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  • 53

United Pilot Lapses Suspected After Fire Warning

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Pilots of a United Airlines jet apparently didn't follow proper procedures and inadvertently disabled some vital electrical systems after they received a fire warning and started an emergency return earlier this month to New Orleans, according to people familiar with the probe. A team of safety experts led by the National Transportation Safety Board has tentatively concluded that after skipping over a portion of a checklist, the pilots of the Airbus A320 also failed to restore power to some… (online.wsj.com) More...

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preacher1
preacher1 0
I guess they can find what they want to but they weren't flying the plane
chaka
Bryan Biggs 0
I just ran this exact same scenario in the simulator recently and all I can say is that it is a real Bear. Smoke and Fumes / Emergency Electrical Configuration is one of the longest and most complicated procedures to run. Throw in that you are trying to communicate with the O2 mask on and find your way back to an airport and you can see the potential for it to get real ugly, real fast. It's always easy for NTSB to Monday Morning Quarterback. Great job by the crew just getting it back on the ground with nobody hurt.
preacher1
preacher1 0
I agree Bryan. Lot's of armchair QB there. Let'em sit in the seat and then let's talk. Shoulda,couda, woulda, supposed to.
SPEEDY2529
MAURO PALMA 0
It will always be pilot error. Thats why we have such a big FAR/AIM book
usmcflyr
usmcflyr 0
The whole point of the FAR/AIM is to make any possible scenario "pilot error"
preacher1
preacher1 0
Although it will never happen, like me and Bryan said, put'em in the damn seat and then let'em talk. Having been there and done that like him, kudos to the crew for getting it back on the ground with nobody hurt. I might add that he and I have been lucky in that ours was in the SIM but these boys had it actual. All these damn bureaucats can kiss my #$%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
xmacfly
ALLEN McLEAN 0
You weren't there - they were - don't second guess or criticize.
Yazoo
Yazoo 0
Aviate, Navigate, Communicate - With a possible fire you put the plane down fast. Remember ValuJet? Passengers are alive. Aircraft intact and repairable. I'd say give them a medal.
tjoneillMO
Tim ONeill 0
A long "emergency" checklist with a short time to do it is a really bad idea. I believe I read one of the reasons the Qantas A380 flew for an hour and a half while leaking fuel after the uncontained turbine rotor failure that severely damaged wing structure was because the crew had to clear hundreds of computer squaks to allow the plane to LAND!
toolguy105
toolguy105 0
This points out a very good reason for the saying; "IF it ain't Boeing I ain't going". Airbus relies on many electronics to keep their [planes in the air. When there is a problem there are long and many checklists that have to be run. Listen to ATC Live when a Boeing plane and an Airbus plane have similar incidents. The Boeing plane runs through the checklist and is on the ground while the Airbus plane is till running checklists. Many of the regional aircraft have long check lists as well.
flybeyes
R Beyes 0
Fly the airplane- Silence the warning- Confirm the Emergency.
skyrat550
russ harris 0
The old proverbial wisdom applies, "I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six." Fire/smoke demands getting that puppy on the ground
ASAP; since you have no way of knowing how much flight time you have left before something flight critical burns up----game over.
smoki
smoki 0
While I agree that getting the machine on the ground as quickly as possible when there is the threat of impending fire/smoke/fumes in the cockpit or cabin is good in principle, that only works if you're somewhere near another airport, not if you're at 50 West. There have been some of those unexplained oceanic disappearances. Pan Am 103 would have been among those but for an earlier than planned onboard terrorist explosion (Kill Qadaffi). I count myself among the fortunate who flew on that same flight only 3 days prior. Then of course there's TWA 800 for which the explanation given by the feds was in my opinion too goofy to believe.

Skipping a part of the checklist didn't apparently result in compounding the emergency for this UA crew presumably because they were familiar enough with the equipment affected that it didn't matter plus they were too damn busy flying, navigating and communicating to mess with it. One can only hope the Feds will see it that way. ValuJet's accident was unfortunately a case in point in which immediate return was crucial to survival but as fate would have it, didn't turn out that way. The checklist can and should be heaved to the back of the bus if getting the machine back on the ground after takeoff is the safest and quickest way to avoid a disaster. Then you can fight the fire or abandon ship as the case may be.
gjohnson737
Gary Johnson 0
All I can say is, if your butt on fire get on the ground asap. Some of these smoke and fire checklist take a huge amount of time. Look at Swiss Air MD-11 crash. Burning airplanes do not fly very long.

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