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UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:55 pm
by 747-600X
United 2051 took off from TPA bound for SFO and immediately started doing short laps up and down the FL coast. Curious to find out what's going on.
https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL2051

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:11 pm
by pksundevil
Twitter user says it was a bird strike after takeoff and then has been dumping fuel- not sure the second part would be accurate given how long it's been circling- but what a miserable experience for passengers to just circle at 7,000 feet for so long.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:16 pm
by flyguy84
pksundevil wrote:
Twitter user says it was a bird strike after takeoff and then has been dumping fuel- not sure the second part would be accurate given how long it's been circling- but what a miserable experience for passengers to just circle at 7,000 feet for so long.

Considering an A320 can’t dump fuel... no.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:17 pm
by pksundevil
flyguy84 wrote:
pksundevil wrote:
Twitter user says it was a bird strike after takeoff and then has been dumping fuel- not sure the second part would be accurate given how long it's been circling- but what a miserable experience for passengers to just circle at 7,000 feet for so long.

Considering an A320 can’t dump fuel... no.


Thanks- so I wonder whether 4 hours of circling at 7,000 feet is getting close to enough fuel burned off? Or do you think there's something else going on that they are trouble-shooting?

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:17 pm
by zeke
flyguy84 wrote:
Considering an A320 can’t dump fuel... no.


Through the engines !

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:24 pm
by zrs70
I was watching it on Flightradar24. Crazy.

But I can’t find the flight now.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:25 pm
by pksundevil
zrs70 wrote:
I was watching it on Flightradar24. Crazy.

But I can’t find the flight now.


Flightaware still shows it.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:32 pm
by 747-600X
Must've been one heck of a bird strike. Those don't usually require a return to field, unless it prevented slats from retracting or similar. For how long they've been up there, almost seems like they might as well have just gone to SFO!

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:34 pm
by pksundevil
Looks like it is finally heading in for a landing.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:40 pm
by LOWS
With a flight number like that, is it an NCAA charter?

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:41 pm
by pksundevil
And... for whatever reason looks like they've temporarily decided against that plan. Has to be uncomfortable for the passengers.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:37 pm
by flyguy84
LOWS wrote:
With a flight number like that, is it an NCAA charter?

No scheduled flight.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:56 pm
by dxBrian
Land the airplane and do an overweight landing inspection. Easy and less time consuming.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:58 pm
by LOWS
flyguy84 wrote:
LOWS wrote:
With a flight number like that, is it an NCAA charter?

No scheduled flight.


Ah, ok, thanks. I thought all UA 2XXX were charter for some reason.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:10 pm
by flyguy84
dxBrian wrote:
Land the airplane and do an overweight landing inspection. Easy and less time consuming.

Unless the birdstrike damaged parts of the aircraft that impacted other systems. Just saying. It’s not so cut and dry.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:30 pm
by ual763
LOWS wrote:
flyguy84 wrote:
LOWS wrote:
With a flight number like that, is it an NCAA charter?

No scheduled flight.


Ah, ok, thanks. I thought all UA 2XXX were charter for some reason.


I could be wrong, but if I remember correctly, the 25xx numbers are charters.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:41 pm
by jayunited
dxBrian wrote:
Land the airplane and do an overweight landing inspection. Easy and less time consuming.


This was a cross country flight TPA-SFO that was a few seats shy of being full there was over 4,500 pounds of cargo and bags in the pits and over 41,000 pounds of jet fuel. The bird strike occurred right after takeoff damaging one of the pitot tubes, I'm not a pilot I don't know if you are one or not, but I believe in this situation the pilot made the right decision to burn the fuel to reduce the weight of the aircraft before attempting to land. Performing an overweight landing is not something to be taken lightly serious damage can be done to an aircraft during overweight landings if not executed properly.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:41 pm
by Runway28L
Sounds like there was damage to the pitot tubes.

http://twitter.com/tompodolec/status/97 ... 85154?s=21

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:46 pm
by StTim
Doing a holding pattern you are always close to a landing point should things get worse.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:54 am
by Aesma
Runway28L wrote:
Sounds like there was damage to the pitot tubes.

http://twitter.com/tompodolec/status/97 ... 85154?s=21


So unreliable airspeed on an least one flight computer.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:21 am
by BENAir01
Yeah, its much safer to circle the airport burning fuel than to go to your destination. First of all, they probably stayed at 7,000 feet to have enough power in the one engine to keep the plane in their - they wouldn't fly to SFO at 7,000 feet. Second of all, they probably wanted to be right at the airport just in case something bad should happen.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:02 pm
by ordbosewr
I am happy that everything ended up safe and sound. Yes, the passengers got more than they expected, but the eventually got to SFO, safely, of course.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:29 pm
by FriscoHeavy
BENAir01 wrote:
Yeah, its much safer to circle the airport burning fuel than to go to your destination. First of all, they probably stayed at 7,000 feet to have enough power in the one engine to keep the plane in their - they wouldn't fly to SFO at 7,000 feet. Second of all, they probably wanted to be right at the airport just in case something bad should happen.



A. Not sure where it says anything about losing an engine. Appears they had full power.

B. Even on one engine, they'd be able to stay much higher than 7,000 ft.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:45 pm
by United1
FriscoHeavy wrote:
BENAir01 wrote:
Yeah, its much safer to circle the airport burning fuel than to go to your destination. First of all, they probably stayed at 7,000 feet to have enough power in the one engine to keep the plane in their - they wouldn't fly to SFO at 7,000 feet. Second of all, they probably wanted to be right at the airport just in case something bad should happen.



A. Not sure where it says anything about losing an engine. Appears they had full power.

B. Even on one engine, they'd be able to stay much higher than 7,000 ft.


As stated above it wasn't an engine issue the bird strike took out a pitot tube. The engines burn fuel at a higher rate at 7K vs 30K and 7K allows them to leave the aircraft unpressurised which is prudent if you are unsure of the extent of hull damage.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:47 pm
by Seabear
Bad week to be a dog or bird on United.

Re: UAL2051 doing laps for 3 hours

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:57 pm
by ctrabs0114
LOWS wrote:
flyguy84 wrote:
LOWS wrote:
With a flight number like that, is it an NCAA charter?

No scheduled flight.


Ah, ok, thanks. I thought all UA 2XXX were charter for some reason.


UA charters start at UA25xx, so you weren't that far off...