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loalq
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:24 pm

LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:00 am

I am more than used to flying (I work as a sales manager...) but this was the first time that something like this happened to me. I was in London last thursday and came back to Switzerland in LX447 LCY-GVA (dep. originally 17h30).

After some delay of 45 min we finally boarder HB-IXN (an Avro 146-100) when the FA came on speakers and announced:

"Ladies and gentlemen, as you know this flight is completely booked and as it is raining today in London the runway is a little bit wet for such a heavy airplane. In order to privilege the transportation of all passenger to Geneva today, the Captain decided to disembark all of the catering trolleys so to make the airplane lighter. As an outcome of this, we will only be able to offer a very limited service on-board. Thank you for your understanding."

Anyway, takeoff and the rest of the flight were pretty uneventful (they served sandwiches and water to some pax).

I saw the trolleys outside (10 or 11) and by no means I am willing to trade flight safety for snacks, but it kept me wondering what difference getting rid of those catering trolleys really represented to an airplane that is able to lift 46'000Kg...because if it REALLY meant anything, then I suppose we took-off in some very tight envelope...

Regards, Loalq.
"...this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped."
 
jetdeltamsy
Posts: 2688
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RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:26 am

Maximum take-off weights are never exceeded (intentionally).

It is, in fact, a matter of safety.

ERJ's in the US go out with less than a full load of passengers because of a high number of bags or extra fuel. It's aggrevating as hell if you're the one who doesn't get on board, but that's life with regional jets.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
legacy135
Posts: 966
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 11:06 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:34 pm

Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 1):
Maximum take-off weights are never exceeded (intentionally).

Are you sure ? Big grin I would say .....should never exceed....... There are plenty of known cases.

Now, how it should work and obviously was also done this way on your LX flight:

What the crew is calculating for take off is called the "Balanced Field Length". Balanced means, because the longest of the three following distances will be the limiting one:

- All engine take off distance
- Accelerate stop distance (accelerating to decision speed and abort take off)
- Distance for acceleration to decision, fail one engine and continue

Decision Speed (V1) is calculated that in case the crew aborts take off at V1 and bring the aircraft to a stop, the accelerate stop distance is equal to the distance, if the crew decides at V1 to continue, rotates at Vr and climbs the aircraft at V2 to 35ft above runway. The point those 35 ft are reached, is equal to the point the aircraft will be stopped.

The crews in airlines have normally "Runway Analysis Tables", this is a pretty straight forward thing: Basically they just go in the table for the runway they want to use, look up at the temperature of the day, make a correction for wind and pressure and know already, how much weight they can lift out of this runway at those conditions. If this runway sorts out slippery or wet, they will have to deal with a penalty, as this directly affects "Accelerate Stop Distance". If they go to heavy and have to abort at LCY, it may end up in the Thames river.

Obviously your crew wanted to give transportation to as many passengers as possible and so did offload all the weight they could. Depending on what kind of stuff those 11 containers were holding, I could imagine that this gave transport to another 3 to 4 passengers.

Cheers
Legacy135 Wink
 
FlyingColours
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RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:41 pm

I've never heard of that, sounds very unusual but the reasoning behind it was sound.

Those catering carts way an awful lot, so taking 2 off would equate to about 1 passenger. Still since it was a short flight it would have been easier to remove the catering (I mean its not like you are on a 4 hr flight really).

A simple (ish) solution could have been to empty some of the carts before removing them, so there were still snacks onboard.

Its the drinks carts which way the most, followed by the duty free then the meal carts. If you have ever tried pulling a fully loaded drinks cart all the way up at 757 on your own, you would understand  Wink

Phil
FlyingColours
Lifes a train racing towards you, now you can either run away or grab a chair & a beer and watch it come - Phil
 
goldorak
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RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:46 pm

The same happened some years ago to some colleagues on a CDG-LCY flight with BAe146 on a very rainy winter day. They were announced that only part of the luggages will be loaded to decrease the weight, because of the weather conditions at LCY and its short runway. And finally, the weather was too bad at LCY and they were diverted to STN
 
SR100
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RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:53 pm

Two weeks ago, I was on a CO ERJ-145 from DCA to EWR. Before boarding, they were looking for volunteers to take a later flight due to weight restrictions. First I was surprised about such an announcement for this short flight. But most of the passengers were in transit to an international flight and I assumed, that most of them - including myself - had checked-in luggage close to the maximum allowed weight.
Flown all types and variants of Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed, Bombardier, DC, Embraer, Fokker, ATR, plus BAe146-1/2/3, Britannia, Caravelle, Comet, Concord, CV440/990, M404, Herald, Avro, Trident-1/2/3, IL-18/62, SWM, Viscount, VC-10, Tu-104/134/154, YS-11
 
FRALIM
Posts: 115
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RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:55 pm

The situation in LCY is different. LX's RJ100's can never take MTOW. A RTOW (R stands for Reduced or Regulated) is calculated that can be between 40,000 and 41,000. This is due to the short runway and influenced by other factors like weather, obstacles (especialy when taking off is to the west) etc. The number of pax that can be accepted also depends on the amount of fuel the captain requests. The plane is 97 seater and can usually take around 90, but in some cases this number can be a lot lower.

Taking off catering trolleys is the last resort. usually check-in is restricted to whatever amount of pax the plane is expected to take and staff will look for volunteers (basically like in the case of an overbooking). But in this case the restriction given was much lower than expected (HBIXN is one of the heavier ones) so that more pax were checked-in than the plane was able to take-off with. Taking off the catering trolleys reduces the weight of the aircraft and thus allows for more pax to be taken. The other options would have been to deny a number of pax (although they had already been given seats or offload quite a lot of luggage). Offloading the catering trolleys guaranteed that all pax and luggage could get to GVA that night....

Weight restrictions are very common on LCY with most airlines (also operating other a/c types like the F50). LX's RJ85's are usually fine weight wise, so are the two ex BA aircraft that have been reconfiguered with the new Recaro seats. LX just announced to reconfigure its whole AVRO fleet with the new seats, so hopefully these restrictions and offloaded catering will be a problem of the past.
 
andz
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RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:58 pm

Quoting Loalq (Thread starter):
I saw the trolleys outside (10 or 11)



Quoting Loalq (Thread starter):
an Avro 146-100

That seems like an awful lot of trolleys for a 146!
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
legacy135
Posts: 966
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 11:06 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:02 pm

Quoting Andz (Reply 7):
That seems like an awful lot of trolleys for a 146!

Agree, but if this number goes to be confirmed, I could imagine that LX keeps uplifts to a minimum number, in order to save handling fees. Many airlines are doing this and fly an unnecessary number of trolleys around.

Still, if they need to be offloaded once, as obviously in this case here, it's not to bad. There will be another flight soon, having much lower loads and all that stuff can be sent back.

Cheers
Legacy135 Wink
 
loalq
Topic Author
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:24 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:01 pm

Quoting Andz (Reply 7):
That seems like an awful lot of trolleys for a 146!

I think too, but I really counted such number of trolleys as they were lined up in the tarmac...maybe not all from the plane I was in though...

Quoting SR100 (Reply 5):
had checked-in luggage close to the maximum allowed weight.

That I would understand, but sure not the case here as one could see that at least 70-80% of pax in this flight were business people on daily trips (not much luggage checked in). Maybe LX was transporting extra cargo?


On a side question, given the current situation in LHR getting worse by the day, are there any plans to enlarge LCY's terminal and runway?
"...this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped."
 
stylo777
Posts: 2809
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:11 pm

Quoting Loalq (Reply 9):
That I would understand, but sure not the case here as one could see that at least 70-80% of pax in this flight were business people on daily trips (not much luggage checked in). Maybe LX was transporting extra cargo?

I dont think that. They would use LHR for cargo because of the bigger planes they fly there.
 
ltbewr
Posts: 15653
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:36 pm

Quoting FRALIM (Reply 6):
This is due to the short runway and influenced by other factors like weather, obstacles (especialy when taking off is to the west) etc

I would also suspect that airspace security especially to the west of LCY is a factor. Much like the restrictions for DCA as to the near-by government buildings due to terror or accident fears, that probably means that at LCY, they need to fly a very particular flight path, with specific minimum altitude, to avoid getting too close to Central London with it's critical Governmental and business buildings. Compounded with wet weather limitiing lift and the relatively short runways at LCY means that the aircraft must operate at a RTOW to be able to operate safely. Better to leave food carts behind for relatively short flights rather than you or your baggage getting booted and screwing up your day.
 
PhilSquares
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RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:43 pm

Not knowing the specifics of the 146, but one other issue no one has raised is a landing weight issue. Depending on the alternate required and the fuel load you could have been bumping up against MLW.
Fly fast, live slow
 
SR100
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:43 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:48 pm

Quoting Loalq (Reply 9):
On a side question, given the current situation in LHR getting worse by the day, are there any plans to enlarge LCY's terminal and runway?

Yes, and there is a map about this project at LCY.

They intend to enlarge the apron from the terminal building towards the end of the runway, doubling the available parking positions. The terminal building should be enlarged aswell. A new taxiway should be build parallel to the runway in order to avoid the usual congestion whenever an aircraft is landing or taking off. If you are familiar with LCY, then you know that an aircraft leaving its parking position only can taxi towards the end of the runway, if there is no one on the runway. This slows down the volume of traffic during peak hours.
Flown all types and variants of Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed, Bombardier, DC, Embraer, Fokker, ATR, plus BAe146-1/2/3, Britannia, Caravelle, Comet, Concord, CV440/990, M404, Herald, Avro, Trident-1/2/3, IL-18/62, SWM, Viscount, VC-10, Tu-104/134/154, YS-11
 
johnnybgoode
Posts: 2144
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RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:10 pm

Quoting FRALIM (Reply 6):
Weight restrictions are very common on LCY with most airlines (also operating other a/c types like the F50). EW: Swiss International Airlines (Switzerland)">LX's RJ85's are usually fine weight wise

this also applies to the older BAe 146s, e.g. the EW fleet. the late afternoon departures out of LCY usually have pretty high loads, which obviously lies in the nature of services to and from LCY, and BAe 146s, as they are not as powerful as their younger Avro siblings, would have trouble operating out of LCY at high loads.
the RJ85 represents the right match of size/weight and power so that it can depart LCY at max payload at almost any condition.
If only pure sweetness was offered, why's this bitter taste left in my mouth.
 
tymnbalewne
Posts: 714
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RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:43 am

Many MANY moons ago I was flying non-rev with AC from LGA to YYZ. The aircraft was a DC-9. It was a hot summer's day. I was offloaded from the aircraft because the aircraft was "overweight". AC were also offloading some passenger bags to reduce the weight. After the holds were shut the realized they removed too many bags so they put me on the flight.

When the groundstaff tried to put me back on the flight their "departure control system" wouldn't allow them to so they handwrote a boarding pass, (and I imagine updated the load sheet) and put me on the aircraft.

I remember thinking as the airplane barreled down the short LGA runway, "hmm...AC will show me 'offloaded' from the flight, and I'm on a plane that's near it's MTOW....no one will know what happened to me until my body washes ashore on Riker's in six month's time!"

C.
Dewmanair...begins with Dew
 
GQfluffy
Posts: 3072
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 1:25 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:58 am

Quoting Legacy135 (Reply 2):
Are you sure ? I would say .....should never exceed....... There are plenty of known cases.

I'm not a pilot, so I'm most likely wrong, but I still have to ask-

Care to provide some "known cases"? I thought this was one of the golden rules of aviation that one does NOT break. There are several reasons aircraft are given maximum takeoff weights. Why try to act like a god when you have passenger's lives in your hands and try to push it?
This isn't where I parked my car...
 
legacy135
Posts: 966
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 11:06 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:23 am

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 16):
I'm not a pilot, so I'm most likely wrong, but I still have to ask-

Care to provide some "known cases"? I thought this was one of the golden rules of aviation that one does NOT break. There are several reasons aircraft are given maximum takeoff weights. Why try to act like a god when you have passenger's lives in your hands and try to push it?

As everywhere, there are also in aviation different characters. Don't you know somebody driving his car to fast on slippery roads in bad visibility and having his kids in the backseat? Such people are around in aviation as in about any branch.

The good thing is, that airlines do their best to employ people sticking to the rules and applying a real hard punishment if one doesn't. Authorities do audit as well the operators and look up if everything is in compliance with the law. Well, at this point, all they can look up is the paperwork...

The known cases are all those, investigations found out that the plane crashed was overloaded and/or center of gravity out of range.

It is as it is with everything: If you want to sleep well as a pilot, you'd better stay with the law. This was obviously done here by the LX crew in LCY, so the trolleys had to remain on ground.

Cheers
Legacy135 Wink
 
airlineecon
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 4:22 am

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:47 am

I've flown a dozen or so roundtrips MSP-STL on AA's embraers with full loads both directions. From STL-MSP on about 8 of my 12 flights they needed to offload four passengers due to weight restrictions. There were no weather or short runway problems. I've been the volunteer 3 or 4 times, I count on my $250 voucher now. But on MSP-STL there are never weight restrictions. What is AA doing? Is St Louis a net exporter to the twin cities with a lot of cargo, or do they carry extra fuel to avoid refueling in MSP?
 
bingo
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:08 am

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:00 am

A few weeks before 9/11 Aliyah (an R&B singer) died after her plane crashed in the Bahamas. She refused to leave some suitcases behind for the next flight. What a sad and horrible decision on her and the pilot's part.  tombstone 

On a lighter note, I know that I will never board an aircraft with luggage racks on top of it  Wink
 
Norcal773
Posts: 1059
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:19 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:32 am

I'd throw a BS flag on the reason. They were heavy and it had nothing to do with the rain. Well, good thing they left behind trolleys instead of pax or luggage.
If you're going through hell, keep going
 
rlwynn
Posts: 1523
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 3:35 am

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:23 am

It could have to do with rain considering the Avro does not have thrust reverse.
I can drive faster than you
 
FRALIM
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2003 3:06 am

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:26 am

Quoting Johnnybgoode (Reply 14):
this also applies to the older BAe 146s, e.g. the EW fleet. the late afternoon departures out of LCY usually have pretty high loads, which obviously lies in the nature of services to and from LCY, and BAe 146s, as they are not as powerful as their younger Avro siblings, would have trouble operating out of LCY at high loads.
the RJ85 represents the right match of size/weight and power so that it can depart LCY at max payload at almost any condition.

LH's wheight problems (not only the BAe's, but they also usd to have troubles with the Dash8 and ATR's) were kind of sorted by leaving the middle seat empty in business (AR85/BAe) and having a 1-1 config in business on the DH8/ATR's. Like that even on sold out flight pax numbers usually don't reach a critical status (weight wise). E.g. LH's evening departure to FRA is sold as all Business Class, so the flight is full with 64 pax... (no weight restrictions there). Exceptions can be weekend departures were numbers in C are usually low...


Quoting Loalq (Reply 9):
Quoting Andz (Reply 7):
That seems like an awful lot of trolleys for a 146!

I think too, but I really counted such number of trolleys as they were lined up in the tarmac...maybe not all from the plane I was in though...

As far as I am aware there were ten trolleys. As mentioned above LX usually return caters. So under normal circumstances there would be no new catering in LCY. That may explain the high number of trolleys...

Quoting Loalq (Reply 9):
Quoting SR100 (Reply 5):
had checked-in luggage close to the maximum allowed weight.

That I would understand, but sure not the case here as one could see that at least 70-80% of pax in this flight were business people on daily trips (not much luggage checked in). Maybe LX was transporting extra cargo

NO, no extra cargo was transported. There is usually not much cargo anyway in LCY. If there is then it would be offloaded first in case of weight restrictions.

Although I agree that GVA is a business route it's not like ZRH. On a Thursday evening though, numbers of business pax should be high. But also keep in mind that it's skiing season, so you will find a lot of luggage on GVA flights at the moment. But as I said before HBIXN (the operating a/c) is rather heavy and weight restrictions in LCY are common. You will hardly ever find a flight out of LCY with enough weight for all 97 pax. (same with KL, not sure whether one of their F50 ever left with 50 people on board.)

Quoting Norcal773 (Reply 20):
I'd throw a BS flag on the reason. They were heavy and it had nothing to do with the rain. Well, good thing they left behind trolleys instead of pax or luggage.

No, no BS I'm afraid.... Should you ever come to LCY ask any agent about weight restrictions and they will tell you... Smile

Once again offloading catreing trolleys is the last resort. Eg It would be done if the take off directions changes last minute from east to west. Due to the obstacles in the west the RTOW would be lower in that case. Before pax are offloaded that are already onboard (and if too mch luggage would be involved) the trolleys are considered. This also needs to authorised by ZRH and can't just be decided locally. It has to be ensured that the trolleys get back to Switzerland asap...
 
StarGoldLHR
Posts: 1346
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:29 am

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:34 am

I was on your flight.

Seat 4F.

I remember the announcement, the flight was full. I returned to LCY on Friday night on the 7pm flight.
So far in 2008 45 flights and Gold already. JFK, IAD, LGA, SIN, HKG, NRT, AKL, PPT, LAX still to book ! Home Airport LCY
 
baron95
Posts: 1106
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 10:19 am

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:28 pm

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 16):
Care to provide some "known cases"? I thought this was one of the golden rules of aviation that one does NOT break. There are several reasons aircraft are given maximum takeoff weights. Why try to act like a god

in general aviation there are several documented accidents due to KNOWINGLY exceeding MTOW. In commercial aviation there are a few incidents (my quick search did not yield any accidents). Do a search of the NTSB database for details. However, MTOW is routinely exceeded by small ammounts in commercial aviation. This is due to the fact that passengers and carry-on bags are not weighted. You use estimates. The problem was so bad, that the FAA recently ruled that airlines must use revised (higher) weights for passengers (different in summer and winter) than before.

There are specific regulations that allow exceeding the MTOW of certain aircraft by as much as 10% (IIRC) when operating in Alaska, under certain specific conditions.

So exceeding MTOW is not this big bugaboo that if you do you die. For an airliner accident to happen because of slightly exceeding MTOW (say by 1000 lbs or 5 passengers on a 737-like plane) a lot would have to happen, including an engine failure at or near V1, inperfect crew action or aircraft condition that eats into the other safety margins, no suitable overrun, etc. The chances of all that hapening are pretty much zero. What exceeding MTOW by a small amount on a jetliner does is eat a little tiny bit of safety margin. It is a bad idea, but not a catastrophic one.
Killer Fleet: E190, 737-900ER, 777-300ER
 
GBan
Posts: 488
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:10 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:53 pm

Quoting Loalq (Thread starter):
"Ladies and gentlemen, as you know this flight is completely booked and as it is raining today in London the runway is a little bit wet for such a heavy airplane. In order to privilege the transportation of all passenger to Geneva today, the Captain decided to disembark all of the catering trolleys so to make the airplane lighter. As an outcome of this, we will only be able to offer a very limited service on-board. Thank you for your understanding."

I had a similar experience on a flight from Munich to Amsterdam (Air Littoral) about 8 years ago. They gave the choice of either 5 passengers taking the next flight or unloading all luggage. We had some interesting discussions on the plane, and in the end the flight was cancelled...
 
legoguy
Posts: 2981
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:59 pm

RE: LX447 - Bizarre Situation On Board!

Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:03 pm

Quoting FlyingColours (Reply 3):
Those catering carts way an awful lot, so taking 2 off would equate to about 1 passenger.

Why do catering carts weigh so much? Is this due to the food inside it such as drinks etc etc, or is this the weight of the empty cart?
Can you say 'Beer Can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'Bacon'?

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