Skip to comments.Fire drama on Heathrow jet: delays as plane makes emergency landing with smoke pouring from engine
Posted on 05/24/2013 6:17:17 PM PDT by oxcart
A British Airways jet carrying 75 passengers was forced to perform an emergency landing at Heathrow today with smoke and flames pouring from one engine.
Eye-witnesses reported seeing a fire in the right-hand engine of the Airbus 319 as it was forced to land just minutes after it took off at 8.17am bound for Norways capital Oslo.
Residents on the Heathrow flight path said there was an "almighty blow-out" from the aircraft as it flew at just a few thousand feet above them.
BA said the jet, which is now being examined by investigators, had developed a "technical fault". Suggestions that it was grounded by a bird strike will form part of the investigation.
Passengers were evacuated from the aircraft, BA flight 762, using emergency slides and up to 10 fire crews raced to extinguish the flames. At least three passengers were treated by ambulance crews for minor injuries.
The emergency landing forced the closure of both runways for half an hour, as incoming flights were diverted to other airports in the South-East and many others were cancelled. Clive Cook, who lives on the flightpath, said: "The actual engine itself was on fire. This plane was coming over and suddenly the tone of its engine changed dramatically. Id almost say it sounded as if it was like a blow-out or an explosion."
Another eye witness, an armed forces member calling himself only Aiden, said he saw smoke "swirl off the wing tip" as he drove near the airport.
He added: "The plane was coming right over my head and I had to brake because when I saw the starboard engine it was all blackened.
"The reverse thrusters, the flaps on the side of the carriage were open. The port engine was all clean and normal. The starboard one was all flames inside and fully blackened."
A third eyewitness, named only as Jamie, was working in his garden near Stamford Bridge in Chelsea. He said: "All of a sudden we heard this almighty noise. We could see the right engine on fire it was horrendous. You dont see things like that every day.
"Your thoughts are with the people. If we could hear it that badly then what were the passengers going through?"
The stricken aircraft had taken off on the southern runway but performed an emergency U-turn on to the northern runway, which remained closed today as it was blocked by the jet.
Passengers faced severe delays as the airport operated both arrivals and departures with only one runway effectively running at half capacity.
The drama happened on a very busy day for Heathrow as about 100,000 travellers pass through it for the start of the bank holiday getaway. BA will be carrying more than 463,000 customers over the entire bank holiday weekend, with 128,000 travelling tomorrow and another 116,000 flying on Monday.
The inquiry will be carried out by BA, the Air Accident Investigation Board and the Civil Aviation Authority.
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Now either the passengers would have violently subdued Shatner or the pilot would have turned around and had him arrested. Either of which is a reasonable action even if he isn't screaming about gremlins on the wing.
There were no engine failures. The plane was in for maintenance earlier.
The engine cowlings were not latched properly. The left one blew off early, and ATC informed the crew. Passengers began to film the left engine with the missing cowl.
As the plane was returning to Heathrow, the right engine cowling also blew off, damaging a fuel or oil line, and denting the wing leading edge.
The leaking fluid briefly ignited on the hot engine parts, but the fire was minor and did not last long.
The plane successfully landed without any further incident.
The engine cowlings on these type engines are known for being difficult to latch and for being hard to see that they are not latched properly. There have been bulletins on them before.
BA held all their planes with these engines for a while to makes sure the latches were taken care of.
Me, I vote for subduing Shatner whether he’s screaming about Gremlins or not!!!
Jet engines are fragile and a bird-strike can, and does, take out many aircraft every year (http://www.airsafe.com/birds/birdrisk.htm, http://www.airsafe.org/birds/BirdstrikeRates.pdf, for info on bird-strikes).
As a mishap investigator in the USAF, I worked one bird-strike incident where the jet was lost but the crew ejected. I also experienced a bird-strike and lost the engine.
Thing is, a bird-strike hitting the fan blades causes much damage and basically ‘unbalances” (if not destroy) the blades, and when those blades spin at over 22,000 RPM, the effect on the engine is like a shaggy dog shaking off water drops. . .pieces fly everywhere.
Which brings me to a question: If the winds at LHR were calm or even 10 kts tailwind, why would the pilot elect to fly over downtown London when the engine could very well spit parts (if not completely come apart), thereby spewing FOD all over the city and people below? Why not land at LGW and avoid over-flying a population center?
Anyway, jet recovered and no harm. . .other than to the bird(s).
See the Yukla 27 tragedy.
Canada Geese (weighing 5-14 lbs) showed terrorists what can happen if two engines on a large four-engine aircraft are destroyed at VR speed at the end of the RKZ. The aircraft continues briefly into the air but fails to gain altitude on the remaining two engines and then crashes:
Boeing E-3B Sentry 77-0354 was military Boeing 707-derivative, a.o. equipped and AWACS system. As the plane rotated for lift-off numerous geese were ingested in the no. 1 and 2 engines resulting in a catastrophic no. 2 engine failure and a stalling no. 1 engine. The crew initiated a slow climbing turn to the left and began to dump fuel. The aircraft attained a maximum altitude of 250 feet before it started to descend. The plane impacted a hilly, wooded area less than a mile from the runway, broke up, exploded and burned.
Note that no blame was assessed to the Yukla 27 E-3B pilots for this crash. They calculated their V1 speed for this flight according to regulations. Above V1 the aircraft could have proceeded to VR and taken off with loss of power if only one engine failed, but there was solution available for what to do if two engines failed. If terrorists can knock out two engines on a multi-engine heavy aircraft, the pilots of that aircraft will not have a plan B.
My gosh. What an amazing story. I watched the entire video. That’s the first I’ve heard of that. There’s absolutely no way I would have considered it even remotely possible the pilot would survive hanging out the cockpit window at 17K feet and over 300 mph.
Thanks for posting that! One of the most amazing feats of piloting ever. My personal favorite for commercial aviation is flight UA232...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_232
However, the passengers on that aircraft were not so lucky. Every single one of them (including the crew and a few on the ground) perished.
This was over at the O'Hare airport in Chicago.
You’re posting a factual concise easy to understand summary.
Is that allowed on FR?
Posts like yours are why I love Freeper land.