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British Airways 777 crashed at Heathrow

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BA Flight Makes Emergency Landing In Nigeria


January 25, 2009

A British Airways Boeing 777 bound for London with 155 passengers and 14 crew on board made an emergency landing in northern Nigeria on Saturday after smoke was detected in the cockpit, the airline said.


The pilot of flight BA 82, which originated in Nigeria's capital Abuja, safely landed the 777 in Kano.


"The flight crew detected smoke in the cockpit and took the decision to divert as a precaution," British Airways said on Sunday. "We apologise to passengers for the inconvenience caused."


Smoke was first detected in the cockpit early on Saturday during a flight from London to Abuja. BA said its engineers inspected the plane and believed the problem had been fixed.


About an hour after the plane departed from Abuja, crew again reported smoke in the cockpit and diverted to Kano.


A BA official said the passengers will be flown to London on another flight as quickly as possible.


Africa's most populous country suffered a series of air disasters in 2005 and 2006 which killed hundreds of people, including scores of school children.


Experts say many Nigerian airports do not have effective navigational, surveillance or communication equipment, while the emergency services lack proper search and rescue abilities.




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There have been incidents where the equipment cooling fans located in the fwd cargo compartment have come off their bearings and come into contact of the duct sidewall causing smoke and a strong burning smell. This could very well be the cause of this latest incident.



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Boeing issues warning to 777 operators


BY James Wallace

P-I aerospace reporter


A Delta Airlines 777-200ER was flying from Shanghai, China, to Atlanta last November when its right engine suddenly lost thrust while the plane was cruising at 39,000 feet over Montana.


The pilots followed flight manual procedures and descended to 31,000 feet, where the Rolls-Royce engine recovered and responded normally. The flight, with 15 crew members and 232 passengers, continued to Atlanta and landed safely.


That incident would likely not have gotten much attention had the same kind of Boeing jet, with Rolls-Royce engines, not lost all power in both engines just before landing at London's Heathrow earlier in the year. The British Airways 777 crash-landed short of the runway. Several passengers were injured, but none seriously.


Safety experts eventually decided that the British Airways jet, also on a flight from China, had flown through unusually cold weather at cruise altitude and ice apparently formed in part of the engine and blocked the fuel flow.


On Thursday, Boeing sent a notice to all operators of its 777s with Trent engines made by Rolls-Royce, advising them that it now believes the Delta and British Airways incidents appear to have been caused by the same thing – ice blocking the fuel path.


A Boeing spokesman said Tuesday the "all operators" notice contains a series of precautionary measures that pilots should take during flight to lessen the chance ice could cause a sudden loss of engine power.


Eventually, the spokesman said, the FAA can be expected to order a "permanent fix.'' That would likely mean a redesign of part of the Trent 777 engine.


Boeing would not release a copy of the letter it sent last week. The spokesman said it is not a public document. But the industry magazine Flight International obtained a copy and said the Boeing letter describes the Delta and British Airways incidents as likely being caused by "similar factors.''


More than 700 Boeing 777s, a widebody jet that typically carries from 300 to 360 passengers, depending on the model, are in service with airlines around the world. About 30 percent have Trent engines.


General Electric and Pratt & Whitney also make engines for the 777, but those have a different design than the Trent engine from Rolls-Royce and are not thought to be susceptible to the ice problem. The newest 777s built by Boeing, the best-selling 777-300ER and the ultra-long-range 777-200LR, are only powered with GE engines.


In September, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a formal airworthiness directive that required changes in the way ground crews prepare 777s with Trent engines and how pilots fly them in extreme cold weather in response to what investigators found in studying the British Airways crash in January. Shortly before the FAA issued its warning, Boeing had sent out an "all operators" notice with a series of recommendations developed to prevent a similar problem on its 777s with Trent engines.


Boeing recommended, for example, that pilots rev their engines when the fuel temperature falls to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. That would conceivably dislodge any ice that might be in the fuel line.


Another procedure recommended by Boeing, and ordered by the FAA, called for the crew to advance the engine throttles to maximum thrust for 10 seconds before descending on flights that have maintained the same altitude for at least three hours, if the fuel temperature is below 14 degrees.


Those procedures have been revised in the Boeing bulletin sent last week, following the Delta incident.


Boeing now recommends that pilots advance engine throttles to maximum thrust before descending on flights that have maintained the same altitude for two hours, not three.


Also in its latest notice, Boeing recommends that pilots, during the descent for landing, reduce engine power to full idle for at least 30 seconds. By reducing fuel flow, engine oil heat can melt any ice that may have accumulated.


The FAA, as it did in September, is likely to make Boeing's latest recommendations mandatory.


The 777 has never had a fatal crash since it entered service with United Airlines in 1995. But the Delta and British Airways incidents have given safety experts cause for concern, in large part because they are apparently dealing with a previously unknown phenomenon.


The British Airways crash occurred Jan. 17, 2008, as the 777-200ER, with 152 passengers and crew members, approached Heathrow after a flight from Beijing. Both engines failed to respond to autopilot commands for thrust as the plane approached the airport.


It turned into one of the most puzzling aviation accidents in modern times. The plane was badly damaged but was mostly intact, so investigators had all the physical evidence in hand to look for clues. But one thing was missing – the ice. The key piece of evidence had literally melted away.


Investigators now believe the problem is with the fuel-oil heat exchanger system on the Trent 777 engine.


Boeing engineers, according to Flight International, have determined by working in the laboratory that the heat generated by the Rolls-Royce fuel-oil heat exchanger is not adequate to prevent moisture in the fuel from freezing. When that happens, ice can form that blocks fuel to the exchanger, "starving the engines,'' according to the magazine.


The General Electric and Pratt engines on the 777 have a different fuel system architecture.


"Based on our knowledge of the system configurations, scenario studies and laboratory test results, we do not believe that immediate action is necessary or warranted for 777s powered by other engine types or non-777 airframes regardless of engine type,'' the Boeing letter sent to 777 operators last week states, according to Flight International.

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. 117,340 litres of fuel carried in tanks in both wings and main fuselage

. Water occurring naturally in the fuel can freeze during "long-cold-high" flights

. Fuel/oil heat exchanger though which fuel passes on its way to engines failed to melt ice leading to build-up and blockage




. In flight where fuel temperature falls below -10C pilots should make periodic climbs to a higher altitude at full throttle

. If aircraft has remained at the same altitude for more than two hours prior to descending to land, and fuel temperature is below -10C, the pilot must "advance the throttle to maximum for 10 seconds" to clear any ice in the fuel system


Source: Boeing/National Transport Safety Board






'High risk' of plane fault repeat


Experts have warned there is a "high probability" that a fault which caused a British Airways jet to crash-land at Heathrow could hit other Boeing 777s.


US air accident investigators called for a component to be redesigned after a Delta Air Lines plane reportedly encountered a similar problem.


Manufacturers Rolls-Royce say the new part should be ready within the year.


It comes after tests proved a build-up of ice in the engine was the most likely cause of the Heathrow crash.


The Boeing 777, with 152 people on board, crashed in January 2008, causing one serious injury.


The captain and co-pilot were praised for averting a major disaster.


On Thursday, a second interim report from the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch said that, during the flight from Beijing, ice may have developed in the fuel pipes.


Then shortly before landing, owing to factors such as turbulence or engine acceleration, a large amount of ice may have been dislodged and suddenly released into the fuel system, causing a fuel blockage.


Ten months later, it is understood a Delta Air Lines Boeing 777 was affected by a similar problem, known in the industry as an engine rollback or sudden power loss.


The plane experienced a single engine rollback while cruising over Montana while en route from Shanghai to Atlanta.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the US said this was because there had been a build-up of ice, from water normally present in all jet fuel, on a component known as the fuel/oil heat exchanger (FOHE). This had restricted the flow of fuel to the engine.


It has now issued an "urgent safety recommendation", calling for a redesign of the FOHE to eliminate the potential for ice build-up.


Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the NTSB, said: "With two of these rollback events occurring within a year, we believe that there is a high probability of something happening again."


Rolls-Royce has said a new version of the component was already being developed and it should be ready within 12 months.


A Rolls-Royce spokesperson said there had been no issues with its equipment, adding that ice build-up in commercial "long-cold-high" routes was an industry-wide issue.


New guidelines


There are currently 220 Boeing 777s, with Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines, in operation. The planes are used by 11 airlines and British Airways owns 15.


Aviation expert David Gleave said he would have no concerns about flying on a Boeing 777 as new "operating procedures", such as boosting the engine on approach to landing to keep the heat up, had been implemented.


"All the regulatory authorities are satisfied the new procedures which they will adopt or already have adopted will cure the problem as a temporary measure," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.


"Then new components will be fitted in time which will remove the need for the new operation procedure."


A Boeing spokeswoman said it had issued a set of guidelines for pilots to prevent long-term build-up of ice and these procedures had been approved by the regulatory bodies.


But the NTSB report said: "While the procedures may reduce the risk of a rollback in one or both engines due to ice blockage, they add complexity to flight crew operations, and the level of risk reduction is not well established."


An AAIB spokesman said it had not called for the planes to be grounded and neither had its US counterpart.


It joined the NTSB in recommending that Rolls-Royce should develop changes which prevent ice from causing restriction to the fuel flow.


"Operators have put in place procedures to prevent this causing another safety incident," the spokesman added.



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THE hero pilot who saved 152 passengers by safely landing a stricken jet at Heathrow airport has signed on the dole after failing to get a job — because he has a crash on his CV.

Captain Peter Burkill was commended after his heroic actions averted disaster as his Boeing 777 narrowly avoided crash landing when its engines failed two miles short of the runway.


But Peter, 44, who took voluntary redundancy last month after 20 years with BA, has already been turned down for one pilot's job and heard nothing back from dozens of other airlines.


He has now been forced to live on £64-a-week Jobseeker's Allowance.


Airline Korean Air — which has a fleet of Boeing 777s like the one Peter flew at BA — turned him down because his CV showed he was a pilot in charge of a plane which had "crashed".


Now his wife Maria, 34, said the family even faced losing their £500,000 home in Worcester if he does not get a new job soon.


She said: "Korean Air said they wanted somebody who didn't have a crash on their record.


"If only they would see how fantastic Pete is and how experienced he is but they refuse to see past the fact that his plane did crash land. They don't want to know the reasons behind it.


"It is frustrating because Pete is a pilot and loves flying. He decided to leave British Airways for lots of reasons but he still wants to fly."


Maria is also taking on extra hours as a paramedic while Peter stays at home and looks after their three children.


She said: "Pete was given 52 weeks pay as part of his redundancy but sooner or later that money is going to run out.


"I would say we have until next August otherwise we will have to look at selling our home. Pete is looking at doing after dinner speaking to make some money but he really wants to fly."


Peter was commended for his "cool, calm reactions" when he told his co-pilot John Coward to take the controls, while he altered the angle of the plane's wing flaps as it approached the landing strip.


His actions allowed the plane to clear Heathrow airport's boundary fence and avoided a disastrous crash into nearby houses.


The Sun revealed recently there were claims Peter was forced out of British Airways after a whispering campaign by jealous colleagues claiming he had "chickened out" when he gave the controls to Mr Coward.


Maria added: "There are lots of things we could say but we can't yet because we don't want to jeopardise Pete's redundancy."


The couple have also written a book about their experiences since the crash which they hope to publish in December.


Maria said: "We are doing whatever we can to earn some more money in order to look after and protect our family."

Edited by Denny Yen

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I'm glad the international media has got hold of this, as i'm sure plenty of airline exec's would have read it. Its hard to imagine an airline not wanting the skills of such a pilot. The word crash is misunderstood in this context as it was not his fault, what he really did was save 152 lives.

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Unfortunately, those in charge of HR departments do not know what he did. He will be an asset to any airline, particularly as an instructor!

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hmm... I did see some quite provocative pictures of the Captain in his younger days, semi-naked, partying with other scantily dressed crew members on one of his layovers. :huh: Can't remember... was it in the Sun? Wonder if Korean Air also reads the Sun newspaper...

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Procedure wise,he should have control of his aircraft in case of emergencies and let his co-pilot put down the flaps. Anyway, it's his judgement since he's in charge of that aircraft at that particular time. MAS, hire him please. Hehehe..

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I was reading some old stories on MH370 and then came across this crash again...


Not all B777-200ER disasters end in tears. BA pax and crew were very fortunate and the investigators have also solved the cause of this crash.

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