You are going to watch a film about a natural phenomenon that resulted in a non-routine situation. The duration of the film is about three and a half minutes. After watching the film be ready to discuss it and answer the examiner’s questions.
On June 24, 1982, the devastating effect of an ash cloud took the crew of British airways jet completely by surprise. Mount “Galangan” on the island of Java has erupted, but no warnings have been issued to pilots. When the 747 flies into the cloud collides with volcanic ash particles inside. The friction creates a bright shimmering glow on the windscreen. Passengers aboard the flight also see a strange glow around the plane`s engines. Smoke begin to see into the cabin around. Volcanic ash has been sucked into the aircraft`s ventilation system. With ash particles cloud in the cabin and the aircraft up. The volcanic cloud deals It`s most deadly blow. The ash has snuffed out one of the jet`s four massive engines.
“The other three just went out almost immediately, that`s when it began to be a serious emergency”
The 747 is suddenly powerless and it`s quickly falling to the sea. Starting the engines has become the crew`s only priority, but volcanic ash is making that task impossible.
“The temperature in the combustion chamber where this ash flowing through around 2000 degrees centigrade and so volcanic ash, we know, melts at about 3000, 4000 degrees. The volcanic ash transforms into molten goo within jet engines. The material blocks key air passages and cause that the engines to surge and shut down.”
Then with just 12000 feet separating British Airways flight 009 from the ocean engine №4 rose to life.
“Engine 3 back online. I can`t believe it, engines 1 and 2 both back online”
“ came out of volcanic ash, and the engines were not running remember, so everything cool down, it was enough for this stuff to break off and allow the engines to restart.”
British Airways flight 009 landed safely. No one was injured and important lesson was learned.
What natural phenomenon resulted in an emergency situation for the British Airways flight? Did the pilots receive any warnings about a possible problem?
The volcanic ash resulted in an emergency situation for the British Airways flight. The pilots didn’t receive any warnings about a possible problem.
What symptoms did the pilots have in the cockpit? Did passengers have the same symptoms in the cabin?
The pilots had a bright shimmering glow on the windscreen and smoke in the cockpit. Passengers also had the same symptoms: glow and smoke.
How did the situation develop? Was ash in the cabin the worst problem for the flight?
Volcanic ash has been sucked into the aircraft`s ventilation system. The ash has snuffed out one of the jet`s four massive engines. So the ash in the cabin wasn’t the worst problem for the flight.
What procedure was performed by the crew in the emergency situation? What would you do in case of a similar problem?
Emergency descent and engine restart were performed by the crew in the emergency situation. I would use a “fly-navigate-communicate” technology in case of similar problem. Of course I must restart my engines in similar situation.
Why was re-starting the engines impossible?
The restarting the engines was impossible due to volcanic ash within jet engines.
When and how did the pilots manage to solve the problem? What allowed them to re-start the engines?
The aircraft came out of the volcanic ash and engines parts were cooled down.
How was the flight completed? Were there any fatalities or injuries on landing?
The flight was completed successfully. There weren’t any fatalities or injures on landing.
What lesson was learned after that emergency situation? What measures were taken to prevent similar situations in the future?
An important lesson was learnt after that emergency situation. Nowadays geophysicists and meteorologists inform ATCs about volcanic activity to prevent similar situations.
What other natural phenomena that can affect flight safety do you know? What problems can they lead to? Can you think of any examples?
There are many natural phenomena that can affect flight safety such as cyclonic activity, thunderstorm, line squall, thick fog, wind share, blowing snow, heavy shower rain, dust or sand storm, lightning, icing, severe turbulence and so on. These problems can lead to malfunctions, failures, problems with aircraft controllability and accidents. I know an example. On 22 August 2006, while enroute to Saint Petersburg, the aircraft crashed in Donetsk Oblast in Eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. All 170 people onboard were killed in the crash. That aircraft couldn’t proceed through line squall at high altitude.