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Virgin 747 Emergency landing

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BBC News, a Virgin 747 makes a successful emergency landing at Gatwick on only 3 of its 4 main undercarriage bogies.

 

En route to Las Vegas it turned back over Cornwall and circled over Sussex to dump fuel. All are reported safe.

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It was a textbook emergency landing, I'd expect no less from Virgin as they are some of the best trained crews in the business. (they also had some practice with an A340 some years ago!) this video shows todays incident.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30625945

 

And this was the 1997 A340 incident

 

 

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Anyone know if the aircraft is designed for this type of situation or will there be excessive damage to the other mains or frame.

 

 

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Well didn't the pilot do well! Being an failed outer bogie made his job more difficult so :hat:to him. But a similar incident in1997 calls into question their maintenance standards.  

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The first incident was 17 years ago - I would heartily agree that maintenance could be an issue if this was the second time in two years. However, there have been more engine failures (I suspect) than landing gear issues such as this. Unfortunate but related? I don't think so. Apparently this is the 14th time a wing gear hasn't lowered on a 747-400 type aircraft, something to do with the No. 4 hydraulic system. The last one was on October 24th - http://avherald.com/h?article=47c3dc71

 

A quote from PPrune:

 

The right outboard elevator remains neutral while the others are commanded nose up during the landing roll. I believe system 4 is the only system that feeds that control surface.

 

 

Just my opinion as always

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Outstanding from the flight deck crew, by far not the easiest landing to accomplish and yet they managed to nail the centre line while they were at it!

 

Video with radio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqDP-FMgTy8

 

Whilst this is a possible maintenance issue, you can hardly call Virgin's maintenance practises to blame.  The first incident was 17 years ago, on a separate aircraft type (A340), not last week on another 747.  These are extremely complex pieces of engineering, and things will and do go wrong with them.  If maintenance procedures were investigated after every single failure or technical issue then nothing would get done, and nobody would fly anywhere, because no maintenance would take place due to constant scrutiny.  This appears to be a hydraulics failure, which could be because the fluid had debris in it which clogged and seized the pumps or the pump failed for whatever reason.

 

Just as a side note, notable incidents happen frequently (blown tires, rejected take off's, bird strikes)  to name a few, but the media don't report on them, because they aren't good news stories.  They even let engine failures through the net, or ground collisions. Just last week  a Southwest 737 (taxiing) collided with a parked American Airlines 737 at La Guardia, damaging the Southwest 737's winglet, media didn't get hyped up over it.  Only major incidents ever get reported, because that is what sells the newspapers and gets viewers on news channels.  

 

Until the full AAIB report is published, everything is pure speculation and nothing more.

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what a bl--dy awful landing!! if you have faulty undercarriage the last thing you do is throw it at the ground, and bounce it in case the rest give way.

that is one pilot today who will be going through retraining and masses of sim time before being let loose again.

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what a bl--dy awful landing!! if you have faulty undercarriage the last thing you do is throw it at the ground, and bounce it in case the rest give way.

that is one pilot today who will be going through retraining and masses of sim time before being let loose again.

 

There will be no retraining needed from this; there was also little danger of the rest giving way, there's the gravity drop which is designed to lock the landing gear in the event of a complete loss of hydraulics, however because only the outer starboard failed to lower, it points to the loss of hydraulic system #4.

 

Hard landing? yes, but considering the mass and balance of the aircraft had to be altered in flight by moving fuel from right to left so that they could land on the remaining three sets, without scrapping the nacelles of engines 3+4, or worse taking them off completely, resulting in a fire.  Yes the had a bounce but:

 

Down in one piece and everyone walked away > good landing in any pilots book.

 

You can see that they have used full left aileron whilst slowing down, and they still got the aircraft down the centre line. 

 

The angle of the aircraft at flare also indicates they had a slight cross wind component to deal with as well.

 

It is also important to note that this would have been an overweight landing despite dumping some of the fuel, considering that the aircraft was bound for Vegas, an overweight landing is in its self a non standard procedure.

 

Considering the circumstances the crew were in; this was a very good landing landing; despite the firm landing and bounce which is probably from a miss timed flare by the look of the video footage.

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+1 on the 'bounce', Nigel. I gasped when I saw the video - did 'he' really mean to do that? Little point in over-stressing the air-frame and gear at a time when you're not 100% certain how it's going to react. But then, maybe 'he' is from the Gung-Ho School?!?

Cheers - Dai. :old-git:

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No the bounce wasn't part of the plan apparently but don't forget they had reduced braking capacity due to loss of hydraulics no 4, so you would want to get it down, no time for a nice fancy float or smooth touchdown, you need it down to get on the brakes as soon as possible.

 

Loosing hydraulics 4 also meant that they lost the outer starboard elevator, giving them reduced surface control, making the flare harder to pull off.  But they did't blow any tyres, or damage the airframe.  Pilots bounce aircraft all the time, some much, much harder than this, not sure why people appear to be so fixated on the bounce.  Considering everything that would have been going on, I doubt "lets give a nice smooth touchdown" was part of the discussion.  At the end of the day, the crew got it down, in one piece and everyone walked away.

 

Oh and here is a Korean Air 777 having its own bounce party to prove my point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q6rdBxDKu4

 

^^That is a bl**dy awful landing!

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This super pilot landed it on the numbers, straight as a die, no one injured or worse. One tiny bounce.

Typical response from Nigel.

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That was not a textbook landing. The pilots slammed that aircraft pretty hard onto the runway. So hard that it bounced right back into the air. The loss of one set of gear has nothing to do with how hard or soft he lands and the loss of braking performance also has nothing to do with it. They hit the fround hard and whatever the reason, that was not the proper way nor would Virgin or Boeing think so. Bouncing the plane does not get it down faster, it bounces it right back into the air and you have to land it again. It nearly bounced up a second time.

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The bounce was hard and would have increased landing distance (not slowing down much over the distance between touchdown point one and two). As for testing the remaining undercarriage, it carried the risk of stressing the wheels even more than was necessary. I think personally the bounce was accidental, just forgetting the slight loss of elevator power.

 

It was still a landing that everyone walked away from with no major damage to the airframe (visible anyway), so in the overall scheme of things it was a good landing.

 

Come on, look at Chuck for bounces!

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After flying around for over four hours dumping fuel and thinking what might happen when they get to land at Gatwick. I think the crew must have been very pleased and should be very proud they got the aircraft down in one piece and without any loss of life.  :hat:  off    to the pilot for doing a great job. :salute:

Well Done sir  :thumbup:

 

Cheers Mike

 

PS with ref. to the bounce  when landing I am sure most of us that have flown have felt a few bumps on landing and that is with all the landing gear down. :stars: :stars: :stars: I know I have a few times.

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Sorry Mike, that has never happened to me. :whis:  :D

 

I was surprised to see the slight bounce and AOA at landing but I am sure they knew what they were doing and must have even gone through every detail before landing with the experts. If it was done like that on purpose I would love to read about the details of the how and why. 

 

One thing that stuck in my head on seeing the landing was that on reading the initial story one of the passengers had said it was one of the smoothest landings that they had ever felt when flying in an aircraft?

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