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DL 747 Emergency Landing on Midway (6/16)

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DL 747 Emergency Landing on Midway (6/16)

Old 06-22-2011, 01:54 PM
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Default DL 747 Emergency Landing on Midway (6/16)

My favorite part: "The airport manager said that they didn't have sufficiently long stairs to serve the airplane. Carpentry workers on the island therefore built another set of stairs to go on top of the existing stairs to reach the doorway."

Given the number of birds that live on Sand Island/Midway Atoll (3M+?), the bird strikes seem rather unavoidable. They had to ferry in another 747 full of crew and mechanic staff to do the fix. Passengers on board for 16+ hours while on Sand Island -- no permission to deplane them (safety/feasibility).

From the Aviation Herald (Incident: Delta B744 over Pacific on Jun 16th 2011, cracked windshield

Delta Airlines Boeing 747-400, registration N669US performing flight DL-277 from Honolulu,HI (USA) to Osaka Kansai (Japan) with 359 passengers and 19 crew, was enroute at FL360 about 300nm southeast of Sand Island/Midway Atoll (USA), when the captain's windshield cracked prompting the crew to divert to Sand Island's Henderson Field - runway length 2410 meters/7900 feet. The aircraft hit two birds while on approach to Henderson Airfield causing damage to a flap, the airplane continued for a safe landing about one hour after the windshield cracked.

A replacement Boeing 747-400 registration N663US, scheduled to fly the rotation from Tokyo Narita (Japan) to Minneapolis,MN (USA), was positioned from Tokyo to Sand Island as flight DL-9935, picked up the passengers and reached Osaka as flight DL-9873 with a total delay of 16 hours.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) said the 747 suffered two bird strikes upon arrival, one of which damaged the flaps, but continued for a safe landing. The passengers were kept aboard until the second 747 arrived, however were provided with maps and were able to walk off the aircraft. The replacement 747 left at 5am just before daybreak and before sea birds including the albatross began to fly.

The airline said the aircraft suffered a "major crack" in the windshield. Given the condition of the windshield the crew had to land still in daylight and could not accept a delay in landing until after dark.

The FAA said, there was no loss of cabin pressure but the damage was sufficient to divert to Midway Atoll's runway that serves as an emergency strip for the Pacific.

The airport manager said that they didn't have sufficiently long stairs to serve the airplane. Carpentry workers on the island therefore built another set of stairs to go on top of the existing stairs to reach the doorway.

A passenger reported that the airplane was flying in serious turbulence when the windshield cracked. The crew descended the aircraft to 14,000 feet and diverted to Midway where the airplane struck some albatrosses on approach. They were told that flights usually only land and depart in the dark due to the high number of albatrosses around the island. The passengers stayed on board of the aircraft most of the time as there was nowhere to go to.

The incident aircraft is estimated to be repaired and able to depart about 24 hours after landing.

FlightAware > Delta Air Lines (DL) #277 > 16-Jun-2011 > PHNL-RJBB Flight Tracker
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:54 AM
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Carl ????..............
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:51 PM
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The fact that the stairs were not tall enough for the airplane got me thinking. So this question is for anyone familiar with B744.

I know it would not be feasible to allow the passengers to enter and exit in this way but is their not any kind of access way for crew to enter and exit the aircraft without using stairs and the passenger doors. For example I know on the L1011 their was a way you could enter and exit the airplane using the forward avionics bay hatch by the nose gear. Does the B744 have anything like this.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:38 PM
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Was it really necessary to divert into PMDY? Couldn't they have made it back to PHNL. I haven't flown a large plane yet that couldn't be flown, perhaps with restrictions, with a cracked pane.

Any Whale experts?

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Old 06-25-2011, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by galaxy flyer View Post
Was it really necessary to divert into PMDY? Couldn't they have made it back to PHNL. I haven't flown a large plane yet that couldn't be flown, perhaps with restrictions, with a cracked pane.

Any Whale experts?

GF
Says they wanted to land before it got dark, not sure why the CA couldn't just trust the other guy to do a night landing even if his own visibility was impaired. How long would that have taken at 14,000? I assume they would have had enough gas for HNL.

Also if the SOP said "land at nearest suitable" you don't have a lot of wiggle room with the FAA. Pax convenience is not a legit consideration.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyingViking View Post
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No...But it sounds like something that would happen to me.

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Old 06-25-2011, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post
Says they wanted to land before it got dark, not sure why the CA couldn't just trust the other guy to do a night landing even if his own visibility was impaired. How long would that have taken at 14,000? I assume they would have had enough gas for HNL.

Also if the SOP said "land at nearest suitable" you don't have a lot of wiggle room with the FAA. Pax convenience is not a legit consideration.
The MEL does say to land at nearest suitable airport. The reference to daylight got mixed up in the news reporting. You normally want to wait until dark at Midway so the birds aren't flying. But since nightfall was too many hours away, the Captain didn't want to keep the aircraft in the air until nightfall with the windshield in its condition.

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Old 06-25-2011, 10:01 AM
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it is my understanding of the "nearest suitable" criteria that it means just that, suitable to complete the entire remaining flight safely. It does not equal "nearest available" nor "land immediately"

To include suitable weather. If I have an engine failure and below me is a 10,000 foot strip at minimums, and 75 miles away is a 10,000 foot strip VFR, well i will probably fly the 75 miles. The overall safety picture is better. Assuming my failed engine is not on fire nor causing additional problems.

It means you are legal to overfly an airport if you can articulate why it was safer then immediately landing.

I could be wrong but thats the take-away I have had on this over the years.....no you can't fly another 2000 miles, but...
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by l1011 View Post
The fact that the stairs were not tall enough for the airplane got me thinking. So this question is for anyone familiar with B744.

I know it would not be feasible to allow the passengers to enter and exit in this way but is their not any kind of access way for crew to enter and exit the aircraft without using stairs and the passenger doors. For example I know on the L1011 their was a way you could enter and exit the airplane using the forward avionics bay hatch by the nose gear. Does the B744 have anything like this.
Cockpit escape hatch for exiting.


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Old 06-26-2011, 01:05 PM
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At least on the freighters there is a path from the nose gear through the E and E bay to the main deck. Pax planes have the same E and E doors so I'd say there is also a path. I know plenty of pilots that will not fit through the hatch from the main deck to E & E.
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