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Thread: Virgin Atlantic landing gear fault

  1. #1

  2. #2
    Grand Master
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    It was circling really low over our house then out to sea to drop fuel for an hour earlier, really glad it got down ok.


    Mike

  3. #3
    Master Thom4711's Avatar
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    I was just reading this morning about how the aviation industry has suffered some high profile problems/ mishaps/ tragedies and then this happened a few hours later. It actually sounds like this was a success insofar as reacting to a random technical emergency. Congratulations to the people involved, glad all are safe.

  4. #4
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    (relatively) minor blip affecting UK flight - FRONT PAGE NEWS

    flight LOST, presumed crashed and at bottom of ocean on the other side of the world = passingly interesting

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ach5 View Post
    (relatively) minor blip affecting UK flight - FRONT PAGE NEWS

    flight LOST, presumed crashed and at bottom of ocean on the other side of the world = passingly interesting
    We talked about this at work today - no 'proper' brits (by that I mean he has a passport but is Chinese and lives in HK) on the Air Asia flights so it's reported but no big deal. Bizarre reporting priorities.

  6. #6
    Master Caruso's Avatar
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    Interesting flightpath.


  7. #7
    Reminds me of the route a taxi driver took me in Hong Kong! Round in circles, then we questioned him after seeing the same place 3 times. He let us out without paying :-)

  8. #8
    I'm happy that everything was fine and that no one got hurt, but I am not very happy about my flight back to England being delayed for four hours (so far) because of it. At least there's free WiFi so I can spend the wait drooling over watches!

  9. #9
    Grand Master VDG's Avatar
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    Spotted it earlier this afternoon and watched the flight land on the flightradar. I flew on this particular plane (B747-443/G-VROM/Barbarella) a couple of times so it's really reassuring to know that all are safe and well. All credit to the crew and ground services!

  10. #10
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    Oh no...the dreaded 10 wheeled landing. Hardly Cheslea Sullenberger stuff.

  11. #11
    Video of the landing here, quite a bounce as it hits the runway!

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zLpRu1EzyGE&sns=fb

  12. #12
    Good way to test the integrity of the remaining operative main gear but perhaps not the best time.

    Great result at the end of the day, and here's also to Boeing for designing and building one hell of an aircraft.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by catch21 View Post
    Good way to test the integrity of the remaining operative main gear but perhaps not the best time.
    I believe some of the aerial acrobatics earlier were intended to shake the gear loose - a couple of bounces might have been enough to dislodge it. As it turns out, some hydraulics had failed which is why the flaps weren't conventionally set for landing, and the plane was still very heavy as less than half its fuel load would have been burned off in four-odd hours of flying around. So perhaps not the best time but I don't believe anyone had the choice?
    ...but what do I know; I don't even like watches!

  14. #14
    Master Tokyo Tokei's Avatar
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    I suppose it makes for a good dramatic news piece / link bait with a nice ending, unlike the other story. I don't think the situation is particularly rare, though. I'm not a frequent flyer but I recall a flight from Tokyo to London having a similar initial issue. We took off, and then seemed to turn back. We had to do the fly past the control tower thing a few times. The entirely calm captain explained that the undercarriage had not retracted properly. Not exactly the thing you want to hear as a passenger on a 13-hour flight.

    The flight attendants were all calm, might as well have been talking about the weather. One of the flight officers popped out, walked down the aisle past me, lifted a hatch and then disappeared under the floor somewhere. I asked what he was up to, and was told he was visually checking the undercarriage. Not sure how he did this ? Viewing window ? Someone here will know. It was an Airbus A340. Whatever, he surfaced after a while and we continued doing large loops around Tokyo. Eventually the captain declared the undercarriage retracted, another flyby, and we continued on to London with no further issues. The total lack of drama surrounding all this led me to believe it wasn't uncommon.

    Paul

  15. #15
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokyo Tokei View Post
    I suppose it makes for a good dramatic news piece / link bait with a nice ending, unlike the other story. I don't think the situation is particularly rare, though. I'm not a frequent flyer but I recall a flight from Tokyo to London having a similar initial issue. We took off, and then seemed to turn back. We had to do the fly past the control tower thing a few times. The entirely calm captain explained that the undercarriage had not retracted properly. Not exactly the thing you want to hear as a passenger on a 13-hour flight.

    The flight attendants were all calm, might as well have been talking about the weather. One of the flight officers popped out, walked down the aisle past me, lifted a hatch and then disappeared under the floor somewhere. I asked what he was up to, and was told he was visually checking the undercarriage. Not sure how he did this ? Viewing window ? Someone here will know. It was an Airbus A340. Whatever, he surfaced after a while and we continued doing large loops around Tokyo. Eventually the captain declared the undercarriage retracted, another flyby, and we continued on to London with no further issues. The total lack of drama surrounding all this led me to believe it wasn't uncommon.

    Paul
    Not hugely uncommon for a primary system to fail. To be in a situation where the gear won't come down at all is a very remote possibility - one in a million.

    You are correct, they would be visually checking the gear through little windows - there are usually marks on the undercarriage that align when the gear is down and locked and it's obvious if retracted.

    Here's a good insight into how a return following a birdstrike is handled:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KhZwsYtNDE

    and an engine failure:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEf35NtlBLg

  16. #16
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokyo Tokei View Post
    I suppose it makes for a good dramatic news piece / link bait with a nice ending

    Paul
    Radio 5 was trying to build the drama yesterday but was completely uncut by everyone they spoke to sounding very calm and "well these things happen" and questions like "did you wonder what was happening?" were answered with "not at all, they kept us informed all of the time".

  17. #17
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    We talked about this at work today - no 'proper' brits (by that I mean he has a passport but is Chinese and lives in HK) on the Air Asia flights so it's reported but no big deal. Bizarre reporting priorities.
    I understand that 'Drop The Dead Donkey' was originally going to be called 'Drop The Dead Belgian'.



    ;-)

  18. #18
    Master lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew View Post
    I believe some of the aerial acrobatics earlier were intended to shake the gear loose - a couple of bounces might have been enough to dislodge it. As it turns out, some hydraulics had failed which is why the flaps weren't conventionally set for landing, and the plane was still very heavy as less than half its fuel load would have been burned off in four-odd hours of flying around. So perhaps not the best time but I don't believe anyone had the choice?
    The B747-400 can dump fuel, so they can get to any landing weight they need to....or stay aloft for a long time.

    As long as the aircraft is flying, with no danger of an imminent crash, it pays to fly in circles to see if the flight crew can correct the problem. then if they cannot. calculate the best landing weight, how long to hold the nose up, how much braking etc... Also they get the Boeing tech-reps on the phone to get there technical advice, something like this, where the aircraft is in good flying condition, get the Boeing factory engineers in Seattle at call as well.

    They probably had to do a few laps around the Bristol Channel to the get out of the way of other air traffic into Gatwick

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by lysanderxiii View Post
    The B747-400 can dump fuel, so they can get to any landing weight they need to....or stay aloft for a long time.

    As long as the aircraft is flying, with no danger of an imminent crash, it pays to fly in circles to see if the flight crew can correct the problem. then if they cannot. calculate the best landing weight, how long to hold the nose up, how much braking etc... Also they get the Boeing tech-reps on the phone to get there technical advice, something like this, where the aircraft is in good flying condition, get the Boeing factory engineers in Seattle at call as well.

    They probably had to do a few laps around the Bristol Channel to the get out of the way of other air traffic into Gatwick


    ^^^ What Lysanderxiii said ^^^

  20. #20
    Grand Master VDG's Avatar
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    Video from the cabin
    Passengers Prepare for Emergency Landing on Virgin Jet
    http://www.liveleak.com/ll_embed?f=5c3e4312a78b

  21. #21
    Master village's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by watchthisspace View Post
    ^^^ What Lysanderxiii said ^^^
    The Bristol Channel is a convenient place to dump fuel...it's generally out of the way of most stuff plus the prefered place to dump fuel is over water. And if a bit drifts over Wales it doesn't hurt

  22. #22
    Master findo-400's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian View Post
    Oh no...the dreaded 10 wheeled landing. Hardly Cheslea Sullenberger stuff.
    Excellent. A comment which presumably could only be uttered by a "744 driver".

    My hat is of to you sir. The ability to land nearly 296,000kgs of 747-400 on all 16 main landing gear wheels without passengers on board is a feat in itself if you are hand flying it, but to land with a 25% reduction in wheels (12 wheels (not 10), from the pictures I've seen) with 450+ souls on board without incident is, I suppose by Sullenberger standards............................pedestrian

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by village View Post
    The Bristol Channel is a convenient place to dump fuel...it's generally out of the way of most stuff plus the prefered place to dump fuel is over water. And if a bit drifts over Wales it doesn't hurt
    Over France would be better, surely?

  24. #24
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by findo-400 View Post
    Excellent. A comment which presumably could only be uttered by a "744 driver".

    My hat is of to you sir. The ability to land nearly 296,000kgs of 747-400 on all 16 main landing gear wheels without passengers on board is a feat in itself if you are hand flying it, but to land with a 25% reduction in wheels (12 wheels (not 10), from the pictures I've seen) with 450+ souls on board without incident is, I suppose by Sullenberger standards............................pedestrian
    Hmmm, the first part of my comment was in jest but I think I stand by my sentiment. Fair play to the captain but I don't think this is remotely in the same ball park as Sullenberger's engine out ditching and is more a case of doing the job.

  25. #25
    Master Tokyo Tokei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markrlondon View Post
    I understand that 'Drop The Dead Donkey' was originally going to be called 'Drop The Dead Belgian'.

    ;-)
    Working titles said to have included "Ten Dead Belgians Don't Count" and "Anyone Here Been Raped And Speak English ?" ( from the so-named splendid book by Edward Behr )

    Paul

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