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nitepilot79
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Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 1:54 pm

If an airliner had to make an emergency landing in the north pole (god forbid), and by some miracle there were survivors, how would they survive? Is there a search and rescue plan in place that would get rescuers to the site within any reasonable amount of time? I realize that today's airliners are said to be more reliable than ever, but better safe than sorry as they say.
 
rscaife1682
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 2:02 pm

Polar Route aircraft have to have polar survival equipment on board the aircraft.

This equipment helps for short term situations only.

RYAN
FLTOPS
 
BigGSFO
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 2:14 pm

Extremely unlikely as there are ample diversion points along the north pole. I do believe Northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Siberia all have runways and (albeit limited) facilities to handle an airliner in case of an emergency.
 
RussianJet
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 2:22 pm

Quoting rscaife1682 (Reply 1):
Polar Route aircraft have to have polar survival equipment on board the aircraft

What kind of equiment exactly?
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
 
Transpac787
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 2:25 pm

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 3):
What kind of equiment exactly?

In the case of DL (I don't know if it's a company thing or FAR mandated) there are climate suits for the crew for use anytime they need to leave the aircraft.
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 2:36 pm

Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 4):
there are climate suits for the crew for use anytime they need to leave the aircraft.

and of course the First Class passengers.         
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
 
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nitepilot79
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 2:45 pm

Quoting biggsfo (Reply 2):
Extremely unlikely as there are ample diversion points along the north pole. I do believe Northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Siberia all have runways and (albeit limited) facilities to handle an airliner in case of an emergency.

To be more specific, basically a ditching, like after a double engine failure. Or some other serious emergency.
 
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nitepilot79
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 2:49 pm

Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 4):
In the case of DL (I don't know if it's a company thing or FAR mandated) there are climate suits for the crew for use anytime they need to leave the aircraft.


What about the passengers? When I said emergency landing I should have been more specific. I meant more of an emergency ditching; whereas the hull integrity would most likely be compromised and the elements would affect the cabin.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 2:58 pm

Quoting nitepilot79 (Thread starter):
If an airliner had to make an emergency landing in the north pole (god forbid), and by some miracle there were survivors, how would they survive? Is there a search and rescue plan in place that would get rescuers to the site within any reasonable amount of time? I realize that today's airliners are said to be more reliable than ever, but better safe than sorry as they say.
Quoting nitepilot79 (Reply 6):
To be more specific, basically a ditching, like after a double engine failure. Or some other serious emergency.

The survivors would have to improvise. No airplane carries all of the emergency equipment necessary to ensure the survival of every passenger in every contingency imaginable. Even if you consider a water landing such as US 1549, the lifejackets and flotation devices would not have kept all of the passengers alive if that jet had landed anywhere but the Hudson River.
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 3:08 pm

Not sure about other airlines but an airlines I know well carries two artic survival suits...for potantially 320 people. I guess they have to learn to share.
 
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airbuseric
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 3:09 pm

Passenger aircraft have not such thing as polar survival kits, for passenger use. At least, not as far as I know from my job. Yes, they do excist for flightcrew though.

Aircraft in trouble can always divert to a nearest diversion airport in case of e.g. engine malfunction. If something more serious happens, survival chances are already very limited usually.
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
mrskyguy
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 3:14 pm

What diversion airports exist above the arctic circle? Sure, ETOPS 180 gives you (hopefully) 2 hours of diversion time to the nearest capable field in the event of an engine failure for a twin.. but what of a diversion for more serious purposes such as fire, structural issues, etc. where an emergency landing is required? Swissair 111 comes to mind as an example.

I realize the question is near moot, as an aircraft experiencing such issues over water with no suitable diversion fields would simply have to ditch and pray for the best. But crossing the arctic circle, there's land and [possibly] suitable fields in length to accept an aircraft as large as a 777 or a 747? What fields might these be?

[Edited 2010-05-24 08:15:04]
"The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee." -- Gunter's 2nd Law of Air
 
EDICHC
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 3:18 pm

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 11):
Aircraft in trouble can always divert to a nearest diversion airport in case of e.g. engine malfunction. If something more serious happens, survival chances are already very limited usually.

And in the context of the north polar region more so. Simple fact is if a commercial airliner cannot make any of it's diversion airports and has to land at or near the north pole it will amount to a situation even worse than a ditching at sea. The north pole has no land surface within several hundred miles. It only has a surprisingly few feet of pack ice that may not sustain the weight of impact. So hitting a hard surface then being immersed in freezing cold water does not bode well for anyone surviving the 'landing'.

[Edited 2010-05-24 08:36:33]
A300/319/320/346 ATR72 B722/732/3/4/5/6/8/742/4/752/762/3/772/3 BAC111 BAe146 C172 DHC1/6/8 HS121 MD80 PA28
 
Ditzyboy
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 3:31 pm

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 11):
Passenger aircraft have not such thing as polar survival kits, for passenger use.

Qantas carries them for each passenger on Antarctic sightseeing charters. They are not as protective as the crew one, but better than nothing.
 
jetstar
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 3:34 pm

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 8):
The survivors would have to improvise. No airplane carries all of the emergency equipment necessary to ensure the survival of every passenger in every contingency imaginable. Even if you consider a water landing such as US 1549, the lifejackets and flotation devices would not have kept all of the passengers alive if that jet had landed anywhere but the Hudson River.

As far as I know, there has to be a life jacket for every passenger, usually located under the seat and enough flotation gear for all passengers, either in life rafts or emergency exit slides or a combination of both. As in the case of US 1549, some of the passengers were able to use the 2 forward slides as life rafts.

What happened in US 1549 was the 2 rear flotation devices were unusable because the 2 rear doors where they are attached was underwater because of the way the airplane landed, tail first which caused some of the structure to fail letting in water in the rear part of the fuselage.

Even in my corporate aviation days, when we flew the JetStar on over water flights, except Northeast to Florida, but like to Bermuda or even across the Atlantic, we were required to have a life jacket for each person on board and a life raft big enough to hold everybody, this was an FAA regulation and we operated under Part 91 general aviation rules, not Part 125 airline rules.

JetStar
 
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airbuseric
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 4:11 pm

Quoting ditzyboy (Reply 14):
Qantas carries them for each passenger on Antarctic sightseeing charters.

That's not a standard operation of course. In general airlines won't carry it for each passenger, but only the general emergency equipment as can be found also on other routes.

Polar kits include e.g. extra flashlights, signal kit (smoke/flares) etc.
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
gatorfan
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Mon May 24, 2010 4:14 pm

Seems like the beginning of the new ABC spin-off:

Cold & Lost - The Article Circle.
 
413X3
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Tue May 25, 2010 5:27 am

great, thanks for giving them another awful idea for a tv show that they will find a way to stretch for a decade... UGH
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Tue May 25, 2010 5:38 am

Quoting nitepilot79 (Reply 7):
When I said emergency landing I should have been more specific. I meant more of an emergency ditching; whereas the hull integrity would most likely be compromised and the elements would affect the cabin.

That's called a crash, basically. There's no requirement that you be able to survive that in any climate, let alone the north pole.

Quoting MrSkyGuy (Reply 11):
Sure, ETOPS 180 gives you (hopefully) 2 hours of diversion time to the nearest capable field in the event of an engine failure for a twin..

ETOPS 180 gives you far more than 2 hours...you've got until you exhaust your fuel. How far that is depends on where you were in the flight when it happened but, given the length of your normal polar flight and assuming a worst case point for the engine failure, you've probably got 5-6 hours of diversion time.

Tom.
 
A342
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Tue May 25, 2010 2:43 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 18):
ETOPS 180 gives you far more than 2 hours...you've got until you exhaust your fuel. How far that is depends on where you were in the flight when it happened but, given the length of your normal polar flight and assuming a worst case point for the engine failure, you've probably got 5-6 hours of diversion time.

I thought ETOPS 180 = 180 minutes = three hours?
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Tue May 25, 2010 3:12 pm

Quoting A342 (Reply 19):

I thought ETOPS 180 = 180 minutes = three hours?

Yes. That's the minimum certified time. However that doesn't mean the remaining engine will stop at 181 minutes. It will most likely still run for quite a while.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
 
A342
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Tue May 25, 2010 9:44 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
Yes. That's the minimum certified time. However that doesn't mean the remaining engine will stop at 181 minutes. It will most likely still run for quite a while.

Yes, of course. But I take "diversion time" to mean the amount of time needed to reach the nearest alternate airport. Under ETOPS 180, that's a maximum of 180 minutes. So I don't understand where the 5 to 6 hours comes from?
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Tue May 25, 2010 11:03 pm

Quoting A342 (Reply 21):
But I take "diversion time" to mean the amount of time needed to reach the nearest alternate airport. Under ETOPS 180, that's a maximum of 180 minutes.

Correct. But that's the diversion time required, not the diversion time available. An aircraft on an ETOPS-180 flight plan may be capable of flying far further than 180 minutes from the time of the engine failure.

Quoting A342 (Reply 21):
So I don't understand where the 5 to 6 hours comes from?

That's capability...if you're on a polar flight (10+ hours) and you suffer the worse-case engine-failure point, you should be about 180 minutes from at least 2 diversion airports. But you've still got the fuel to complete the remainder of the originally planned flight (plus reserves), plus a potential time extension (though not range extension) for flying slower and running your remaining engine at higher efficiency.

This whole tangent started here:

Quoting MrSkyGuy (Reply 11):
Sure, ETOPS 180 gives you (hopefully) 2 hours of diversion time

ETOPS-180 gives you way more than 2 hours of potential diversion time, that was my only point.

Tom.
 
YWG
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed May 26, 2010 2:38 am

Kind of reminds me of this incident a while back. Not on a Polar Route, but far enough north that they we're ready for it (stairs, hotels, etc).

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Chris Baxter
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Chris Baxter

Quoting MrSkyGuy (Reply 11):
crossing the arctic circle, there's land and [possibly] suitable fields in length to accept an aircraft as large as a 777 or a 747? What fields might these be?

Lots of Tundra and Muskeg, so one could guess that in the odd ODD event of a dead stick landing up there, it may work out with a gear collapse and small fire. I think ever captain would rather limp to the nearest airport on fumes and one engine rather than consider that.

Quoting ditzyboy (Reply 13):
Qantas carries them for each passenger on Antarctic sightseeing charters. They are not as protective as the crew one, but better than nothing.

Good call by QF. I never leave home without the proper gear to survive in any weather enroute during my blocks.
Contact Winnipeg center now on 134.4, good day.
 
j0rdan
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed May 26, 2010 6:06 am

I remember reading in "From the Flight Deck" by Capt. Doug Morris that Tiksi, Russia (IATA:IKS/ICAO:UEST) is a suitable airport for landing with a 9845 x 194 ft concrete runway available, I'm not sure what other field services are available. Does anybody else know? The airport appears to have 3x weekly scheduled service to Yakutsk, Russia (IATA:YKS/ICAO:UEEE) on Yakutia Airlines (IATA:R3/ICAO:SYL) with Antonov An-24 aircraft. Is there any other suitable airports near the poles?

Jordan
 
A342
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed May 26, 2010 7:29 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 22):
But you've still got the fuel to complete the remainder of the originally planned flight (plus reserves), plus a potential time extension (though not range extension) for flying slower and running your remaining engine at higher efficiency.

Ok, now I understand. Thank you.
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
northstardc4m
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed May 26, 2010 1:35 pm

Quoting j0rdan (Reply 24):
Is there any other suitable airports near the poles?

Alert CFB is listed as a divert point for some airlines, wouldn't want to try it though.
Thule AFB in Greenland would be suitable
Svalbard has a decent runway as well but is pretty far off the normal polar tracks

otherwise: Keflavik, Iqaluit, Inuvik, Barrow...

Perhaps the best case study though would be the crash of Boxtop 22, A CAF Hercules south of Alert. Survivors managed to stay alive for 2 days in very severe winter arctic weather conditions (in Arctic night as well), though they were for the most part wearing arctic clothing (heavy jackets and snowpants, boots, gloves and had fleece on underneath along with survival training for most of them.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
MrChips
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed May 26, 2010 8:53 pm

In the event of an accident or off-airport landing in the Far North, there are plans for such an occurrence. At CFB Trenton, a Hercules stands on permanent alert to be loaded with a crew of SAR Techs and a large, air-droppable payload called the MAJAID package. Essentially, the goal of this aircraft is to deliver survival gear and medical aid sufficient to keep survivors alive until a more substantial rescue effort can be organised - about 72 hours or so. All the while, civilian and military SAR units will have mobilised and should either be on scene or enroute to the site of the aircraft. In addition, international cooperation is likely in the event of a major accident - Canada, Russia and the US hold joint Arctic SAR exercises every couple of years or so for this very scenario.
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BravoOne
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:26 pm

Quoting j0rdan (Reply 24):

Just came across this thread and to answer JOrdan's question there are only two airports north of the Arctic cirlce that would be suitable alternates. Svalbard and Thule. However there are many other suitable airports within the polar ops area of operations.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:55 am

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 26):
Alert CFB is listed as a divert point for some airlines

I'm surprised that a 5,500 ft. gravel runway would be considered an acceptable divert point for any of the widebody aircraft types operating Polar routes.
 
A346Dude
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:13 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 29):
I'm surprised that a 5,500 ft. gravel runway would be considered an acceptable divert point for any of the widebody aircraft types operating Polar routes.

Guess it depends how desperate you are. Barring any major controllability issues or runway contamination, most crews should be able to get their craft stopped on 5,500 feet of gravel. Getting it out would be another matter of course.

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 28):
Just came across this thread and to answer JOrdan's question there are only two airports north of the Arctic cirlce that would be suitable alternates. Svalbard and Thule. However there are many other suitable airports within the polar ops area of operations.


Are you forgetting SFJ?

[Edited 2014-04-22 19:29:21]
You know the gear is up and locked when it takes full throttle to taxi to the terminal.
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:06 am

Quoting A346Dude (Reply 30):
Are you forgetting SFJ?

Probably because SFJ is barely inches North of the Arctic Circle.

But it has been visited by An-225 and also Concorde.

On the other hand Station North in North-Eastern Greenland has a 6000 ft gravel runway (well, snow during the roughly ten winter months). It is at 81 deg 36 min North. But I am not sure it can be used very often. Maybe they clean the runway for snow drifts only when a supply C-130 from the Danish Air Force is expected.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
A346Dude
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:44 am

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 31):
Probably because SFJ is barely inches North of the Arctic Circle.

True, and looking into it more there's also MMK, TOS, LKL, BOO, and KTT north of the Arctic Circle, all with paved runways over 8,000 ft. None are particularly far north however.

[Edited 2014-04-22 20:45:13]
You know the gear is up and locked when it takes full throttle to taxi to the terminal.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:37 am

Disregard.... I found what I was looking for.

[Edited 2014-04-23 03:48:34]
 
flyingturtle
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:13 am

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 33):
Disregard.... I found what I was looking for.

A huge aircraft carrier made of ice?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Habakkuk


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:58 pm

My error as what I meant the first time was airports above 78N which is the defining lat for the polar region.
 
chuchoteur
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:32 pm

One of the northernmost airports designated for polar route diversions is Longyearbyen (LYR).
Boeing went up there a few years back with their testbed 777 and 787 in order to do the airport compatibility work.

The airfield and rescue services are coordinated by the Governor of Svalbard's office, and they technically have sufficient rescue means to accept diversions, as well as the infrastructure to cater for the pax (heated hangars, folding beds, deployable field hospital to supplement the existing infrastructure - the Longyearbyen Red Cross is actually one of the best equipped units under norwegian governance).

Off-airport, the "Arctic Council" or A8 (composed of nations with rescue means north of the arctic circle - USA, Canada, Russia, Greenland/Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland) have protocols in place to activate and coordinate rescue means.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:33 pm

Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 36):
One of the northernmost airports designated for polar route diversions is Longyearbyen (LYR).
Boeing went up there a few years back with their testbed 777 and 787 in order to do the airport compatibility work.



Here is a peice of trivia for you. All of the Boeing FCOMs have a Latitude limiiation for aligning the IRS/ADIRU/ERS and that happns to be the ramp at LYR. They say that's where it's at but the lat/long coincides with the airport.
 
chuchoteur
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:30 pm

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 37):
Here is a peice of trivia for you. All of the Boeing FCOMs have a Latitude limiiation for aligning the IRS/ADIRU/ERS and that happns to be the ramp at LYR. They say that's where it's at but the lat/long coincides with the airport.

Probably because that the northernmost latitude they validated IRS alignment when they went up there...
Definitely a challenging environment  
 
Viscount724
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:22 am

Quoting YWG (Reply 23):
Kind of reminds me of this incident a while back. Not on a Polar Route, but far enough north that they were ready for it (stairs, hotels, etc).

Churchill, Manitoba wasn't ready for it They had no stairs then that could reach the 777's doors so they had to deplane using one of the evacuation slides. You can see the slide after it was detached from the aircraft sitting on the ground at the left of your second photo.

Photo with the slide attached.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Chris Baxter

 
YWG
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:39 am

CYYQ Churchill has seen a lot more than you would expect. The Esso FBO has a 'Wall of Fame' with photos of all the interesting visitors they've had over the years. Seriously, you could stand there for 10mins looking at the gallery. All sorts of international heavies have stopped in. United even sent a thank you letter and model of a 767 to express their thanks. They are displayed in the terminal.

Here's a video of a LH A346 from last summer. Very cool to see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvdzv5YBikE
Contact Winnipeg center now on 134.4, good day.
 
chuchoteur
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:51 pm

Quoting YWG (Reply 40):
Here's a video of a LH A346 from last summer. Very cool to see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvdzv5YBikE

That was a medical diversion as I recall?
 
BravoOne
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:51 pm

Quoting j0rdan (Reply 24):
I remember reading in "From the Flight Deck" by Capt. Doug Morris that Tiksi, Russia (IATA:IKS/ICAO:UEST) is a suitable airport for landing with a 9845 x 194 ft concrete runway available, I'm not sure what other field services are available. Does anybody else know? The airport appears to have 3x weekly scheduled service to Yakutsk, Russia (IATA:YKS/ICAO:UEEE) on Yakutia Airlines (IATA:R3/ICAO:SYL) with Antonov An-24 aircraft. Is there any other suitable airports near the poles?

Jordon,

There are no airports "near" the poles but there are numerous airports within 180 minutes flying that are ETOPS approved alternates. I'll post a list when I have time. Don't forget, there are other requirements for these airports besides just a long runway. Fire rescue capability, English speaking controllers on duty and place to house the pax are but a few. The diverting airplane has to be able to clear the runway so that the aircraft that will come in and retrieve the stranded pax can land. Much more to this than meets the eye.
 
flyingturtle
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:31 pm

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 42):

So, a crew can only file approved ETOPS alternates in the flight plan, but if deemed necessary, they can still land at a non-ETOPS airport?

Has this ever happened?


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Polar Route Emergency Landing Plan?

Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:33 pm

Well the crew does not file the flight plan, that's left to Dispatch. The flight can only contain operator approved ETOPS alternates. None of this takes away the authority of the PIC to land wherever the emergency deems necessary. I'm not aware of any diversions into none designated ETOPS alternates but is certainly is not beyond the possibility.

ETOPS is a very complex issue and this is important...Polar Ops and ETOPS are two different animals although they do go closely hand in hand. You can be approved for Polar Ops without approvals.

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