Archive for the 'flight safety' Category

New Air France Safety Video – Sooo French and Sooo Chic!

LOGO-AIR-FRANCE-_01Air France has just joined the unofficial “Creative Air Safety Video” movement by producing their very own, very French version of the short video that most of us have seen hundreds of times before.

They speak in French and in “Frenglish” (pardon my wording here, but the English pronunciation has a very strong French accent here), and they use the word “chic”! 🙂 They also add a truly French style to the whole visualization of this video by the dancing girls, the funny, airplane-like stage. The electronic devices hidden in books is also a creative idea that I’m sure comes from real-life experiences of flight attendants fighting with “trickier” passengers…

What I was surprised about is the sentence about “lost electronic devices”. I don’t think I have ever heard this instruction on any airplane from any airlines before – it sounds a bit surprising to me. Probably there is a reason for it, I’m wondering what it may be. If you have an idea, please share it in a comment below!

by balint01

British Airways Boeing 777 Incident at London Heathrow

British Airways flight BA 038 inbound to London Heathrow, from Beijing, China today at 12:42 pm local time (12:42 GMT) has crash landed just a few meters off the beginning of Heathrow’s Southern runway (unlucky?). From another point of view, it crash landed just a few meters off of a congested two way road, just inside the boundaries and fences of Heathrow Airport (lucky!!).

BA Boeing 777 after emergency landing at Heathrow - by CNN.com

According to the first reports by BBC and declined to be commented by British Airways, the aircraft has lost some (or all) of its power and avionics systems while descending to the airport, and it equals to a miracle that the pilot managed to reach the territory of the airport by gliding this huge bird “nose up”, and not crash-land into the heavily populated residential areas of West-London. This is the FIRST Report, only a few hours after the crash, so as investigations will take place, the findings may change the descriptions of the cause.

All 136 passengers and 16 crew escaped the aircraft, with 13 of the passengers (among them 7 British and 3 Chinese) reportedly being treated in a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

Scotland Yard has quickly stated that the incident is not terrorism related.

BA chief Willie Walsh, while praising the crew for doing an “excellent job,” declined to comment on the possible cause of the accident, which is being to be probed by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). He further added that “The captain of the aircraft is one of our most experienced and has been flying with us for nearly 20 years,” he said.

What is known at this moment, is a few eyewitness explanations:

Eyewitness Neil Jones, who has a general aviation pilot’s licence, said the plane had been making a “very, very unusual approach,” and the engine sounded louder than normal. “The aircraft was banking to the left and it was coming in very low over the surrounding houses. The plane was significantly lower than it would normally be,” he told the BBC. “You could see the pilot was desperate, trying to get the plane down. The aircraft hit the grass and there was a lot of dirt. The pilot was struggling to keep the plane straight. He did a great job,” said Jones. Another witness said the Boeing had come in at a “funny angle,” and, with its undercarriage down, had slid along the grass in a “plume of smoke.” The plane had hit the ground with a “big impact and a loud noise.”

The 6 year old Boeing 777-200ER, registration G-YMMM, was built by Boeing in 2001 and is one of 43 in the British Airways fleet. The plane is powered by two Rolls-Royce Group Plc Trent 895 engines and had accumulated 23,476 flying hours as of Dec. 31, 2006, (according to data on the Web site of the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority) and was immediately surrounded by emergency vehicles, including fire engines and ambulances, as a carpet of foam was sprayed. The wheels of the plane, which had a routine maintenance check in December, were still in the field where it crashed, several hundred meters from the runway.

Officials said delays were expected after one of Heathrow’s two runways was closed for almost two hours with an air exclusion zone imposed to help regulate traffic at one of the world’s busiest airports. The runway has since been reopened for take-offs only.

Update: first good resolution pictures on airliners.net:
http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1318128/L/
http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1318132/L/
http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1318205/L/

Update: Video of the Crew’s Press Meeting on Telegraph TV, so you know who made sure that such an emergency situation was handled as best as possible: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1137942530/bclid1155254697/bctid1381652074 

Update: In the preliminary report The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the flight had been normal until that point but then the Boeing 777 descended rapidly. The report states: “At approximately 600ft and two miles from touch down, the autothrottle demanded an increase in thrust from the two engines but the engines did not respond.” This means that so far the first theory has been confirmed by pre-liminary investigation findings. This was the first ever crash involving a Boeing 777 aircraft, which is considered as one of the most advanced jets in the sky today.

by balint01

How To Survive An Air Crash?

Even though Air Transport is by far the SAFEST way to travel, air crashes occur every once in a while. Fortunately the industry is working hard to avoid such situations, and the number of passenger fatalities on revenue flights DECREASED IN 2007 by 20% to 631 from 790 in 2006. You have to look at these numbers knowing that more than 2.5 billion people travel each year on airliners. According to statistics this basically means that the chance of somebody losing their lives in an air accident is 1 to 9 million! This means that you would have to fly more than 50.000 times in your life to challenge your faith this way.

SAS MD80 after crash landing - EVERYBODY survived, due to quick and proper instructions by the flight attendants and due to everybody following those!

Most of the irregular operations on an aircraft however, do not end in an actual crash. But if you’re on that particular flight (like one of the 15 in 2007 that were involved in fatal accidents) there are a few things which you should know, which can actually save your life! The following tips can increase your chance of survival, so they’re good to keep in mind!

1. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and lace boots!
Try to avoid comfortable slippers or elegant high heels as they make moving around the wreckage much harder. Also loose dresses can easily get stuck which also make your moves much harder. If you know that the route will take you above cold areas (like Canada at winter or the Himalayas in Asia), take a warm sweater or jacket with you onboard. Following an accident one of the most important things it to keep the body warm. Long pants and long sleeve dresses may also protect against possible fire burns.

2. Sit in the back rows by the aisle!
In most of the cases, the crash itself can be survived and then you need to move away from the wreckage as quick as possible. For this you should sit close to an emergency exit and in an aisle seat! According to statistics, those sitting in the back rows have 40% more chance of survival than those sitting in the front.

3. Read the Safety Card!
Safety Card by Qantas It may be boring after a while, but let’s pay attention to the safety demonstration before each flight, and even take a look at the Safety Card as the information may be used. The emergency exits are also located at different parts of different aircraft types, you should note those before take off as well. If sitting next to an emergency exit, you should be comfortable about how to operate and open it. This could be your duty if the flight attendants get injured for example.

4. Prepare an Emergency Plan in your head!
If you know the plane is going to crash or emergency land, you have a few minutes to prepare before the actual situation. In this time, check the exits again, and possibly count the number of rows in between. This may be useful in case of darkness or smoke in the cabin as you actually may not be able to see the exit. Let’s try to identify the type of soil where the plane would land. If it’s water, don’t inflate the lifejacket as if the cabin gets filled up with water, it would press you against the ceiling, making escape impossible. Also if you land on water, take a sweater or the blanket along against getting cold.

5. Always fasten your seatbelt!
It may be uncomfortable, but keep the seatbelt fastened throughout the whole duration of the flight. Also make sure it’s tight, as in case of a crash landing, the distance between the body and the belt may multiply the g-force on the body. Also you should be aware of how to open the belt the quickest way, as after the accident, speed counts the most. If you have time before the crash, remove any sharp objects from your pockets (pen, pencil, etc., even eyeglasses) as they may cause injury. Best if you don’t even have those on you!

6. Take on an Emergency Position!
If you are aware that the plane will have a crash, try to chock up yourself as much as possible. Move your seat to an upright position, and take on one of the emergency positions:

Brace Position

A) If the seat in front of you is close, put one your palms on the back of the seat, cross the other hand and put the other palm on your lower arm, and move your forehead on the two lower arms. Never cross your fingers!

Brace Position 2.

B) If the seat in front you is farther away, lean forward and put your chest on your thighs and place your head between your knees, take hold of your ankles with your hands.
In both cases, leave your feet on the ground, a little bit below the line of the knees. These positions also prevent damage to your spine at the crash.

7. Don’t move until the plane comes to a complete stop!
Most of the cases passengers survive the first crash, but the fuselage may “bounce” and most of the injuries happen at this time. Try to place your hand luggage under the seat in front of you and not in the overhead bins, as if a bag is there, it may prevent your feet or legs from being caught in that space.

8. Keep calm!
It is very hard to keep calm and not panic right before and after such a crash. Let’s think about which direction is the safest to go, and try to give maximum chance for your survival by thinking calmly about how to do it!

9. Take on the Oxygen Mask!
You should always take on your own mask, before helping others. In case of loss of cabin pressure these masks are only required for a few minutes, while the pilot navigates the plane to a lower flight level, where the outside pressure is high enough so that you can breath normally. Don’t be afraid to take it off and leave it behind after this has happened.

Safety Mask Demonstration

10. Protect yourself from the smoke!
In most of the cases, the fire and the smoke after an accident takes the most fatalities. The smoke inside the cabin is usually thick and has poisonous gases. The best you can do is to put a cloth in front of your mouth and nose. If you have a chance, make the piece of cloth wet, even with your own urine if there is no other way, it also reduces the risk of internal injuries if your bladder is empty. It may sound disgusting but it works and may save your life!

11. Leave the aircraft immediately!
The most important after a crash has happened is to leave the wreckage immediately! Don’t sit around stunned and waiting for instructions, GET MOVING as soon as possible. In the aisle or if it’s not possible, on the top of the seats, try to avoid crawling underneath as other passengers may bury you. If there is a fire or smoke, according to studies, you have about two minutes to leave safely. Quick evacuation is what helped all onboard to survive the China Airlines’ accident last year.

12. Leave your luggage behind!
You may have “valuable” things in your carry-on luggage, but leave them all behind, as the most valuable thing you have is your own life and such bags would only reduce your – and that of other fellow passengers – chance of survival as they slow you down and may get stuck, etc.

14. Check the other side!
Check the other side of the exit, as if there is fire or any other danger, it’s better to try on the other side.

Emergency Exit opening instructions

15. Quickly move away from the wreckage!
As soon as you’re outside the plane, get away from the wreckage as quickly as possible, as an explosion or fire could happen at any second. At the same time, if your plane “landed” in a remote area, don’t move too far away, as the rescue teams will look around the wreckage for survivors. If we land on water, swim as far as you can. The best is to remove your shoes, and any other non-useful dress items in the cabin or before jumping in the water as those make swimming only harder, but don’t leave a sweater or a jacket behind.

16. Follow instructions by flight attendants!
In general, if the flight attendants have survived the crash, always follow their instructions, as they have been trained for such situations. They may not be nice, rather rude with short, straight sentences in a militaristic tone, but that’s what helps in such a case.

If everybody follows these instructions, all passengers can get out of a crash-landed plane very quickly, just take a look at this video of an evacuation test on the new Airbus A380 super-jumbo!

We hope none of us would have to use any of the items in this article, but it’s always better to be prepared!

by balint01

Indonesian Boeing Loses Part of Wing Inflight

Many people around the world thought it’s not fair for the US and the EU to introduce and maintain a list of airlines which they ban from their airspace and classify as “not acceptable” basically in terms of flight safety. Besides saving their airspace from possible accidents, they are trying to protect their citizens by providing them with a list of airlines they believe is not safe to fly. The reason is usually the lack of proper technical maintenance at these airlines. ALL air companies of Indonesia have been on these lists since they were introduced, and many people did not like the idea of putting all aviation companies of a certain country on the list. But the recent events in Indonesian Air Transport show the list is (at least very close to being) right!

Batavia Boeing 737-400 (by airliners.net)

Let’s see the latest occurance of a flight threataning situation in Indonesia (following two deadly crashes this year) from last night:

A Boeing 737-400 operated by Batavia Air – a low cost airline on the Indonesian market since 2002, operating 36 aircraft including Airbus A319 and A320’s besides the older Boeing 737 family versions (-200, -300 and -400) – took from Jakarta Sukarno-Hatta airport, carrying 144 people (138 passengers and 6 crew). Not so long after take-off (about 15 minutes according to some of the news sources) a piece of the wing has simply fallen off the aircraft. Some reports claim it was a 2 m piece, while others are mentioning an “only” 40cmĂ—50cm part. It doesn’t really matter how big it actually was, the fact that a part of the wing just falls off of an airplane carrying passengers is scary enough in my opinion and should not happen! According to some reports, the separated chunk of the wing landed close to the airport, others say it fell on a residential house. The plane was bound to fly to Pontianak on Borneo island before turning around and safely landing at the airport. Nobody onboard was hurt.

Fortunately this third relatively bigger incident in Indonesian Aviation this year did not claim any lifes, unlike the two crashes earlier in 2007 by Garuda and Adam Air, where a total of 123 casulties were suffered. We hope there will be no more aviation safety news from Indonesia this year, and that the domestic airlines will start taking air safety seriously following such accidents and incidents!

by balint01

Two Planes Collided At London Heathrow Airport

Yesterday evening two planes collided on the runway during preparation for taking off. Nobody was injured, although passengers panicked and about 20 fire engines were called to the scene, which understandably strengthened their bad feelings. The two planes involved were a Boeing 747 operated by British Airways on its way to Singapore and an Airbus A340 heading for the Maldives, operated by Sri Lankan Airlines.

According to witnesses one of the engines of the BA Jumbo fell onto the ground after the other aircraft’s wing hit it. In the picture of AP news agency it is not visible, but it is clear that the 747’s winglet was torn down and cut in half by the Airbus.

Collision at London Heathrow

Passengers were safely evacuated and they were offered compensation. The reasons are not known yet, investigations started and we will hopefully learn about the result very soon. Unfortunately Heathrow is one of the most crowded airports of the world and as AirlineWorld reported it earlier, the new terminal will not be open for passengers earlier than next March. BAA is often criticized for the delays at Heathrow Airport as more than one third of the airlines leave Heathrow more than 15 minutes late.

We will give you updates about the investigation as soon as results will be available. Please make sure you add Airline World blog to your favorites and your RSS reader.

By Szafi

Plane Crashes in Kinshasa Congo Killing Many

A Russian-made cargo plane with 17 people on board crashed and exploded on Thursday in a teeming neighbourhood of Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa, killing many people, officials and witnesses said.

The Antonov aircraft belonging to Congolese airline Africa 1 came down on several shacks in the Kingasani neighbourhood near Ndjili international airport, the sources said.

“There were 17 people on board,” said airport protocol official Jean-Claude Bakongo. A major explosion followed the crash, he said. “I saw it fall in the Kingasani neighbourhood.”

Another airport security official who went to the crash site told Reuters fire fighters had struggled to reach the wreckage in the shanty town.

“There are at least four houses burning, the airplane is burning … There’s a lot of smoke and flames, everybody in the houses must be dead,” he said.

A spokesman for the 17,000-strong United Nations mission in Congo (MONUC), the largest in the world, said it had dispatched a rescue team and firefighters to the scene of the accident.

“There are casualties, many dead, but I don’t have any specifics,” said Major Gabriel De Brosses.

Air travel is notoriously dangerous in Congo. In 1996, at least 350 people died when a Russian-built Antonov-32 cargo plane crashed into a crowded market in central Kinshasa.

Ageing planes suffer from a lack of maintenance and spare parts but they are often the only way to transport people and goods across the vast central African country that is slowly recovering from a 1998-2003 civil war.

Eight people were killed in early September when a cargo plane overshot the runway and caught fire while landing in the eastern Congolese town of Goma.

Congo, a country the size of West Europe with only a few hundred kilometres (miles) of paved roads, has one of Africa’s worst air safety records and was dubbed an “embarrassment” by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) last year.

Africa 1 is on the European Union’s airline blacklist. All airlines certified by Democratic Republic of Congo authorities — except for Hewa Bora Airways — are banned from the EU. (Additional reporting by Lubunga Bya’Ombe in Kinshasa and Finbarr O’Reilly in Dakar)

Source: Reuters

By Szafi 

Q400 Safety Issues

As AirlineWorld reported earlier, all Bombardier Q400s were advised to be grounded for a security check following the accident of Scandinavian Airline’s flight to Aalborg on September 9, 2007.

Following the article, we received a comment from Mr Murray Cohen:

“I am a retired flight controls engineer. I have been following the Q400 accidents that occurred in Denmark and Lithuania very closely and consider these accidents to be very critical situations. These failures are giving the aircraft industry a subtle, but urgent warning that must be addressed. I found a report, dated September 15, 2007 online re – Preliminary Report on Danish SAS Q400 accident that included a very useful drawing for analyzing the failure mode. It would also be very useful to review a drawing or sketch of the main landing gear retract/extend actuator, manufactured by the Goodrich Corp. in Tullahoma, Tennessee in order to confirm my analysis of these failures. Please note that a nose gear incident occurred on a Q400 in Japan on March 13, 2007, and I suspect that it is probable that it contains a similar actuator design as the main landing gear system. Another nose landing gear accident occurred in Munich, Germany on September 21, 2007. If this is true, it would be very important to inspect the nose landing gear actuator as well as the main landing gear actuator. In my study of the main landing gear reports, some investigators noted the fact that the jam nut backed off and the lockwire was missing. This condition, could eventually cause a disconnection of the rod end, which was also stated by investigators in preliminary reports. This failure may have actually occurred after 10,000 cycles while coupled with severe impact upon landings. This scenario seems very plausible. Most of the hydraulic actuators used in the aircraft industry contain a locking device to prevent rotation of the actuator piston, and are secured by a jam nut, and lockwired to prevent the jam nut and the locking device from backing off. Early discussions regarding this failure were stated that corrosion in the linkage probably played a major role in the accident. I don’t believe that corrosion played a significant role in these failures. My intention is not to interfere with the official investigation of these accidents, but to offer a feasible scenario to help solve the problem.”

I wrote a letter to Bombardier and I was given the following answer:

“Investigations into the Q400 right main landing gear incidents in Denmark
and Lithuania are
still continuing, as are the investigations into the nose landing gear
incidents in Japan and Munich.

We cannot comment or speculate on the root causes of these incidents until
such time as
the authorities have concluded their investigations and issued  their final
reports. We can however advise
that on the basis of published preliminary reports and comments by the
authorities as to the focus of their
investigations,  there is no relationship between the two nose landing gear
incidents and no relationship
between those and the Danish and Lithuanian incidents.

We suggest you contact the relevant aviation authorities for more
information.”

I think it is a correct answer and naturally we will carry on and contact the relevant authorities. In the meantime Mr Murray has left for holiday, but we are waiting for his comment.

If you are interested in the follow-up of this conversation, please make sure to add our blog’s RSS to your RSS reader!

By Szafi 

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