but they aren't a great airline, Cathay Pacific they are not.

same here...very surprised to not hear anything yet. I flew back with them at the end of that week and there was no recognition of the event.

Quoting konrad (Reply 6):
Was it the general attitude on board?

- yes, no panic or screaming. a few gasps as we touched down, some clapping once we came to a stop, then it was quite calm on the way out. In my video, you can see everyone calmly strolling around until an emergency responded starts shouting as us to "get away from the plane!!!" After the event, some folks were visibly shaken, others crying quietly, others just taking it all in - but all seemed very calm.

Quoting eksath (Reply 7):
There is a class action lawsuit in process for this event according to my current understanding. (John is not part of it.)

That is my understanding as well - at least one fellow passenger I have contact may be part of this, but I am not.

Quoting transaeroyyz (Reply 8):
So the pilot announcement was only stating it will be a emergency landing, not including it will be a belly landing, gear stuck. Would that create panic of the passengers? Maybe, but I would've have liked to know the full scale of the situation, like not to use the over the wing exits as friction of engine contact could ignite a fire.

Agreed - there might have been more panic in response to "we're landing without wheels" vs "technical difficulties". Once we came to a stop, it was a good 5-10 seconds before the FAs told us to evacuate. I understand the flight attendants kept folks from evacuating over the wing (even though the slides were deployed) - only the fore/rear exits were used.
John M - Aussie expat in the US
 
solarflyer22
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:04 pm

Quoting Byrdluvs747 (Reply 1):
Pardon my lack of knowledge on the subject, but do modern widebody airliners have a way to manually deploy the landing gear?

There is a free drop capability that can be manually activated. I assume they tried it but it didn't work or got jammed. Essentially the gear is designed such that it will drop down and push open the landing bay doors just using gravity if the release pin has been released. The gear will then fall all the way down until it locks. If you look at the A380 development program on CNBC they initially failed that test. The gear unfolded but it hit the side of the bay door and got stuck during a ground test. In air, its hard to work because you have wind wrapping around the body of the aircraft. There is not really a perfect solution because you don't want the landing gear to open at 550 MPH either because it could cause a inflight breakup. Its better to do belly landings from time to time.
 
c680
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RE: My Belly Landing Experience On LOT Polish Airlines

Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:25 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 10):
you don't want the landing gear to open at 550 MPH either because it could cause a inflight breakup.

Well, first of all airspeed limitations are almost always given in knots, not MPH, and it's either indicated airspeed (IAS) or Mach

Second, most airframes Vne are significantly lower than 550 Mph

Third, Vle or Vlo limitations are almost always to prevent damage to the landing gear, and even then it's usually the gear doors that are the weak link.

I think it would be pretty hard to certify an airframe that could suffer structural damage due to a gear extension before something else failed, but hey, I'm just the pilot. I leave the design work to the smart guys with eingineering degrees.
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