Skip to comments.Jumbo Jet Packed With British Tourists Seconds From Disaster After It Fails To Rise On Take-Off
Posted on 05/31/2009 7:58:41 PM PDT by Steelfish
Jumbo jet packed with British tourists seconds from disaster after it fails to rise on take-off
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER 01st June 2009
Hundreds of passengers narrowly avoided disaster when their plane nearly crashed after taking off.
The British Airways plane shook violently and did not rise more than 30ft above the ground as it set off from Johannesburg to London.
The pilot has been praised for his quick actions in keeping the Boeing 747 in the air, saving the lives of the 256 passengers on board.
Miraculous escape: The British Airways Boeing 747, similar to this one, is thought to have gone into landing mode so that the flaps that make it rise did not work
Travelling at 200mph, he dumped enough fuel for the aircraft to eventually gain height, before returning it to the airport.
It is believed that a technical fault caused the plane to go into landing mode so that the flaps that normally make it rise did not work.
An investigation is under way as to how the jet came so close to crashing.
A BA spokesman said: 'As a precaution BA56 Johannesburg to Heathrow flight on Monday May 11 returned to the airport shortly after take-off due to a suspected technical problem.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Flight software hacked???
So the media thinks there are two sets of flaps. One to take off with and the other to land with.
Yeah, I didn’t get that part.
Yeah, “failing to rise” would be a problem alright...
I wonder if you also raise the take off gear and lower the landing gear.
What is the significance of BA being privatized ? Why does it not mention the losses BA incurred before it was privatized ?
I just flew a Quicksilver GT500 from Washington, GA to San Antonio, TX and back, the entire trip was terrifying. Never got bored.
Silly me, I thought they set the flaps BEFORE takeoff. Anyway 'landing flaps' are always at a greater setting than 'takeoff flap' settings. The article doesn't make any sense.
It is a long flight out of Joberg, flights take off as heavy as possible, and the runway is at 5000ft, so there is little margin for error.
Can’t do that because as a government-run institution losses can be more easily hidden.
British Airways 747
U should have stopped in to see me. I’m in New Braunfels Texas just north of San Antonio. That’s a very small plane-like vehicle to cover such distance.
Different FMS computer configurations for specific flight regimes....
Selected/programmed inappropriately -- ruh-roh
How much is the pilot going to be fined for dumping fuel and polluting the environment?
I am guessing the flaps retracted too quickly and the spoilers deployed just as it took off. With a full load of cargo and passengers for a long haul flight, it's a miracle the pilots managed to keep it airborne.
It is as if the computer or computers took over and were going to crash the plane
The story that I have heard from a couple of people and read on a few aviation sites where pilots hang out is that the problem stemmed from a thrust reverser unlocked indication on one or both of the inboard engines (#2 and #3). The thrust reversers are the gizmos that direct the engine thrust forward on landing to help slow the plane down.
Anyway, apparently the thrust reverser on at least one or maybe both of the inboard engines, the ones nearest the fuselage, erroneously indicated “unlocked”—that is to say, not deployed, but not locked down in a correct state—as the plane took off. There is logic in the electronic systems on the 747-400 that when the inboard thrust reversers unlock, the inboard leading edge slats on the wing retract; this is to keep debris kicked up by the reversed thrust from getting into the internals of the slats. Here’s the catch—theoretically, the thrust reversers cannot unlock and deploy unless there’s weight on the main landing gear wheels. So there’s no redundant check on the slat retraction; the 744’s brain sees unlocked thrust reversers, assumes the plane’s on the ground since the reversers are unlocked, and retracts the inboard leading edge slats.
Those slats are basically flaps on the front of the wing. They provide a substantial boost in lift during takeoff and landing. Retract those, particularly right at liftoff from Johannesburg, which is 5500 feet above sea level and often very hot (which reduces lift), and suddenly you’re in a world of hurt. The crew was very close to stalling the airplane only a few dozen feet off the ground, and by then, they’d probably run out of runway—fully loaded 747 heading for Heathrow, a mile above sea level, on a hot day, means using a LOT of pavement just to waddle it into the air.
BTW, I wouldn’t trust ANYTHING about aviation from the Daily Mail. Last year when the Spanair MD-82 crashed on takeoff from Madrid, they published alleged sensational photos of the “doomed plane’s takeoff” with “an engine on fire”...turns out it was a different Spanair MD-82, on a different day, and it was a perfectly normal takeoff with a perfectly normal amount of exhaust smoke from the engines.
That was quite an explanation-thanks
Daughter and I have ridden LAX/London and LAX/Hong Kong & back. Truly one of the great planes.
BTW, if one of the thrust reversers actually had deployed and activated, the plane would’ve almost certainly crashed. As it was, the pilot had to go to “TOGA” power (takeoff/go-around, the equivalent of mashing your foot all the way to the floor in your car) in order to stagger the plane along and keep it in the air until they could get the slats back down, or climb away. There was a 767 from Lauda that crashed years ago because of an uncommanded thrust reverser deployment while at cruising altitude, in fact; the asymmetric thrust caused it to go into an unrecoverable spin.
Shouldn't the slats retract when the thrust reversers are locked(deployed) ? From what I understand the thrust reversers are deployed shortly after the wheels touch the ground, and I guess the slats and flaps also retract around then to reduce lift and transfer as much of the weight onto the wheels to aid in braking.
You know there are some people who will always read a book backwards as they dont like surprises.
I guess he was reading the “Learn to fly in one lesson” book backwards and never got past landing.
As I read this I’m wondering where the hell my sister and her husband are - they are returning from London and were to arrive in KC at 5:40. It’s now 10:44 and I just found out they changed flights for some reason. Oy.
Perhaps the plane was trying to take off with full-flaps, making it hard to reach VTO. However, I thought these modern aircraft had plenty of power.
Were they flying BA ? A disruption like this could send ripples across the entire fleet.
Ah. Mechanical failure. I was going to make a fat-English joke.
Who’s the joker who offered the passengers waffer-thin mints?
Probably because the British government isn’t releasing those stats.
Musta been a HAL 9000, eh?
“Flight software hacked???”
Wow,, modern terror could get very weird.
It certainly seems plausible to me that the 747 would have difficulty climbing with flaps fully extended.
No. US Air. Sorry, should have stated that in my original post.
Glad everyone’s okay, but I’m glad you caught that flap thing, too.
Flaps is flaps. Need ‘em for landing, helpful for takeoff.
Not enough thrust, perhaps? I hate reading about aviation written my general news reporters. Gee, I wonder if they get this political thing right, too...
Exactly. It doesn’t sound like deploying the flaps while in the takeoff roll would be such a good idea.
Good comparison.....we shall see
I landed at Bulverde. My daughter was stationed at Fort Sam. Make it back in only one day. Those things cruise at 90 mph and I carry 24 gal of fuel. Was fun trip.
“technical fault caused the plane to go into landing mode”
If flaps were not extended at the start of the takeoff roll EICAS would have generated a CAS warning and a NO TAKEOFF aural would be screaching in the cockpit - hard to miss.