Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:44 am

BA In Flight Incident

Thu Apr 19, 2001 10:46 pm

Can any pilots/ground engineers explain the autopilot system on say a B747.?

I am refering to the mid-air incident London to Nairobi BA flight when that disturbed person tried to kill all on board. What I would like to know is if you grab the control column will it respond? i.e does it disengage the auto pilot and respond???

Just a little confusing as to what happend up there in that flight deck?

I was also wondering if Bryan Ferry was going to bring out a new version of I'm all shook up! (He was on that flight)......sorry could not resist?



RE: BA In Flight Incident

Fri Apr 20, 2001 3:09 am

It is my understanding on the side of the yoke they have a button that needs to be pressed twice to disengage the autopilot, which I could see easily happening with a goings on in that cockpit. Also please note when you say mid-air, most people think of a mid-air collision, saying during flight, or while in cruise would not confuse as many!
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RE: BA In Flight Incident

Fri Apr 20, 2001 12:41 pm

The autopilot disconnect buttons that Iain refers to are provided to permit a graceful uncoupling of the autopilot and assumption of manual control. The idea is that the pilot would have his/her hands on the column while the autopilot lets go and transfers control to the pilot.

I believe there are also load cells in the column mechanism (I don't know if all aircraft have them) that sense a manual force on the column over a preset limit. This will also disconnect the autopilot. The intent is to provide the pilot with instant authority without having to fumble for a button. In case there is a violent pitch, or need to maneuver for traffic avoidance, etc., all the pilot has to do is grab the yoke hard and fly. This is not the most polite way to assume command, but at that point, who cares.

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RE: BA In Flight Incident

Fri Apr 20, 2001 6:41 pm

Well, I guess the cockpit intruder must have pulled the control column really hard in his agony. It must have gone over the preset limit and disconnected the autopilot. Thank you for that point, Boomer.
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RE: BA In Flight Incident

Fri Apr 20, 2001 8:09 pm

Here at Horizon we fly the Dash 8 and F-28 a/c. Both entirely different A/P systems. The Dash 8 has an A/P disconnect button on the yoke and it recquires just one push (another push to clear the advisor message) to disengage the A/P. The Dash 8 also has a TCS (touch ((tactile the French like to say)) control steering). You push the TCS button, maneuver the a/c, then release it and the A/P goes back to where it was. Handy for TCAS advisories etc.

The F-28 is plain manual over-ride. Move the yoke and it'll do what you want it to do.

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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:44 am

RE: BA In Flight Incident

Sat Apr 21, 2001 12:02 am

Thanks Guys,
Well that answers my question I suppose.

The cockpit intruder on that flight obviously managed to disengage the A/P by shear force on the yoke.

The pilots certainly did a good job that night and earned their pay!

A very scary experience Im sure for all.

BA have compensated all on that flight I believe, £2000 per px ($3000) + a return flight to any destination in the world on the same class ticket that they were travelling.



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