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julesmusician
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Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:30 pm

In the event of an engine failure on a commercial aircraft are there FAA rules that REQUIRE the aircraft to land as soon as practically possible or is it entirely at the decision of the pilot? With the recent European Law now imposing substancial financial penalties on airlines that are late running or cancel flights, airlines might wish a pilot to carry on if possible to the intended destination? Has the law caught up with the requirements for safety here or can a pilot press on regardless and only if something very bad happens (such as a second engine failure or even crash) will everyone say "they made a stupid decision"?
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AAR90
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Sun Nov 13, 2005 10:25 pm

Quoting Julesmusician (Thread starter):
are there FAA rules that REQUIRE the aircraft to land as soon as practically possible or is it entirely at the decision of the pilot?

AA's Flight Manual reads:
FAR 121.565 provides that "the PIC will land the aircraft at the nearest suitable airport, in point of time, at which a safe landing can be made".
That being the case, Captain's Emergency Authority provides the Captain the discretion to deviate from any FAR in the interest of safety. Which means I can choose the airport at which to land, but if it is not the nearest suitable airport in point of time... I must provide written explanation of my decision.

This applies to two-engined planes. That same FAR also provides the Captain of 3 or more engined aircraft to proceed to an airport that the pilot selects if, after considering the following, the Captain decides that proceeding to that airport is as safe as landing at the nearest suitable airport if one engine fails. If the Captain decides to use an airport other than the nearest suitable in point of time... he/she will be asked to provide FAA with a written explanation of his/her decision. OTOH, if the flight continues out of USA airspace and lands successfully, I suspect FAA wouldn't bother with a follow up investigation. JMHO.
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zeke
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Sun Nov 13, 2005 11:22 pm

Quoting Julesmusician (Thread starter):
With the recent European Law now imposing substancial financial penalties on airlines that are late running or cancel flights, airlines might wish a pilot to carry on if possible to the intended destination?

Does not apply to engine failures etc, pilots would not take this into consideration.

Quoting Julesmusician (Thread starter):
In the event of an engine failure on a commercial aircraft are there FAA rules that REQUIRE the aircraft to land as soon as practically possible or is it entirely at the decision of the pilot?

That is very much a FAA specific rule, for most quads that I can think of a single engine failure is not an emergency, many cases of 4 engine aircraft go on with three engines, at a slightly lower altitude.

Boeing and Airbus dont say for a single engine failure on a quad to return to land ASAP.
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julesmusician
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decisi

Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:25 am

Ok the reason is I see a legal case could be made for negligence if someone carried on one engine less and a catastrophe happened.

"So pilot X, you were 1 hr away from a suitable landing site, and it was your choice to continue to your destination some 2hrs 15 minutes away. At 1hr 30 minutes your second engine failed causing a severe emergency in which a number of passengers were injured etc etc"

A jury would be hard press to say that you were acting in the best interests of the passengers....

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calpilot
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 2:55 am

Quoting Zeke (Reply 2):
Does not apply to engine failures etc, pilots would not take this into consideration

Zeke, so what do you think the crew of the BA B747 were thinking a few months ago when they continued to England on Three? Worst case of decision making I have ever seen, can't belive that safety was first in their mind.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:23 pm

It would be the Pilots discretion to get back to the nearest available Alternate,taking into consideration the Emergency.In case of an IFSD on a Twin,A landing would be immediete priority.
regds
MEL
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zeke
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:31 pm

Quoting CALPilot (Reply 4):
Zeke, so what do you think the crew of the BA B747 were thinking a few months ago when they continued to England on Three? Worst case of decision making I have ever seen, can't belive that safety was first in their mind.

Why do you say that, I believe the concord has the record the most number of trans Atlantic crossings on 3 engines. Passengers just never knew.

There is no provision in FAA or JAR regulations for them to land overweight or to dump fuel in a non emergency situation. Boeing and Airbus say in the QRH and FCOM that a single engine failure on a quad is not an emergency.

That BA crew had full engineering support during the flight, and flight operations were able to build a new flight plan for three engines at the lower cruising height. They were in communication with the LHR base, the decision was that of the captains, he used good CRM of the other crew onboard, and the resources back at home base.

No systems are lost on a quad with a single engine failure, the aircraft landed at MAN with enough fuel for LHR, they had a non related failure of fuel tank pumps in the centre tank making the 5t of fuel in that tank unavailable, this could have happened on 4 engines.

The same aircraft flew SIN-LHR 3 engines a week or two later after the replacement engine on the same pod had a failure.

Most airlines outside the USA do fly to the manufactures recommendations, which includes continued flight on 3 engines, much safer in many cases than dumping, landing over weight, or diverting to some dodgy ETOPS alternate.

Quads are allowed to take off for non revenue positioning flights with only 3 engines, and tri-engine aircraft with just two. This is even done by US flagged carriers.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:11 pm

Quoting Zeke (Reply 6):
Why do you say that, I believe the concord has the record the most number of trans Atlantic crossings on 3 engines. Passengers just never knew.

What were the reasons.
regds
MEL
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julesmusician
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decisi

Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:21 pm

I think the real issue if you fly with three engines for a long time and something happens to a second engine which really does place you in a situation of immediate urgency, then there would be severe criticism if you could have landed before with three engines safely - there would be very little defence if you could have landed before safely and a second engine went causing a crash/injury/death you wouldn't stand a chance in court as you had the opportunity to land the aircraft before the second one went out - yes we all know statistically it would be very unlikely that two engines would go out, but you don't want to be the statistic... Just because aircraft manufacturers say you can fly on three engines and it is safe to do so doesn't mean you have to.....
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charliecossie
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:18 pm

Julesmusician:
You don't know what you're talking about. This subject has been debated to death by far more knowledgeable people than you. If Boeing, Airbus, Douglas and Lockheed, the FAA and the CAA all allow 3/4 engine aircraft to continue with one out - IT IS SAFE!

PS a 747 can still fly safely on 2 - it doesn't immediately crash as you imply.

PPS for any Americans about to mouth off about FARs - United fly 3 engine 747s without a problem.
 
julesmusician
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:52 pm

Sorry but where did I say that flying with three engines instead of four was unsafe?
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charliecossie
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:27 pm

Quoting Julesmusician (Thread starter):
Has the law caught up with the requirements for safety here or can a pilot press on regardless



Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 3):
if someone carried on one engine less and a catastrophe happened.
 
julesmusician
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:45 pm

Interesting, if a flight time is say 10 hours and engine fails after 3 hrs and after dumping fuel the pilot could land safely 2 hrs after engine failure, then carrying on for the next 5 hours with three engines, the risk to the passengers has gone up. Maybe I didn't make that clear. It would be hard pressed for anyone to say there would be absolutely no more risk to anyone flying on three engines for the last 5 hrs of the flight than there would on four engines. By flying for the last 5 hrs the risk factor has gone up to the safety of the passengers. Of course the manufacturers make it safe to fly on three engines, but you cannot deny that the risk factor has gone up and therefore a safe diversion to a nearby airport would be much preferable to carrying on for 5 hrs. If anything happened in those 5 final hours in the flight to another engine, then perhaps flying on two engines would be totally safe as you seem to imply, but if any 747 pilot would like to add their bit I would be interested to find out about flying on two engines and whether it would be declared an emergency or is no problem whatsoever. What do the SOP's say for two engine flying on a 747?
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PhilSquares
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:05 pm

This topic has been beat to death!

You wanted input from a 744 Captain, well here you go.

There is no one correct answer. In the case of the BA 744 and the engine failure out of LAX, he did nothing wrong. Julesmusician, he did not increase the risk to the passengers at all! The 744 can land at any weight it takes off at. If you have a real serious emergency, you can just come right back and land. No drama.

The flight from LAX-LHR has so many enroute alternates it's unbelievable. Again, there was no compromise of safety.

Now a different scenario, HKG-SFO, engine failure right after takeoff. Me personally, I'll come back to HKG. Why? Because is anything else happens my options are really limited in terms of enroute alternates.

However, from a strictly "legal" point of view, I could continue. End of story.

The 744 will fly fine on 2 engines. It's very stable and easy to land. The only limitation is really the enroute altitude. You're not going to stay that high for long. You will cruise at a lower altitude but other than that, there is no difference.
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:22 pm

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 13):
The 744 will fly fine on 2 engines.

Purely for the sake of interest, does anyone know if you could fly a 747 on a single engine or would it struggle to maintain altitude?

A346Dude
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charliecossie
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:26 pm

Thanks Phil.
I don't fly 'em but I do maintain and certify 'em and have done so for 21 years.

Julesmusician:
Are you a journalist? Digging.....
 
PhilSquares
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:30 pm

Quoting A346Dude (Reply 14):
Purely for the sake of interest, does anyone know if you could fly a 747 on a single engine or would it struggle to maintain altitude?

Depends on your gross weight. If you're light enough, there shouldn't be a problem. But remember, the aircraft (any 4 engine aircraft) doesn't have that requirement as part of their certification.
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sudden
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:51 pm

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 12):
Julesmusician

Good day all,

you have some strong arguments there Jules, and I find it interesting to read as we all have something to learn.

I just want to make a point here, as you do actually forget that engine failures can be solved by the pilots without having to divert, so it's not that if an engine(s) fails, that the first option would be to divert.
First you make sure that you can still fly and control the A/C, then you problem-shoot the issue.
Diverting would not be the pilots first option!
Correct me if I'm wrong, please.

What comes to mind is the BA 747 that lost all 4 engines due to volcano ash and had to make several dives to re-start the engines.
They landed safely and more important, they solved the problem, sort of, in the air.

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DrDeke
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decisi

Tue Nov 15, 2005 5:31 am

Quoting A346Dude (Reply 14):
Purely for the sake of interest, does anyone know if you could fly a 747 on a single engine or would it struggle to maintain altitude?

You can in FS2004, and I'm sure that's good enough  Yeah sure.

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julesmusician
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decisi

Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:26 am

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 13):
n the case of the BA 744 and the engine failure out of LAX, he did nothing wrong. Julesmusician, he did not increase the risk to the passengers at all!

So flying 3 engines up for a long flight between LAX - LHR is entirely fine.

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 13):
The flight from LAX-LHR has so many enroute alternates it's unbelievable. Again, there was no compromise of safety.

So flying 3 engines up for a long flight now is fine if there are lots of airports available.

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 13):
HKG-SFO, engine failure right after takeoff. Me personally, I'll come back to HKG. Why? Because is anything else happens my options are really limited in terms of enroute alternates.

So suddenly flying 3 engines up for a long flight if there are not enough enroute diversions available is not advisable.

Hence equation equals - flying on 3 engines is safe if I have lots of alternate airports, flying on 3 engines might not be so safe if I don't have lots of alternates.

So the decision making process according to this is dependant on the number of alternate airports available to divert to enroute - engine failure LAX-LHR - continue but HKG-SFO don't continue. Making a decision based on the number of alternates available does make for very interesting reading because it is saying "yes as a pilot I would be worried if I did HKG-SFO on 3, but LAX-LHR no probs because if it goes wrong I can put down somewhere." I would argue that the provision of alternates should make no difference to the decision - either you can do it for every situation or you can't do it for any situation. By your own argument you have made it clear that the HKG-SFO would present a risk enough that landing at HKG would be preferable. The risk hasn't changed, it is just on the LAX-LHR flight, you would probably manage the situation if it turned bad because of the alternates. However on both flights the risk factor is the same.

[Edited 2005-11-14 22:40:49]
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zeke
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 8:03 am

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 19):
Hence equation equals - flying on 3 engines is safe if I have lots of alternate airports, flying on 3 engines might not be so safe if I don't have lots of alternates.

Total utter B/S, Phil never mentioned that safety was an issue.

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 19):
I would argue that the provision of alternates should make no difference to the decision - either you can do it for every situation or you can't do it for any situation.

Jules, its the captains decision on the day. When you have your command and it happens to you let us know how it turns out. Professionals that do this for a living now are providing you with some good advice. Take it or leave it, dont try and re-invent the wheel of aviation.

As I mentioned before its safe to takeoff and ferry a quad on 3 engines.
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WrenchBender
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:37 am

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 3):
"So pilot X, you were 1 hr away from a suitable landing site, and it was your choice to continue to your destination some 2hrs 15 minutes away. At 1hr 30 minutes your second engine failed causing a severe emergency in which a number of passengers were injured etc etc"

Aug 20/99, a Martinair 767-300 lost an engine over the pole. The pilot had the option of Churchill, Manitoba or Yellowknife, NWT. He chose Yellowknife on the basis of equipment and facilities available over runway available at Churchill (old SAC B52 base). It meant he flew a little further but his pax were better cared for and his aircraft was a little easier to repair (not much)


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Alias1024
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:27 am

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 1):
FAR 121.565 provides that "the PIC will land the aircraft at the nearest suitable airport, in point of time, at which a safe landing can be made".

This opens up the debate as to what constitutes a suitable airport. Obviously the intent is to allow the crew to consider runway length, weather, and other factors when choosing an airport. But can airport services be considered?

For example, a 777 flying across Siberia has an engine failure. There might be a couple of airports within an hour with suitable weather and sufficient runway length, but no hope of repairing the aircraft any time soon, and no hotel rooms for the passengers. Passengers would be stranded for days. Or you can fly for two hours and make it to an airport like Beijing or Seoul. What do you do?

Since the Russian airport are safe, could captain's emergency authority be used to go to an airport with better services? I tend to think not. I seem to remember a case where a Midwest DC-9 had an engine failure near DTW while flying MKE to BOS. After speaking with maintenance, the captain returned to MKE due to the company's maintenance being located there. The FAA wasn't amused and launched an enforcement action because he overflew several suitable alternates.
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:39 am

Quoting Zeke (Reply 6):
I believe the concord has the record the most number of trans Atlantic crossings on 3 engines. Passengers just never knew.

I expect they did, as Concorde couldn't maintain supersonic flt or altitude on 3.
 
PhilSquares
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:24 pm

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 19):
I would argue that the provision of alternates should make no difference to the decision - either you can do it for every situation or you can't do it for any situation.

First of all, when you're the Captain, you can make the decision. Until then perhaps you should just sit back and try to take things in! Don't put words into my mouth.

I never mentioned safety. What I was trying to illustrate was the fact that aviation is about risk management. You always prepare for the worst. That's why on the 744 all our takeoff performance is based on losing an engine. Using your logic, we'd never takeoff because we could always lose 4 engines.

Minimizing risk is what I do based on my experience. That's why if I go to LHR with an early morning arrival I will take an extra 3-4 tonnes of fuel. I know that holding is most likely in order and there's a good chance of a low vis approach which will slow things down even more. The flight plan doesn't take that into account, but I do.

My job as an airline captain is to protect my passengers, the company investment in that order. In the LAX-LHR v. the HKG-SFO flight, my point was that should anything else go wrong, NOTE I didn't say another engine failure, I have many more options on the LAX-LHR flight. I personally have my own MEL that I use to make sure I don't get myself into a corner with no way out. On any transpac flight I certainly am more reluctant to take an aircraft with any malfunctions. Have you heard of ETOPS? That whole operation is based on risk management.

It appears as if you're very new on this forum. That's great, however, it does appear as if there are some other issues going on. Someone mentioned "fishing" could be. However, don't try to put your words into my mouth!
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 1:54 pm

Quoting Zeke (Reply 2):
That is very much a FAA specific rule, for most quads that I can think of a single engine failure is not an emergency, many cases of 4 engine aircraft go on with three engines, at a slightly lower altitude.

I have actually seen a performace chart for the DC-6 titled "Normal Flight-Engine Inoperative".

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 13):
There is no one correct answer.

Exactly, and that is why this is a trap. In the end as long as you don't bend metal then you probably made the right decision, but you should be prepared to defend your logic.

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 22):
This opens up the debate as to what constitutes a suitable airport. Obviously the intent is to allow the crew to consider runway length, weather, and other factors when choosing an airport. But can airport services be considered?

See my comment above.

Let me put up a potential real world scenario.

Lets say you are in a 747 over the Aleutian Islands of Alaska heading toward Anchorage. You loose an engine. What do you do, continue to Anchorage or divert to Cold Bay, Alaska (these are real airports if you want to look them up.).

As mentined "the Captain of 3 or more engined aircraft to proceed to an airport that the pilot selects if, after considering the following, the Captain decides that proceeding to that airport is as safe as landing at the nearest suitable airport if one engine fails"

Well lets look at Cold Bay.
10,500x150 foot runway with suitable approaches so it would be suitable to land.

Part time fire service at the airport
No maintaince
No facilities that can support the airplane
No medical facilies other then a rudimentary clinic
No lodging for the passengers.

All of that exist at Anchorage. In this case there is a strong arguement that proceding to Anchorage would be as safe, if not safer, then going to this town in the middle of nowhere.

Now say you are in a 777. The pilot would have to divert to Cold Bay if it was the closest suitable. And a couple of years ago a 777 belonging to Continental had to do that and 200 odd passengers (4x the population of the town) got to spend a night on the floor of the school gymnasium.

Also note that the closest suitable is measured in time. So if you are say closer physically to Gander then Shannon, you might still be required to go back to Shannon depending on what the winds are doing, because the flight time is less.
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 3:34 pm

Worth mentioning, about the BA flight, that the pilot did contact BA before deciding to continue; and that BA initially claimed that the engine failed not on takeoff but one hour into the flight (which looks like a bit of a coverup).

Most important, the pilot's decision turned out to be wrong. The combination of increased drag and lower altitude resulted in him running short of fuel, declaring an emergency, and landing at Manchester instead of at Heathrow.

"The Boeing 747 was unable to climb to its cruising altitude of 36,000ft and had to cross the Atlantic at 29,000ft, where the engines perform less efficiently and the tailwinds are less favourable. The unbalanced thrust also meant the pilot had to apply more rudder, causing extra drag.

"The pilot realised as he flew over the Atlantic that he was running out of fuel and would not make it to Heathrow. He requested an emergency landing at Manchester and was met by four fire engines and thirty firefighters on the runway."


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1499342,00.html

It's hard to escape the conclusion that the bean-counters had some influence on the decision to continue the flight.
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sudden
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:11 pm

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 19):
So flying 3 engines up for a long flight now is fine if there are lots of airports available.



Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 19):
So suddenly flying 3 engines up for a long flight if there are not enough enroute diversions available is not advisable.

May I ask a friendly, but all though serious question.

Why did you start this thread?
To get answers from pilots or similar that are professionals, but still you "divert" the subject to keep the postings alive.

You are also talking against yourself, which also is a sign that you want this thread to stay alive!?

There is more then 1 response on here that have answered your issue, so why go on, really?

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HAWK21M
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 5:15 pm

Quoting Zeke (Reply 20):
As I mentioned before its safe to takeoff and ferry a quad on 3 engines

It sure is.
What about a B737.An IFSD on it.What would be the pilots task.Was talking to one Pilot recently & his take was get back on safe ground asap even if its an overweight landing.BTW he flies Freighters.
Whats the pilot call on it.

regds
MEL

[Edited 2005-11-15 09:18:18]
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zeke
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 7:24 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 28):
What about a B737.An IFSD on it.What would be the pilots task.Was talking to one Pilot recently & his take was get back on safe ground asap even if its an overweight landing.BTW he flies Freighters.

Depends on the phase of flight, in a 737 I would be in no hurry if it was a straight failure during or just after takeoff , take stock of the situation, maybe hold, run the checks, work out a plan etc. advise atc, your crew and the pax. and company.

During cruise, in a 737 divert and land, still run the checks, and work out a plan, what height do I need to descent to maintain altitude single engine ? what is the highest terrain ? Still dont see the need to land overweight if no emergency exists, a straight engine failure is a non normal situation.

During descent, you going to land anyway, maybe even delay the landing by holding to finish all the checklists, brief the approach, go around, landing etc.

An uncontrolled engine fire (one that cannot go out) would be an emergency situation that would warrant a immediate return to land and/or overweight landing.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 26):
"The pilot realised as he flew over the Atlantic that he was running out of fuel and would not make it to Heathrow. He requested an emergency landing at Manchester and was met by four fire engines and thirty firefighters on the runway."

As I mentioned a little earlier, it was an unrelated failure preventing the use of fuel from the centre tank which was the reason for the diversion to MAN.

It was the #2 engine, the increase in drag was not significant, nor was the increased fuel burn, burning maybe an additional 10-15% being off optimum per engine, however with only three going it is not significant compared to the say four engine FL360 burn.
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PhilSquares
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 7:38 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 26):
"The Boeing 747 was unable to climb to its cruising altitude of 36,000ft and had to cross the Atlantic at 29,000ft, where the engines perform less efficiently and the tailwinds are less favourable. The unbalanced thrust also meant the pilot had to apply more rudder, causing extra drag.

"The pilot realized as he flew over the Atlantic that he was running out of fuel and would not make it to Heathrow. He requested an emergency landing at Manchester and was met by four fire engines and thirty firefighters on the runway."

I hate to tell you but the "Times" is wrong.

First of all, the asymmetrical condition of an engine out and the application of rudder won't add any appreciable drag, especially during cruise. So, the "Times" is a little off on that issue.

Secondly, the flight had no tailwinds at all. Tailwinds were forecast and the forecast was simply wrong. The other mitigating factor was the crew didn't get the NAT they had filed for. The assigned NAT was further north and added mileage to their flight.

Ironically, my guess is if the same flight was flown by the aircraft on 4 engines at the same altitudes and the same route, the results might very well have been the same. If they were, it would have been a non-newsworthy story. However since there was an engine out, not that's to blame for everything.

I have done numerous 3 engine ferries on the 747/744 and the surprising thing is the aircraft flies fine on 3 engines. Very little drag, although there is more with a windmilling engine. But, the fuel figures are almost identical to the 4 engine fuel figures, you just burn more/engine on 3.
Fly fast, live slow
 
NAV20
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:01 pm

Quoting Zeke (Reply 29):
As I mentioned a little earlier, it was an unrelated failure preventing the use of fuel from the centre tank which was the reason for the diversion to MAN.

Didn't know about the 'unrelated failure', Zeke, thanks. But arguably that makes it worse, not better.

Matter of opinion, Zeke - and PhilSquares. I'm presuming anyway to express opinions in this company, I only ever flew light aeroplanes - mostly gliders, in fact. But it was drummed in to me, 'Don't take unnecessary chances - any problems, get down safe and start again tomorrow."

IMO that pilot (no doubt encouraged by the bureaucrats) 'pushed the envelope' - he should have allowed for the chance of something ELSE going wrong. 'Murphy's Law', we used to call it. There may actually have been a moment when, if the fuel problem had developed earlier, or been worse, he'd have finished up ditching in the Atlantic.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
David L
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:25 pm

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 12):
if a flight time is say 10 hours and engine fails after 3 hrs and after dumping fuel the pilot could land safely 2 hrs after engine failure, then carrying on for the next 5 hours with three engines, the risk to the passengers has gone up.

Suppose Boeing stuck an extra two engines on to a 747 for increased safety and two of those engines failed in flight. Now, the risk factor has increased so, by your logic, they should land immediately and the fact that it's clearly safe to fly on 4 engines is irrelevant.

 confused 
 
julesmusician
Topic Author
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:01 am

The BA flight is a brilliant case in point - as they had diverted to Manchester after declaring an emergency because of an unrelated incident, the media world decided to concentrate on the fact it was one engine out as maybe being the cause of the Manchester diversion. If this was wrong, then all well and good, BUT perception and reality are much different. BA should have realised that had anything happened that caused the flight to have a problem it would be blamed on the engine being out regardless of the truth. It is the same throughout life - if I pull out of a road straight into another vehicle and both drivers are tested for alcohol and the other driver has got alcohol in his bloodstream, no matter if it was my fault totally, society and people will blame the driver that has been drinking despite his total innocence.

We were talking about giving passengers the full facts when you have a problem. In Phil's case I would like to see the passengers reaction if he had announced "Ladies and Gents, we are on three engines it is perfectly safe, and we will continue to Heathrow, but if I was going from Hong Kong to San Francisco I would be turning back now, but we don't have to because there are lots of airports nearby if I need to land quickly." In any case in the scenario of the BA flight passengers who were nervous/scared/unfamiliar with flying would perceive that they were in danger. Just like the driving example above you can't convince a lot of people if they won't listen to reason, therefore BA were gambling with people coming out of that aircraft saying they were happy and not talking to the media.

I am not sure what insurance companies would say if you flew a long distance on three engines and had a problem that a fourth engine would have got you out of. Yes I know statistically it is a tiny tiny chance, but why open yourself up both personally and company for the possibility. It isn't worth it in my eyes.

J

P.S. No I am not a journo....
African Civil Aviation Commission president "You don't want to fly out as a passenger and come back as cargo."
 
PhilSquares
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:19 am

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 33):
We were talking about giving passengers the full facts when you have a problem. In Phil's case I would like to see the passengers reaction if he had announced "Ladies and Gents, we are on three engines it is perfectly safe, and we will continue to Heathrow, but if I was going from Hong Kong to San Francisco I would be turning back now, but we don't have to because there are lots of airports nearby if I need to land quickly."

Are the passengers entitled to or do they have to know everything? I can see it now, reading through the deferred items, "yes folks, we have the FO's map light inop tonight. I'll be coming through the cabin to gather your thoughts then I'll get back to you with the results."

You've got to be kidding me! I hate to burst your bubble, but the passengers don't always, in fact most of the time they're in the dark, know what's going on. And they shouldn't. Why? Because they're not professionals. The aircraft is run by the crew, not the passengers. There is no consensus building among the flight deck and passengers. It's up to the captain with input form as many experts that he can get input from. The FO, cabin staff, dispatch, maintenance, Boeing/Airbus, the list goes on and on. However, the passengers aren't on the list!

Again, I'd suggest you do a little reading on ETOPS and risk management. You seem to be quite confused on the idea of safety. Your analogy about pulling out into traffic, isn't quite the same. The very act you mention is unsafe, flying a 4 engine aircraft on three is safe.
Fly fast, live slow
 
neilking
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:24 am

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 34):
"yes folks, we have the FO's map light inop tonight. I'll be coming through the cabin to gather your thoughts then I'll get back to you with the results."

 rotfl 
 
David L
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:05 am

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 33):
"... but if I was going from Hong Kong to San Francisco I would be turning back now, but we don't have to because there are lots of airports nearby if I need to land quickly."

And on a flight with all engines running the crew should announce "if there was a fire on board we'd divert to the nearest airport but we don't have to divert because there's no fire"? Or "the weather's preventing us from climbing above 20,000 ft so if we were crossing the Hamalayas we'd crash into a mountain but we're not so we won't"?
 
julesmusician
Topic Author
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:21 am

No, all I am saying is that when something happens, and it is obvious it has happened, then you got to tell them - and from reports the engine failure was pretty obvious on that flight...I would love to have interviewed the people coming off that flight to find the consensus of opinion whether they felt safe. The idea of telling them that you wouldn't do it if flying Hong Kong - San Francisco is something of course you wouldn't say - but imagine reading a pilot in the press the next day saying "well we fly on 3 engines and it perfectly safe to but not if we haven't got a nearby airport to put down in." - how many passengers would feel safe if the same thing happened again? In Phil's example, if flying on 3 engines is totally safe then flying Hong Kong to San Francisco on 3 would not necessitate going back to Hong Kong if it failed. It is either ok in all situations or not. I would be very interested to find out if insurers would cover you if you had a safe nearer alternative, decided not to take it, and it all went wrong.
African Civil Aviation Commission president "You don't want to fly out as a passenger and come back as cargo."
 
Okie
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:55 am

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 37):
. I would be very interested to find out if insurers would cover you if you had a safe nearer alternative, decided not to take it, and it all went wrong

Not an issue it is called "risk assessment" when the insurer insured the airline.


Okie
 
neilking
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:13 am

Jules

I think you've got to drop this one.

You've had a 747 Captain (Phil) tell you how he'd react to the loss of an engine on a quad on a given route and what he'd tell the PAX (nothing).

I would be content that Phil knows what he's talking about and that he's within the SOP's and insurer's requirements etc. etc. and that's good enough for me.

It's all about risk management which to my mind is about taking acceptable risks, not elimanating risks altogether.

Neil
 
David L
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:13 am

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 37):
It is either ok in all situations or not.

According to whom?

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 37):
how many passengers would feel safe if the same thing happened again?

How many passengers don't feel safe in turbulence?

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 37):
I would be very interested to find out if insurers would cover you if you had a safe nearer alternative, decided not to take it, and it all went wrong.

Perhaps someone in the industry will correct me but it seems to me that if insurers wouldn't cover such a situation, then the SOP(?) would dictate a diversion, no questions asked.
 
AAR90
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:10 am

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 22):
Quoting AAR90 (Reply 1):
FAR 121.565 provides that "the PIC will land the aircraft at the nearest suitable airport, in point of time, at which a safe landing can be made".

This opens up the debate as to what constitutes a suitable airport. Obviously the intent is to allow the crew to consider runway length, weather, and other factors when choosing an airport. But can airport services be considered?

In a word... YES ! That is called "Captain's Authority." Virtually this entire thread comes down to this simple basic concept: when all is said and done, the Captain must be able to logically explain the reason(s) behind his decision(s). Lawyers, Judges, Managers, "the press" and everybody else will be second-guessing each and every decision from the comfort and safety of a warm chair sitting on the earth somewhere using 20/20 hindsight. The Captain has to make these decisions in the moment with whatever information is available at that moment.

USN taught me how to fly airplanes.  yes 
AA taught me how to fly airplanes legallybanghead 
These two things shall never meet each other.  white 
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
buckfifty
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Thu Nov 17, 2005 2:08 pm

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 37):
It is either ok in all situations or not.

Flying is often not a black and white issue. New rules and regulations are issued nowadays in response to incidents or accidents which had no precedent. The reason why pilots are so well paid and highly trained is because they make decisions based on whatever information is available. Sometimes, there are no SOP's which can tell you why an airport is suitable or not. You can probably land there, but at what risk?

Going to any alternate anywhere in the world provides risk of many kinds, and the decision to go to one cannot be taken lightly. For example, if an engine failure happens (not the catastrophic kind), the first thing we would consider is if we can make our destination. For one, the flight crew should be well aware of the situation at the destination, have been well briefed on it before departure, with acceptable weather and experience attached to it. The passengers can disembark and continue on with their lives, and the aircraft can get the service and attention it requires. Now every step down from there increases the risk.

If we consider diverting then, these are some of the questions you may ask yourself: Is it a company port? Has anyone on the flightdeck been there before? What kind of alternates are available for that diversion port? Is it pertinent? Are they open? Will my passengers be taken care of there? Again, what is the weather like, or is it marginal? What is the terrain around the airport like, or is the MSA the only indicator of what high ground they have? Do I have plates for the approaches? Are the emergency services reliable, or do they have any? Is the information in my FMS up to date for that airport, and are the approaches accurate? Is it even in the FMS? Is the airport open? Do the controllers speak English so that I know (and they know) what is going on? What is the runway length, and is it in a good condition? Are our notams for that airport updated, or do we even have notams for that airport at all? How much time to we have to figure this out? In the end, considering the condition of the aircraft, how much will this cost, and is it really necessary? Sometimes, if you're diverting and you have more than half of the information prescribed above, you would be considered lucky.

So what is acceptable risk? If you understand how an aircraft works, Jules, you would know that a simple engine failure or inflight shutdown on a four engined aircraft is really less risky compared to diverting to another airport which isn't on the flightplan. Because diversions are not a simple matter at all. On the other hand, if the failure itself can propogate, depending on the situation, the risks involved may lead me to go to an alternate just to be safe.

If flying were done by rules made up by pen-pushers, commercial aviation in general will grind to a standstill.
 
sudden
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:39 am

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 37):
I would be very interested to find out if insurers would cover you if you had a safe nearer alternative, decided not to take it, and it all went wrong.

So what PhilSquares and the rest of you pilots will do from now if you have an engine faliure is,

1. get on the PA and ask all the pax to call there insurance comp. to check what they think.
2. PIC leave the flightdeck to collect all responses from insurance companies.
3. Call the insurance companies himself from the flightdeck, telling them who he is, how many hours he have on type, ratings etc.
4. Actually turn his attention to the actual issue at hand, the engine failure.
5. Make sure he is still capable of keeping the A/C flying without any hazard to the pax.
6. Problem shoot the issue if there still is an issue, hence engine, to problem shoot.

Time to face facts Jules.

Aim for the sky!
Sudden
When in doubt, flat out!
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:44 am

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 13):

There is no one correct answer. In the case of the BA 744 and the engine failure out of LAX, he did nothing wrong. Julesmusician, he did not increase the risk to the passengers at all! The 744 can land at any weight it takes off at. If you have a real serious emergency, you can just come right back and land. No drama.

The flight from LAX-LHR has so many enroute alternates it's unbelievable. Again, there was no compromise of safety.

Now a different scenario, HKG-SFO, engine failure right after takeoff. Me personally, I'll come back to HKG. Why? Because is anything else happens my options are really limited in terms of enroute alternates.

However, from a strictly "legal" point of view, I could continue. End of story.



Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 37):
It is either ok in all situations or not. I

Julesmusician, it's not "ok in all situations or not". There are a myriad variables in the problem. And that's why PhilSquares' ass is in the seat up front. So that he can make that assesment based on all the variables. The pilot has to make the right decision based on more factors that just a strict interpretation of the rules (as long as he doesn't break them).
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
julesmusician
Topic Author
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decisi

Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:12 am

 white  I realise there is a lot more to it than meets the eye, some good points have been bought up especially the one about diverting somewhere you might not know very well.  white 
African Civil Aviation Commission president "You don't want to fly out as a passenger and come back as cargo."
 
Klaus
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RE: Engine Failures - The Law Vs The Pilots Decision

Sat Nov 26, 2005 1:33 am

One of the factors to be considered would be that every single takeoff and landing will incur an additional risk - even if that risk has been reduced to a very low (but still not actually insignificant) level.

So the loss of some redundancy through a controlled engine shutdown (and that is what it is!) does have a marginal impact on safety, but an unscheduled return, additional landing (possibly including a fuel dump) and additional takeoff would also have an impact on overall safety. On a twin the actual impact of an engine shutdown would be somewhat greater (reducing engine redundancy to one instead of three) so that the decision in the end could be a different one.

It will always be a complex decision, and the answer will not always be obvious. It's just not as simple as the tabloids suggest it is.

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