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Emergency situations for pilots

Page history last edited by Béatrice H. Alves 14 years, 3 months ago



Videos and Reports that can help you prepare for Santos Dumont Proficiency Test








When everything seems to be going against you,

remember that the airplane takes off against the wind,

not with it.

#Airplane and Aviation






28 April 1988 - Aloha 243

On a regularly scheduled flight from Hilo to Honolulu, Hawaii, Alhoa Airlines flight 243 took off and climbed to a cruise altitude of 24,000 feet. It was at that level when the ceiling area of the forward passenger cabin suddenly burst open in an explosive decompression. The ceiling separated from the airplane, leaving the passengers from the cockpit door to the front of the wing exposed to the elements as though they were riding in a convertible car. Riding along in terror, they could do nothing as the aircraft dove to an altitude level (around 11,000 feet) where oxygen was not needed. There were two pilots aboard that early afternoon, an observer in the cockpit jumpseat, three flight attendants, and 89 passengers. We pick up the CVR just as the ceiling rips off.

Cabin: [Sound of screams, sound of wind noise]

The CVR microphones in the cockpit could not pick up any crew conversation for the next five minutes. However, the CVR recorded the crew’s transmissions with the ground control through the crew’s oxygen mask microphones.

Co-pilot: Centre, Alhoa two forty three. We’re going down…request lower [altitude]. Centre, Alhoa forty three, Centre, Alhoa forty three. Maui Approach, Aloha two forty three. Maui Tower, Alhoa two forty three. Maui tower, Alhoa two forty three. We’re inbound for a landing. Maui Tower, Alhoa two forty three.

Tower: [Flight] Callin’ Tower say again.

Co-pilot: Maui tower, Aloha two forty three, we’re inbound for landing. We’re just, ah, west of Makena, descending out of thirteen [13,000 feet], and we have rapid depr - we are unpressurised. Declaring an emergency…

Tower: Aloha two forty three, winds zero four zero at one five. Altimeter two niner niner niner. Just to verify again. You’re breaking up. Your call sign is two forty - four? Is that correct. Or two forty three?

Here the crew, having reached 11,000 feet takes off its oxygen masks.

Co-pilot: two forty three Aloha - forty three.

Tower: Two forty - two the equipment is on the the roll. Plan [to approach] straight thousand [ 11,000] feet. Request clearance into Maui for landing. Request the [emergency] equipment.

Tower: Okay, the equipment is on the field…Is on the way. Squawk zero three four three, can you come up on [frequency] one niner one niner point five?

Co- pilot: Two forty three. Can you hear us on one nineteen five two, forty three? Maui Tower, two forty three. It looks like we’ve lost a door. We have a hole in this, ah, left side of the aircraft.

Jumpseat Passenger: I’m fine.

Co-pilot to Captain: Want the [landing] gear?

Captain: No.

Co- pilot: Want the [landing gear]?

Captain: No.

Co-pilot: Do you want it [the gear] down?.

Captain: Flaps fifteen [for] landing.

Co-pilot: Okay.

Captain: Here we go. We’ve picked up some of your airplane business right there. I think they can hear you. They can’t hear me. Ah, tell him, ah, we’ll need assistance to evacuate this airplane.

Co-pilot: Right.

Captain: We really can’ communicate with the flight attendants, but we’ll need trucks, and we’ll need, ah, airstairs from Alhoa.

Co-pilot: All right. [To tower] Maui Tower, two forty three, can you hear me on tower?

Tower: Alhoa two forty three, I hear you loud and clear. Go ahead.

Co-pilot: Ah, we’re gonna need assistance. We cannot communicate with the flight attendants. Ah, we’ll need assistance for the passengers when we land.

Tower: Okay, I understand you’re gonna need an ambulance. Is that correct?

Co-pilot: Affirmative.

Captain to co-pilot: It feels like manual reversion.

Co-pilot: What?

Captain to Co-pilot: Flight controls feel like manual reversion [like the autopilot has switched off].

Co-pilot: Can we maintain altitude ok?

Captain: Let’s try flying…let’s try flying with the gear down here.

Co-pilot: All right you got it.

Cockpit: [Sound of landing gear being lowered]

Tower: Alhoa two forty three, can you give me your souls on board and your fuel on board?

Captain to co-pilot: Do you have a passenger count for tower?

Co-pilot to Tower: We, ah - eighty five, eight six, plus five crew members.

Tower: Okay. And, ah, just to verify. You broke up initially. You do need an ambulance. Is that correct?

Co-pilot: Affirmative.

Tower: Roger. How many do you think are injured?

Co-pilot: We have no idea. We cannot communicate with our flight attendant.

Tower: Okay. We’ll have an ambulance on the way.


Tower: Alhoa two forty three, wind zero five. The emergency] equipment is in place.

Co-pilot: Okay, be advised. We have no nose gear. We are landing without nose gear.

Tower: Okay if you need any other assistance, advise…

Co-pilot: We’ll need all the [emergency] equipment you’ve got. [To Captain] Is it easier to control with the flaps up?

Captain: Yeah put em’ at five. Can you give me a vee speed for a flaps five landing?

Co-pilot: Do you want the flaps down as we land?

Captain: Yeah after we touch down

Co-pilot: Okay.

Tower: Alhoa two forty three, just for your information. The gear appears down. Gear appears down.

Co-pilot to Captain: Want me to go flaps forty…?

Captain: No.

Co-pilot: Okay.

Cockpit: [Sound of touchdown on runway]

Co-pilot: Thrust reverser.

Captain: Okay. Okay. Shut it down.

Co-pilot: Shut it down.

Captain: Now left engine.

Co-pilot: Flaps.

Tower: Alhoa two forty three, just shut her down where you are. Everything [is] fine. The gear did…The fire trucks are on the way.

Captain: Okay

Cockpit: [Sound of engines winding down]

Captain: Okay, start the call for the emergency evacuation.



The Boeing 737 of Alhoa Flight 243 was manufactured in 1969 and had accumulated 35,496 flying hours and 89,680 take - off - landing cycles. The cause of the separation of the ceiling of the aircraft was attributed to static overstress separations. The airplane was old, and the cycles of pressurisation and depressurisation had weakened parts of the fuselage. One flight Attendant was killed. All the passengers landed safely.


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Cockpit Voice Recorder Database, visit us at www.tailstrike.com


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Tailstrike in Melbourne

Emirates pilot in tail strike near-disaster tells his story

Article from: Sunday Herald Sun

Ellen Whinnett
July 12, 2009 12:00am

THE pilot at the controls of an Emirates jet that almost crashed at Melbourne Airport has revealed how he saved 275 lives.


Breaking a four-month silence, the pilot told how he managed to wrench the fully-loaded plane into the air just seconds before it almost crashed.

"I still don't know how we got it off the ground," the pilot said.

"I thought we were going to die, it was that close.

"It was the worst thing in 20 years (of flying). It was the worst thing I've felt, but thank God we got it safely around."

The pilot, a 42-year-old European man, spoke to the Sunday Herald Sun on the condition his identity not be revealed.

Realising the plane had not reached a high enough speed to get airborne, and with the end of the runway rapidly approaching, the pilot and co-pilot were desperately checking controls in the cockpit, trying to find out what had gone wrong.

At the last second, the pilot engaged a rapid acceleration known as TOGA (take-off go-around) and lifted the plane off the ground.

With 257 passengers and 18 crew aboard, the Airbus A340-500 struck its tail three times, wiped out lights and a navigation antennae at the end of the runway - some of the equipment struck was just 70cm high - and sustained $100 million damage as it barely cleared the airport boundary fence.

After limping into the air, the pilot took the jet out over Port Phillip Bay to dump its load of highly flammable aviation fuel, then returned to Melbourne Airport 30 minutes later.

Passengers had seen smoke and dust swirl into the cabin and felt the impact as the tail struck the ground, but the pilot did not tell them how bad the situation was, fearing it would cause them to panic.

The pilot said that when he left the plane after safely returning to Melbourne Airport he saw a number of the passengers disembarking, unaware of how close to death they had come.

"There were a lot of passengers left the airplane smiling," he said.

He said the landing afterwards was a "textbook landing".

"From take-off until we landed I am extremely proud of what we did from push-off to landing.

"The cabin crew were outstanding. We did extremely well under the circumstances. We kept it very, very simple."

He said he did not know to this day exactly how he manoeuvred the Airbus into the air.

"I . . . sort of reacted on instinct," he said.

"I had a feeling that (something) wasn't working, but I couldn't find out what was wrong.

"I knew I couldn't stop.

"At that point I knew we just had to go.

"And we got it off the ground, miraculously."

The accident was later described as the closest Australia had come to a major aviation catastrophe.

Tail strikes are extremely dangerous and can result in a plane breaking in two.

A report by air safety investigators found the co-pilot was at the controls when the pilot, a captain, called on him to "rotate", or lift the plane's nose.

When the plane failed to lift, the pilot again called for him to rotate the plane, which saw the plane's nose lift and its tail strike the ground.

The pilot then took over, commanding and selecting TOGA, which provides the maximum thrust the plane's engines will deliver.

Once the plane was in the air, the crew realised the take-off weight programmed into the plane's computer was 100 tonnes lighter than the actual weight of the plane.

The typing error meant the wrong take-off speed and thrust settings had been calculated.

Emirates has said there were four layers of checks that should have picked up the error, and the failure to do so was "perplexing".

The pilot did not type in the numbers, but was responsible for checking them.

The pilot said he almost collapsed after bringing the plane safely back to land.

"One of my friends almost admitted me to hospital I was so stressed," he said.

"If you have a near-death experience your body reacts in a particular way."

In multiple interviews conducted with the Sunday Herald Sun over a period of weeks, the pilot who has left Dubai with his family and returned to his home country in Europe also revealed:

HE had slept for only 3 1/2 hours in the 24 hours before the flight taking off on March 20.

THE brush with death upset him so badly he had not slept for four days after the accident.

HE and his co-pilot were ordered to resign. They were handed pre-prepared letters of resignation when they returned to Emirates headquarters.

HE was still so horrified by the accident that he could not bear to think about it.

HE needed to find a job, but did not know if he would fly again.

HE was reluctant to reveal exactly what happened in the cockpit in case his recollection was different from what Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators would find.

The veteran pilot, who has 22 years' experience with the military and commercial airlines, said he knew Melbourne Airport quite well.

In his 4 1/2 years of flying for Emirates he had flown in and out of Melbourne many times.

"Maybe four, five times in the past six months," he said.

"Melbourne was one of the places I knew well.

"Maybe (I flew there) once every other month.

"It was quite emotional to have to say goodbye."

Since the accident, several Emirates pilots have spoken to the Sunday Herald Sun, saying fatigue was a major problem with the airline, which is one of the world's largest long-haul carriers.

The ATSB has also been told of fatigue problems, though its preliminary report into the tail strike revealed fatigue was probably not a factor.

The pilot said it was hard for him to know if he was fatigued or not, but that he had very little sleep when the near-fatal error was made.

"I had the flown the maximum in the last 30 days. One hundred hours in 28 days, it's an Emirates rule," he said.

"I'd flown 99 hours. You can fly 100 hours in a month. There a big difference in long-haul, nights, it's a mix of everything."

He said he had told ATSB investigators he had little sleep in the day before to the 10.30pm flight on Friday, March 20.

"This long-haul flying is really, really fatiguing. Really demanding on your body," he said.

"When I did that take-off in Melbourne I had slept 3 1/2 hours in 24 hours.

"You feel sort of normal, abnormal."

He said he had been in Melbourne for 24 hours before his flight.

"That (the Melbourne-Dubai flight) is the most tiring trip I have done in my career.

"You're always out of whack."

The pilot said he and other pilots tried hard not to make any mistakes, but occasionally errors happened.

"It's never on purpose," he said.

"No fingers point in our direction. It happens because of a range of things coming together at the time.

"Until now, I had a perfect record.

"I was just a pilot."

He said he had told the ATSB everything about the period leading up to the accident, and he praised the Australian investigators for their thoroughness and sensitivity.

"I told them everything about what happens. Eating, exercise, I was dead honest. It's always like that when you fly," he said.

"I was really scared of going to jail when I got back to Dubai."

He said there had been four pilots in the cockpit - he and the co-pilot, who had been at the controls as the plane taxied along the runway, and two augmenting pilots who were on board because of the length of the 14 1/2 hour flight to Dubai.




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