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Old 09 September 2015, 12:37 AM
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Airplane British Airways plane catches fire at Las Vegas airport

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A British Airways jet has caught fire at Las Vegas airport, sending smoke billowing into the air, after suffering what the pilot described as a “catastrophic failure” of the left engine.
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2...-vegas-airport
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Old 09 September 2015, 04:30 PM
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According to the BBC report the aeroplane had speeded up to 89 mph before coming to an emergency stop. If the fire had occurred after take off you wonder what might have been the consequences.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34200669

The report also says that the pilot was due to retire next week after 40 years of flying experience. I wonder if they'll give him early retirement?
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Old 09 September 2015, 04:36 PM
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When I was watching this on the news earlier, I wondered if the fire was due to the engine failure, or the brakes overheating as a result of the emergency stop, or both. In one video I saw, the flames looked very low to the ground, but that could have been leaking fuel or burning landing gear. It wasn't entirely clear.

~Psihala
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Old 09 September 2015, 05:17 PM
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The image just immediately made me think of British Airtours Flight 28M, although thankfully with less tragic results. Of course it's too soon to know what caused the fire, but it just looks similar, with a BA plane on fire after an aborted takeoff.
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Old 09 September 2015, 06:05 PM
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iirc from some of my fire classes, I believe you have about 90 seconds to evacuate a commercial airliner when it's on fire before it can become fully involved. It's amazing that things worked out the way they did.
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Old 09 September 2015, 06:27 PM
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The BBC report says that several passengers stopped their evacuation to retrieve personal luggage.
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Old 09 September 2015, 07:06 PM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
According to the BBC report the aeroplane had speeded up to 89 mph before coming to an emergency stop. If the fire had occurred after take off you wonder what might have been the consequences.
Probably less damage. The speed would move the aft of the wing doing less damage. A 777 can take off, fly and land with only one engine in operation. So most likely it would have made a emergancy landing at earlest avaliable airport. Then have everyone evacuate the plane then.
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Old 09 September 2015, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
The BBC report says that several passengers stopped their evacuation to retrieve personal luggage.
That seems to happen every time there's an evacuation. It's obviously dangerous as it slows down the evacuation not to mention it could hurt someone going down the slide, but I don't know how you could stop people from doing it. I'm sure the flight attendants tell them to leave everything behind, but some people don't listen.

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Originally Posted by Singing in the Drizzle View Post
Probably less damage. The speed would move the aft of the wing doing less damage.
Not to mention the plane probably wouldn't end up parked on top of a puddle of burning fuel (if that was the source of the source of the fire). ETA: Not that I'm saying they should have continued takeoff. The pilots definitely did the right thing.

Last edited by WildaBeast; 09 September 2015 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 09 September 2015, 08:49 PM
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I'm not sure there would be less damage. I don't think a plane taking off on one engine is going to go fast enough to blow out a jet fuel fire. And while the speed might cause the fire to be pushed back, it is going to go right back to where it was once the plane lands and starts slowing down again. So continuing to take off would probably just give the fire more time to burn.
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Old 09 September 2015, 09:47 PM
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I just happened to see a SkyNews video report showing the aftermath of the fire. Judging from the fire damage, whatever the cause, it seems reasonably certain that's one 777 that will never fly again. There's a rather substantial hole in the fuselage adjacent to the left wing, and the underside of the wing between the engine and the fuselage is extensively fire damaged.

Thank goodness no one was killed.

~Psihala

ETA: Images are starting to show up on other networks now, too: http://abcnews.go.com/US/dramatic-ph...ry?id=33627557

Last edited by Psihala; 09 September 2015 at 10:01 PM.
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  #11  
Old 09 September 2015, 11:01 PM
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Airplane

That plane is done for. It will never see the sky again.
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  #12  
Old 10 September 2015, 01:02 AM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
I'm not sure there would be less damage. I don't think a plane taking off on one engine is going to go fast enough to blow out a jet fuel fire. And while the speed might cause the fire to be pushed back, it is going to go right back to where it was once the plane lands and starts slowing down again. So continuing to take off would probably just give the fire more time to burn.
I would not blow out the fire. It would help contain the fire to the one engine. They would also have time to dump extra fuel cut it off to the burning engine.

That being said it is still safer to bring the plane to a safe stop if possible on the ground and evacuate rather than having to deal with the problem in the air. But having a burning engine while in the air does not mean the catastrophe you all to often see in the moves (when the good guy is no longer on board).
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Old 10 September 2015, 11:46 PM
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I think pretty much anything the crew did was going to be a huge risk.

Aborting the take off risks dumping the plane's fuel load on the ground and igniting it. Clearly there is a serious problem on that one wing, which might have included things other than the engine, like the brakes or the landing gear.

On the other hand, continuing the takeoff might let you get in the air and give you time to dump the thousands of pounds of fuel before trying to land, but I think it is a pretty big "if" that the only problem is a burning engine. The wing may have been structurally compromised either by the fire of by whatever started the fire (like a turbine blade disintegrating).

Concerning the people that retrieved personal items... I wonder if there is video of people coming off the plane or on the ground afterwords. It might be a good idea to send a pretty strong message and charge anyone with their carry-on's with something like not following the flight crews instructions.
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Old 11 September 2015, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
I think pretty much anything the crew did was going to be a huge risk.
Quite possibly when whichever pilot was at the controls made the decision to abort the takeoff he wasn't aware that there was a fire. All he likely knew at the time was that something was very wrong with one of the engines, and followed standard procedure that at the first sign of any problem you abort the takeoff if you're below V1 (the speed at which you're going too fast to safely stop). I took the "if they'd continued to take off" in the context of if, hypothetically, the engine failed 30 seconds later and they had no choice but to continue.
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Old 11 September 2015, 12:16 AM
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The BBC's original report had at least one video of people walking along the runway holding hand luggage. Of course, they could have had the luggage in their lap so to carry it off the plane was safer than just leaving it on their seat where a loose strap might hinder someone.

It is also being reported that the British Airways to pilot has now probably flown his last flight. He was due to fly from London to Barbados on Saturday and then return on Tuesday before retiring. Thus the fire was his last 'flight' what a way to end a 40 year career.
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Old 11 September 2015, 12:30 AM
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One of the photos shows smaller purses and the like, but another shows people with rolling luggage they must have retrieved from the overhead.

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34191035


I confess I'd be tempted to strap on my purse containing my inhaler and epi pen. I'd almost certainly need my medications after breathing smoke like that, and carrying my purse would be faster and safer than digging them out and holding them in my hands.
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Old 11 September 2015, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Quite possibly when whichever pilot was at the controls made the decision to abort the takeoff he wasn't aware that there was a fire...
Recordings of the tower communications indicate the pilots requested firefighting services in their mayday call. The tower replied that the firefighters had already been summoned. THis indicates to me they knew they were on fire.
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Old 11 September 2015, 02:01 AM
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On the 777 (all modern airliners, actually), there's an indicator for each engine for a fire. There are also fire-bottles located within the nacelles. It's likely that when the fire indicator came on in the cockpit, the bottles were discharged. Somewhere in the mess of reports I've seen, I seem to recall reading as much.

The indicators don't tell the pilots how big the fire is, they only tell them there is one. If the bottles were discharged and the indicator didn't go out, they'd likely have have known they needed fire equipment even as they were braking.

The NTSB released a press update earlier today. It has very little new information of any kind, but confirms it was an uncontained failure. Parts of the high pressure compressor section were found on the runway.


~Psihala
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Old 11 September 2015, 02:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psihala View Post
The NTSB released a press update earlier today. It has very little new information of any kind, but confirms it was an uncontained failure. Parts of the high pressure compressor section were found on the runway.


~Psihala
There were head-on pictures posted on an aviation forum I habituate, and they show the port nacelle looking pretty shredded up on the bottom. I'm guessing, that if there was indeed a catastrophic failure of the high pressure compressor, the departing pieces did nasty things to the fuel tanks in the immediate vicinity, causing the large fire that erupted.

This is a 17 year old aircraft. I’ve no doubt its flying days are indeed over.
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Old 11 September 2015, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DrRocket View Post
Recordings of the tower communications indicate the pilots requested firefighting services in their mayday call. The tower replied that the firefighters had already been summoned. THis indicates to me they knew they were on fire.
That was after they had stopped, or were in the process of stopping though, and had a little more time to process the information in front of them. I was talking about the split second when the made the decision to stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psihala View Post
On the 777 (all modern airliners, actually), there's an indicator for each engine for a fire.
True, but would they take the time to look at them before making the decision to stop? My thinking would be that a pilot's instinct would be "Some alarm is going off, better stop!" and then figure out what exactly is going on after they've begun to bring the plane to a stop.
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