21 Responses

  1. Richard Chen
    Richard Chen 19 August 2012 at 8:25 am |

    God bless their training, intelligence, psychological calm and professional merit. These are the men and women who truly need to be recognized more daily.

  2. gomike
    gomike 19 August 2012 at 8:29 am |

    4 hours of circling, what fun.

  3. jackal
    jackal 19 August 2012 at 8:46 am |

    Amen to Richard Chen’s comment!

  4. mike
    mike 19 August 2012 at 8:49 am |

    What prevents a 757 from dumping fuel? And what happens if they have no choice but to land over weight?

  5. jackal
    jackal 19 August 2012 at 8:55 am |

    That’s probably a good question for the UA Pilot Q&A thread, but my semi-uneducated guess is that the 757 isn’t fitted with a fuel dumping system (some Airbuses aren’t, either, IIRC, as I recall a B6 A320 that had an issue with the nosegear at LAX once couldn’t dump fuel, either). And landing overweight is probably a possibility in an extreme emergency (engines out, etc.), but given that it has the potential to do damage to the wheels and gear structures, they probably don’t want to do it unless it’s absolutely necessary. Plus, they were already down one tire–not good to shove a plane against the earth when the things between the two are already compromised.

  6. Cruisr
    Cruisr 19 August 2012 at 8:57 am |

    Wow. I am always so impressed with the calm, cool and collected demeaner of the pilots and ATC. Listening to the transmissions gave me chills. Plus 1 to richard’s comment.

    I have an app on my iPad that I listen to EWR ATC. Wasn’t listening last night so missed this.

  7. mike
    mike 19 August 2012 at 8:59 am |

    Thanks for the answers…makes sense.

    Anyone know when these passengers actually got out for Berlin?

  8. Levy Flight
    Levy Flight 19 August 2012 at 9:14 am |

    Coincidently, last week I was on a BMI flight out of FRA to BHX that blew an engine on the runway. I was relieved to say that it happened while we were at 130 mph, just before take off and not after. We did block on of FRAs runways for an hour or so.

  9. Gene K
    Gene K 19 August 2012 at 10:24 am |

    This incident has some of the hallmarks of a compressor stall, otherwise known as a surge. Very scary for pax, especially those aft of the wing on the affected side, as they likely saw flames trailing the engine to go along with the violent bang and heavy vibrations that usually accompany this phenomenon. In many cases the engine will correct itself and resume operating normally, as seems to have happened here. Regardless, it is always prudent to get the airplane on the ground as soon as possible to inspect the engine as well as evaluate the other damage that occurred. A major engine issue early in an ETOPS flight will always result in a return or diversion.

    As for the fuel situation, aircraft such as 747s or 777s that can carry hundreds of thousands of pounds of Jet-A need to be equipped with a dump mechanism because max landing weight (MLW) can be as much 295,000 pounds lighter than max takeoff weight (MTOW) and the only way to slim down in flight is to burn/dump fuel.

    The 757 has a smaller margin between MTOW and MLW, so such capability, as demonstrated in this instance, is redundant. Rest assured that if the crew determined the situation were critical and that it was essential to land immediately, they would have been able to safely do so. Once it was clear that the aircraft was stable, any more aggressive measures (such as an overweight landing) would have probably caused more harm than good.

  10. Gene K
    Gene K 19 August 2012 at 10:29 am |

    Also worth noting is that this flight departed from rwy 11 at EWR, the shortest runway in operation there at 6800ft. The blown tire likely occurred after V1, which is the point at which the airplane can no longer safely stop on the runway. Any failure after V1 calls for a normal takeoff (to the extent possible), followed by troubleshooting the issue once established in flight.

  11. Cook
    Cook 19 August 2012 at 2:42 pm |

    Great description of a non-event, well handled by professionals in the cockpit AND ATC/Tower. Yes, airlines include “Sounding Cool on the Radio 101″ in their training programs .

  12. Captain X
    Captain X 19 August 2012 at 3:13 pm |

    No tire failure, blow out or anything else. It was a compressor stall. The EGT on that engine went to over 1000 degrees C. On takeoff, EGT rarely exceeds 800C. Yes, we are trained professionals. Too bad UAL has such poor maintenance. This was not the only engine problem in the past couple of days. UAL 1095 also had a hot engine and returned to EWR. No emergency declared. Never saw any news about that one.

  13. downhillcrasher
    downhillcrasher 19 August 2012 at 6:11 pm |

    @seth, you don’t see them much anymore, but the 707/720/727 and DC-8 (ATI combi flight, anyone?) are all narrowbodies that can dump fuel.

  14. cruisr
    cruisr 19 August 2012 at 6:18 pm |

    Captain X, you have me worried now. I am only asking your opinion, not knowing who you fly for, do you consider UA safe to fly? It just seems that they have so many flts going MX and XL. Again, as I posted on FT, maybe we are just looking for it?

  15. Gene K
    Gene K 19 August 2012 at 9:40 pm |

    @Cook, calling this a non-event is pretty cavalier.

    @Captain X, I only listened to the ATC recording, but the absence of a tire failure makes sense. I was having trouble figuring out how chunks of a left MLG tire would be ingested into the #1 engine on takeoff roll.

  16. Nick
    Nick 19 August 2012 at 10:00 pm |

    Thanks Captain X you said what I was thinking: United is skimping on proper maintenance. The other emergency landing was smoke in the cockpit on a flight to Seattle both reported in Newsday and NBC. 2 emergency landings in 2 days.

    After a decade of flying Continental and now United I see where they are going with the airline: Ryanair/Easyjet. They don’t even offer special meals on transatlantic flights anymore (so for example no Kosher meal NYC to Amsterdam ). I decided this week to forgo my allegiance to them – this news just assures me it is the right decision. I’m not going to fly them anymore. Delta has seems to be the best US based legacy carrier and then fly more foreign carriers who still understand safety and customer satisfaction.

  17. ptahcha
    ptahcha 22 August 2012 at 8:58 am |

    @Nick Incorrect about special meals – they can still be requested for transatlantic flights.

  18. Nick
    Nick 24 August 2012 at 12:23 pm |

    @ptahcha – Nope sadly you are misinformed – I called they are NOT offerred on this route. At least not Kosher meals…

    Call them and ask yourself – I called the Elite desk and the women said they were not available and then she told me: We have 10 hour flights to Hawai and we don’t even offer a hot meal. Like that is suppose to make me feel better? So over United…when you book transatlantic flights, depending on the route they actually say in the reservation: No Special meals on this route. It’s what got me to phone.

  19. Nick
    Nick 24 August 2012 at 12:43 pm |

    @ptahcha – Apologies I called again – the message I got was a computer glitch and the Elite Customer service agent I got was a misinformed bitch. So yes you are correct they are still serving special meals on transatlantic flights. Thanks for motivating me to try again! ;-)

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