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Qantas 737 Mayday


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Yesterday, 18/1/22 Qantas flight QF144 from Auckland to Sydney declared a Mayday an hour out from Sydney. One engine malfunctioned and was shut down. The Mayday was later downgraded to a PAN and the aircraft landed safely. But dozens of ambulances and fire trucks were rushed to the airport on the basis of the mayday obviously reducing their availability elsewhere.

 

A 737-800 can safely fly and land on one engine and even take off with one engine so why would the pilot call a Mayday?  My thoughts are that some sort of initial panic set in. Pilots should be trained to deal with such things and not panic. When I heard this on the radio driving home yesterday my immediate reaction was "that's not a Mayday it's a Pan" which is what it turned out to be. 

 

Now I see from the ABC news this morning another former Qantas pilot is questioning this decision as well.

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I feel like this is the same debate as is going on in the USA with classified documents....
 

If its classified, and it doesn't need to be there is no repercussion's.
if its not classified, and it should be its a career ender with possible jail time.

feel like if this pilot had called Pan, and something went wrong in landing, they would be crucified.
where as right now its just a "better safe then sorry" plus we have all done the exam questions and know it can be fairly vague and up to the pilots interpretation of risk.

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1 hour ago, kgwilson said:

Yesterday, 18/1/22 Qantas flight QF144 from Auckland to Sydney declared a Mayday an hour out from Sydney. One engine malfunctioned and was shut down. The Mayday was later downgraded to a PAN and the aircraft landed safely. But dozens of ambulances and fire trucks were rushed to the airport on the basis of the mayday obviously reducing their availability elsewhere.

 

A 737-800 can safely fly and land on one engine and even take off with one engine so why would the pilot call a Mayday?  My thoughts are that some sort of initial panic set in. Pilots should be trained to deal with such things and not panic. When I heard this on the radio driving home yesterday my immediate reaction was "that's not a Mayday it's a Pan" which is what it turned out to be. 

 

Now I see from the ABC news this morning another former Qantas pilot is questioning this decision as well.

From an airline pilot, 'Oceanic on Datalink Comms, there’s only one option, and that’s to hit the emergency button. There’s no lesser option, such as a PAN call or a simple heads-up, that you use on voice comms.' 
My understanding is once they established radio comms closer to Sydney then then downgraded it to a PAN.  Perhaps those questioning are accepting the media advice that it was initially a MayDay call, as in over the radio?

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No big deal in calling Mayday and then revising it. It  was NEVER an emergency landing. It carried on to the original destination which would be the closest "suitable" aerodrome which is what's required. Most of the "expert" commentary sounds like an Infotainment Qantas advert. "Never had a JET fatality in 100 years"?.  They must've had Jets before 1922.!!!. The original claim is never had a Jet HULL loss.  To Preserve that claim. they spent an inordinate amount of money repairing  a plane that crashed in Malaysia (runway over run botched go around , I think)

   Incidentally. you can't and wouldn't try take off in a 737 on one engine.. You can get a permit to fly  planes with 3 or more engines with one inoperative for FERRY purposes sometimes. No PAX .  Nev

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I reckon that if I was flying a twin-engined plane and hear a loud <bang> from out on the wing, I'd initially scream "mayday". Everyone is going on about the problem being an engine failure, which happily it only was, but when an engine like this goes <bang> the sound could be turbine blades hitting wing structures. In the first few moments, how would the pilot know that there was no damage to spars, hydraulic lines or electrical cables? How did the pilot in those few moments know that the plane would still continue to fly and not suddenly break up. Don't shoot the pilot for responding to the worst case scenario. Better to be able later to downgrade the need for help than to have a plane mysteriously disappear.

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There's a few things to check. One IMMEDIATE consideration is to descend. You can't hold the original cruise height because of reduced power available. This doesn't have to be at a fast rate as descending will hold a suitable airspeed and consider other traffic and radio range VHF.. The level of HYPE around this  "event"is quite astounding.  Nev

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1 hour ago, Love to fly said:

From an airline pilot, 'Oceanic on Datalink Comms, there’s only one option, and that’s to hit the emergency button. There’s no lesser option, such as a PAN call or a simple heads-up ...

 

In any case, losing one of two, mid-ocean - and wondering if #2 might follow suit - sort of makes "possible assistance needed" a little understated.

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When you only have ONE left it's statistically OK but there's ONLY the ONE left.. A Jet engine failure these days is RARE. Why that happened might be concerning. PAN PAN PAN has a meaning and fixed responses from the system. Mayday is in immediate danger the HIGHEST risk level A single engined landing in VFR and a long runway is not an emergency. It's an Abnormal Op and plenty of time to go through the checklists.. Nev

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ETOPS (Extended range Twin engine Operations Performance Standards) began in the 1960s with ETOPS 60 which certified twin engine aircraft to fly for 60 minutes at a specified single engine cruise speed. Now almost all airliners are twin engines and the standards have been updated to much longer times. Ratings go up to ETOPS 370 but actual type approvals are fewer. The highest in ETOPS >180 to design limit.

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Regardless of how figures get fiddled, the concept of one engine holding  hundreds of people up for hours is still a bit special. The fabulous reliability of modern High bypass turbofan engines enabled the concept to be used widely  IF some Airline had a high rate of engine failures I doubt ti would be permitted to continue to operate some  such routes.. . The nearest "suitable" aerodrome still applies I would think.  ON a four engined plane, One shut down in flight can still be an OPS NORMAL situation Nev

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I don't know the regulations but I imagine it would be mandatory to divert to the nearest useable aerodrome for the type when one engine failed. In this case Sydney was it anyway.

Edited by kgwilson
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1 hour ago, facthunter said:

When you only have ONE left it's statistically OK but there's ONLY the ONE left.. A Jet engine failure these days is RARE. Why that happened might be concerning. PAN PAN PAN has a meaning and fixed responses from the system. Mayday is in immediate danger the HIGHEST risk level A single engined landing in VFR and a long runway is not an emergency. It's an Abnormal Op and plenty of time to go through the checklists.. Nev

But operating single-engine mid-ocean ain't no walk in the park.

Surely, there were no options but an immediate MAYDAY/Datalink SOS in this case.

It would have triggered responses from the system. I'd suppose - and expect - that AMSA was already sussing-out shipping near the route.

MAYDAY may be "the HIGHEST risk level" - but it's not like there are heaps of levels.

Heck, aren't crews now bound to declare MAYDAY-FUEL even if they're going to land just a smidge under legal reserves. No such thing as a cool PAN-PAN-FUEL call.

Of course there's heaps of hype around such events. The public holds endless crazy notions, panderable to for profit.

Koshie even rolled out Richard de Crespigny today for us to fawn over. 

Insider insouciance is, I guess, the reaction. 

 

 

 

Edited by Garfly
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'Suitable" I think is the term.  Aviation Lawyers would know the subtle ramifications of that..  If being on one engine was a no big deal thing that would not apply. There is a concept of a back up/ failsafe in RPT. Alt flap extension Loss of Hydraulics Manual reversion of flight controls  emergency gear extension etc. Nev

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 Airliners can only really expect to land successfully on proper RUNWAYS. Anything else needs a big element of LUCK. Access might be more available on land.  Nev

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42 minutes ago, facthunter said:

Regardless of how figures get fiddled, the concept of one engine holding  hundreds of people up for hours is still a bit special. The fabulous reliability of modern High bypass turbofan engines enabled the concept to be used widely  IF some Airline had a high rate of engine failures I doubt ti would be permitted to continue to operate some  such routes.. . The nearest "suitable" aerodrome still applies I would think.  ON a four engined plane, One shut down in flight can still be an OPS NORMAL situation Nev

What happens if the fuel is contaminated?

 

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1 hour ago, Garfly said:

Of course there's heaps of hype around such events. The public holds endless crazy notions,

Hold the presses!! Another Cessna has plummeted from the sky! Pull out the file pictures. I don't care which one you use. A plane's a plane and they plummet. And get Kent and Olsen out to the airport to speak to the grieving relatives. 

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Nope, no way. Ambulances would only be called for by the Captain if injuries occurred on a flight - such as by severe turbulence or other medical emergency. A simple engine failure would not trigger ambulances. No way!

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I wonder if it was the fact that the Press had loudly published MAYDAY. As it probably came from the Oceanic Datalink Comms emergency transmission how did the Press know unless there was a leak from someone?

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1 hour ago, kgwilson said:

I wonder if it was the fact that the Press had loudly published MAYDAY. As it probably came from the Oceanic Datalink Comms emergency transmission how did the Press know unless there was a leak from someone?

All way outside my knowledge & experience, but I think once the Oceanic Datalink Comms transmission was triggered so was the Squawk 7700.  Media and many others monitor FlightRadar24 and similar for any aircraft squawking 7700.

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In Adelaide, it was noticed that the airport firemen had never been used in earnest in 50 years, and they got disbanded. This was bad news for a mate of mine who used to sleep there and work as a barman at night.

A bit like the ambulances I reckon. I would be busting to go to the airport if I were one. But as a person who can just imagine needing an ambulance urgently, I would be angry about them wasting time at the airport.

At Gawler, once we had a first-flight engine failure ( A volks type engine in a sonex ) and the pilot elected to do a circuit from 300 ft and he landed so hard that the sonex caught fire. So many police cars came that the main effect would have been that you could have gone speeding and no cops would have caught you, they were all looking at the burning sonex. Well I guess that was the most entertaining show around .

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Puts a bit of excitement in their day but I'm sure they are needed at other more REAL situations.

 I've had to lean out the window and wave away a fire truck that came out because one brake was smoking due to an untidy previous brake bleeding process. THEY were on the ball though and doing their job but spraying it with foam wouldn't have made my day..  Nev

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It's all about the impression of readiness. The people organising the ambulances obviously have no understanding of what a single engine landing entails, and they have been told to expect "injuries".

So they read "aircraft emergency landing" to attend to, and they envisage another UA Flight 232 event.

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With engine out there will be a different "Commit Point" to the landing but the only things different is rudder trim centering and the Reverse thrust is non symmetrical and as it's most effective at high speed may not be used much.. It can still be taxied to the normal terminal most times but a hot brake or two might be likely/possible.  Nev

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