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A380 Flies 5,000 Miles On Three Engines

Canada's Transportation Safety Board says Emirates Airlines elected to fly an A380 more than 5,000 miles across the Atlantic, southern Europe and the Mediterranean to Kuwait on three engines after the number four engine flamed out about an hour after takeoff from JFK. The original destination was Dubai for Flight 202 on Oct 26. "The crew consulted with the company and decided to divert to Kuwait International Airport (OKBK) on the remaining three engines where an uneventful landing took… ( 기타...

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wb2cjs 12
This thread reminds me of a joke:

On board a jet flying to Europe, two passengers hear the announcement:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have had some minor trouble with the #1 engine and had to shut it down. This will make us about 40 minutes late landing at Heathrow"

A while later, the Pilot comes on the PA again:

"I am afraid we have lost our #3 engine, and our arrival will now be about 90 minutes late. We are very sorry for the inconvenience"

Another hour goes by, and the plane gets even quieter. The Pilot announces:

"We are really very sorry, but now we have lost the #2 engine. We regret to inform our very patient passengers that we will be over 2 hours late landing at Heathrow".

One passenger turns to the other and says:

"I sure hope we don't lose #4, we'll be up here all day!"
spatr 15
So a qualified crew, in conjunction with maintenance made a decision and it turned out as planned? The horror. They elected to land short of Dubai because of the increased fuel burn and had plenty of divert points over Europe. Just like with BA 268, it was recognized that the crew and company did nothing wrong per CAA rules and no enforcement action was taken. To this day, neither BA or the CAA has amended policy because of the incident. The FAA dropped its proposed enforcement action as well.
Ok, I'm flying any 2,3,4or 8 engine airplane and shortly after fueling and takeoff, I lose an engine. I see absolutely no reason for it. No fire, no leaks, no mechanical damage. My next thought would be fuel contamination. Do I really want to continue a 13 hour flight not knowing if I have bad fuel? The fuel gets colder at altitude so any contamination could then freeze up and clog lines or pumps before the fuel heaters. I had a single flameout in a 2 engine jet for this reason and am lucky it was not a duel flameout as there was significant water in the tank after landing. With jet fuel, it could take several hours after fueling for all water to settle out to be drained. Not sure about the systems on the 380 but if one flamed out because of fuel contamination, the others could also. The flight landed safely this time but how about next time. Would any of the people that say this is ok really want to be on the aircraft that had an engine failure due to fuel contamination. If it were me, I had rather be safely on the ground waiting for a new plane.....just my thoughts.....
Murphy does not discriminate.
O'tools Corolary to Murphy's Law...... Murphy was an optimist!
smoki 2
Wholeheartedly agree my friend! We know how that word "assume" is spelled. Kinda like the Asiana crew who assumed (presumably) that the auto throttles were engaged or that the other guy had it! To continue for such an inordinate distance with a turbofan engine that has unexpectedly and inexplicably flamed out is an invitation for more surprises. This time it turned out OK, but next time??? It's axiomatic in aviation that runway behind you, sky above you and alternate/divert fields behind you are of no use to you or your passengers, especially the latter who have placed their trust in your hands and your head for their safety and comfort.

Did I read where someone in one of these posts actually remarked that the Atlantic Ocean is not that wide? I just shake and scratch my head at the mere thought of such a statement. I've been across it many times over the years and it always seemed wide to me especially when the tracks were shifted south on a dark and stormy night when things always seemed to go bump in the night long about 40 west followed by the usual rejoinder among the three of us, "What the hell was that?" When I think about Lucky Lindy making that trip in that flimsy little SE recip, I can't help but marvel at his incredible courage or stupidity or both. He was either one lucky SOB or he God as his copilot.
I bet you drain the water condensation out of your tanks before flying now huh?
I do, but as you may not know the airlines don't drain after each fueling. Also jet fuel will hold water in suspension for several hours after fueling and more will come out of suspension when it is supercooled. Doesn't sound like you know much about about jet fuel. Even with avgas, there have been many cases where water is trapped behind ribs and spars or in wrinkled fuel cells. Do you sump the fuel then rock the wings to move the water toward the sumps after fueling then sump again? There have been many accidents caused by fuel starvation after water ingestion even after pilot thought they had drained all the water. I hope this never happens to you!
Most airlines planes don't sit long enough to collect condensation and if they do sit it's usually with full tanks, (Airlines that pay their bills). And no it hasn't happened to me yet.
In my world, large airplanes rarely sit long periods of time with full fuel much less take off with full fuel. At most 3 hours between arrival and departure. You only fuel to full on max range trips(usuall with reduced pax and cargo load). Fly in third world countries enough and you will get fuel contamination even after you have the fueler pump 2-3 gallons into the white bucket. If you don't understand this, you probably will come up with some other logic to prove how smart you are. My oh crap moment came after I did everything correctly, assuming the sumping, visually checking fuel in bucket and sumping some more would clear any possible contamination. Remember water suspended in jet fuel takes a long time to settle.
What airline flies with full tanks, that money the company leaves on the ground.

[This poster has been suspended.]

I fly 4 engines Boeing (not for Emirates or BA...) and your reactions are amazing.

Guys, this is the point... It was no severe damage or fire. [If] it was a flameout... it was no big deal!
I don't know what Airbus FCOM or FCTM say about this. But Boeing stays cool about this.
This is not ETOPS!!! The crew has to evaluate the situation and the possibility of 2nd engine failure. And again: this can be no big deal.
Then you should remember BA Flight 268 in 2005, a 747 flight from KLAX to EGLL, on takeoff lost an engine, and decided to continue to EGLL, they ended up declaring an emergency and landed at Manchester, thinking they had insufficient fuel. ATC initially expected them to return to LAX. The FAA accused BA of flying an unairworthy aircraft over the ocean, and was going to fine the airline, but dropped the case, when BA agreed to change their procedures. Flying on 3 engines is one thing over land, where if something else goes wrong, they can get down in a hurry. Doing it over the ocean with 300 to 400 souls on board in the case of a 747 and more on an A380, is an unnecessary and unwarranted risk! IMHO.
And what about a twin # aircraft crossing the pacific if you consider that a 4# aircraft have to land immediately after one engine failure ?? Do you realize 3 hours on one engine with about 300 peoples, having to descent down to 18000 ft into the clouds, requiring the only remaining engine to de ice himself and the wings !? Is that an acceptable risk taken every day by hundreds of twins ?
Twins do not fly on one engine every day. It's a rare thing, and when they do they are flying to the nearest suitable airport. They certainly don't start an oceanic crossing down an engine.

The issue is not the number of engines left, but the fact that an engine went out at all. Engine failure is rare in modern airliners. It's very important to know the reason that first engine went out. If it's an environmental issue like birds or worse ice, and/or internal, like a fuel or service issue, that can affect all engines. It's doesn't matter if you have 1 engine left or 7. If they all ice up or all have bad fuel and stop.

I assume the airline had better information that shared publicly that justified completing the flight, or they were jus making a logistically and economically expedient decision to continue on. They may have been counting on modern engine reliability that will get their flight home in most instances. Buy that doesn't always mean it was the best decision.

But without more info, people will consider the decision with all alternatives imaginable.
4# aircraft do not fly on 3# every day as well. It's also a rare event. And yes a twin will fly to the nearest suitable airport but it can be 3 hours away from the point of failure ! 3 hours on a single engine at about 18000 ft into the clouds often riquiring de ice i.o. 31000 on 3# above the clouds.
The A380 is quite capable of continuing on with 3 engines. In this case it was probably more of a logistics issue. At there facility in Dubai they have the equipment and people to be able to quickly replace an A380 engine, or make repairs, as well as spare engines and parts. Doing so at an alternate location, lacking the equipment and manpower, would be a lengthy and expensive project. A ferry flight would also be expensive. Not to mention the problems associated with not having the aircraft available for it's next flight.
It's not a big deal to fly on three, IF you know what caused the engine failure. If it's a known recent mechanical issue that is only affecting the one engine, go ahead and fly as far and wherever you want.

Buy not knowing the cause, and flying across the ocean is unnecessarily risky. The company may know what caused the engine failure. But since that info was never released publicly, commenters make conclusions that are reasonable when the cause is unknown.
It's even worse with the A380. There are only a limited number of airports around the world modified to accommodate the landing and/or unloading of the behemoth.
I think that it is their location and what they had ahead of them that brought out the negative comments. 3 may have been just fine but having the distance to go over water with no qualified airport for the beast to boot, plus the current mentality to get down on twins, probably started everybody, myself included, really thinking.
You read my mind better than I expresses myself Preacher !
if it was just a flame out why was it not restarted?
Simply because it's no more Grand'Pa's aviation !

Modern engine monitoring re-egnite "simple" engines flameouts... and usually prevent it.

Thus the fact that a flameout did occure means the "FADEC" could not sustain the flame. This also explains why any in-flight start would have been unelikely to succeed.

Here, appearently, 2 fuel pumps that had failed...
One last comment. I'm sure the company has an operations manual. It basically will say loss of engine requires divert to nearest suitable or continue and monitor. I know that's simplified. But the pilots may not have had a choice without going against SOP. I doubt the manual says do whatever you want. So we can guess what Emirates manual says, or doesn't say.
I'm sure that decision was not made unilaterally by the flight crew. Ground operations must have had inclusion if not final authority.
I remember reading a pilot handbook for a helicopter years ago. Amongst the instructions for handling various caution and warning messages, some would say "land as soon as possible", while others would say "land as soon as practical". One engine failure out of four is probably in the second category, allowing the flight crew to land in a location where the plane can get serviced appropriately and where the customers can be accommodated (i.e. perhaps they can reposition a plane in the time it took to fly 5000 miles).
Exactly. So as as pax I now know that Emirates will not land at fist suitable airport with an engine failure. That don't cut it for me personally. To each his own.
BTW, I'm a helo pilot. Have had the luxury of landing in first open area to check out a problem. Not an option for airliners. Lol
Many moons ago, I was on a CO 727 out of MSY to DEN and we lost the right engine about 30 minutes out of MSY. Continued on to DEN at FL 240 and were about an hour late arriving--but the central USA is not quite like the North Altanic. The Captain told us all about the problem and what the plan was.
The 727 had 3 engines, right? If it were a 2 engine powered airliner I would have been very uncomfortable with that.
There is a lot more maneuvering room out in this part of the world. LOL
Not to mention plenty of Airports along that route if things did go sour, and most of them had CO stations as well. LOL
There was no risk, that is what you are permitted to do it. If there was a risk, the Flight Manual would specify "land at nearest suitable airport". The aircraft is certified for 3 engine flight. BTW I base my input on over 20,000 hours in 3 & 4 engine aircraft cockpits. The decision is based upon several factors, safety being primary obviously, the practicality of continuing Vs turning back to JFK. The Atlantic ocean is not that wide, I would question a Qantas crew doing the same out of LAX and continuing to SYD. Once across the Atlantic there are dozens of suitable airports. The BA flight ex LAX that continued towards the UK was probably not the wisest decision with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. One major carrier I flew with provided us with a list of airports that actually had a spare engine onsite, this was aimed on assisting the crew in selecting the destination in the event of loss of an engine. My guess is that there is not a lot of A380 engines sitting around. Rolls Royce used to provide engines at logistically sensible airports, e.g. Singapore even though no local carrier used RR engines.
It may be legal but my question is why did it flame out, if the answer is unknown then you have 3 other drinking fuel from the same supply. It's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground
See my other posts for the "why did it flame out".

Sorry but you're not quite right when you state "3 other drinking fuel from the same supply": Airspeed is reduced, altitude lowered the needed power is -usually- reduced !

HOWEVER, consumsion is -usually- increased by 5 to 20% BECAUSE in this situation the engines' RPM (N1) needed to maintain -a speed close to- green dot differes from the best "FF/Speed" N1 value.

(But there are a few jet-aircraft that use less fuel with 1 Eng shutdown...)
So where are the other engines getting their fuel did some one fill the fuel tanks from another source. Single point pulls the fuel from the same truck or under ground supply. So if the fuel is the problem your just waiting for the next fuel line or high or low pressure pump to plug. Yes I know their is fuel filter bypass, but when things go wrong at their drift down alt is not the place to say the words we have all said at one time or another. NOW WHAT IS IT DOING
Hey Phil , is this something a US airline would do with say a 747?
In the old days - fer sure
Not since the British Airways stunt. Now a loss of an engine is an automatic land at nearest suitable airport no matter how many engines you have left. I believe that a 3 engine ferry can still be approved but that is a planned event.
A three engine ferry applies to taking-off and flying the route with 3 engines and pax.
An engine failure en-route is the decision of the Captain. In this case a simple engine malfunction with three remaining.
What is the point of ETOPS? To allow two engined a/c to fly extended range on one engine. This a/c had three!
Type certification also plays a part in ETOPS, I'm sure the 380's numbers are different, even with 4 engines, as opposed to 1 engine out on a 777. Also on a mx. ferry, no passengers are carried.
The 380 can land at the same speeds as regular sized aircraft
By numbers, I don't mean approach speeds. I meant ETOPS certification figures.
Never mind, I just worded my initial comment wrong...
Not quite so!

Airlines may be approuved for ETOPS of a given fleet of an aircraft type after thousands of flights and a clean Engine-incident histroy. Good statistics may lead to extended range 90min, 120min, 180min, (210? 240? 270?) Huurrr freaking out.

AND, this is a BIG POINT: this fleet has to be maintained under very specific rules. Basicly everything on the 2 engines systems differes:
- specific certification of the engines and parts,
- not assembled on the same line,
- parts from different origines, including spares, and fluids,
- AND different mechanics andteams! (the "left-engine-mechanic" must NEVER touch the right engine).

This is what makes the chance of having "a 2nd engine lost" after failure of the first one closer to zero than ever !

This do not apply to all the other aircraft, including 4-engines, thus A380.
Okay.. looking at the article, I would say that mechanical failure of the A380 was not the fault of this, especially if maintenance crew overlooked it and signed off on it. Definitely maintenance oversight.
spatr 1
Brad, I think you have the timeline wrong. 2 engine pumps failed and the plane was signed off after the incident.
Good grief. It had 4 engines at start. It is approved for 3-engine flight. The crew consulted with each other and the company and maintenance and decided to continue. It COULD have lost an engine more.....It could have lost 2.........anything "could" happen. But like numerous people have pointed out, it HAD 3 perfectly good engines, there was no indication of damage and so they continued on. No one seems to have mentioned the (to me) obvious reason for not landing at the nearest "suitable airport," which some seem to think is anything with tarmac would have been the overweight landing due to having so much fuel. Fantasy conversation on board--So let´s continue as it seems to be isolated. Anything at all seem out of place, we turn to a Canadian airport, if it is past Prins Christians, we go to KEF, when we get to the other side, anything at all, we go to XXX and if everything is working as normal, we have range to get to Kuwait and so we will continue. Any further comments or questions? Not a "crippled bird," or a car with a wonky battery, just an engine out of 4 available. As pointed out......there are plenty of 2-engined aircraft making the trip, having "only" 3 is not a big deal! That´s why there is redundancy, doesn´t mean you freak out when the system you are backing up fails.
If it was an ETOPS the Pilot would have landed in St. Johns or Gander I suspect. Always nice to have 4 huh?
If it had been an ETOPS -thus twin engine- the NNC would required to "plan to land on the nearest suitable airport". But it's not a twin; Thus no ETOPS.
In cruise, this shouldn't be an issue for a 4-engine aircraft.. Right after take-off like the BA case, and all the circling around to make up their minds, was foolish.
Engine shutdown is an alternate checklist, Engine Fire is an Emergency. Loss of 1 engine out of four is not an emergency, it does not say land at nearest, most practical or any other airport. Consult 3 engine fuel burn charts and if possible continue to destination or a suitable "engineering" airport.
The possibility of losing another engine is about the same as on a twin, zero....
Ken BERG 2
Remind me never to fly with folks who ignore safety. What made them think pump failure would not occur in other three engines? Do we know why the the pumps failed? Ken
That's really the point. There's so much redundancy. But if something can knock out both fuel pumps on one engine, could also knock out more fuel pumps on other engines.

I don't know what caused the engine failure. Maybe the airline did know. If they didn't setting out across the ocean seems a bit too risky.

OTOH if they were already dealing with a known issue that was isolated to the equipment (eg. fuel pumps on the engine with known MEL issues), that's one thing, and easier to justify. Even going all the way back to Dubai. But if they were unsure of the cause (maybe water in the fuel), just seems foolish to START an oceanic crossing without checking out the cause of the failure, and knowing for sure that the issue is isolated to the one engine.
pjshield 2
The luxury of 4 vs 2. Ahhhh!
I guarantee you won't fly a Dreamliner 5,000 miles on three engines. :)
haha, then you know something is definitely wrong.
Ian Guy 2
Clearly most of you have not heard of ETOPS? If a B777 can be certified to fly for three or four hours on a single engine, then the same length of time on three is a breeze. The difference between the BA was that it elected to fly ACROSS the US with three engines, rather than land. presumably the A380 could have landed at various points, but elected to fly to a hub where Emirates has ground support. No big deal.
In almost 30 years of flying I've never heard of ETOPS, what is it???
I figured one would emerge. Lol
Bah haha. Now let's see if Ian is willing to educate. LMAO
True but an ETOPS twin is designed to fly on 1 to the closest point. I am not sure where the 380 falls in that, and from a logical standpoint wasn't a bad decision, but just as a twin is designed to fly on 2 and one if an Emergency, the 380 is built with 4 and less than that should have constituted same, especially in that location. Just my opinion
I'm in your camp. If I was on that plane I would be pissed. I don't care if you got 2,3,or 4 an engine failure is a big deal and only the stupid (as Phil calls them) tempt Murphy.
nope, nope, nope. Wallace got it right on, and I'd be pissed, too. The plane lost the engine one hour out. The only question here, to me, would be: Okay... Where do we land? The airliner took a risk to not go back. Then, the most logical 2nd choice would have to be: Where is the nearest airport ahead? Anything beyond that, again to me, is taking unnecessary and unacceptable risk.
Huge difference between losing an engine prior to takeoff and losing an engine long after establishing cruise flight. Since they were at cruise altitude, they'd already burned a decent percentage of their fuel load to get up there, and that alone lessens the workload on the remaining three engines.
Ian Guy 0
So, by virtue of that you would not get on a twin jet and fly across the Pacific? The reliability of engines is much higher than when turbofans were first developed, else we wouldn't have ETOPS. Indeed the power to weight ration is also probably much higher than previously too.

It does however surprise me that they elected for Kuwait rather than the UK or Europe (see - maybe indicates their approximate flightpath
There is a huge difference when it happens over the ocean with limited options and when it happens before that with tons of other options. If you get on any plane to cross the ocean and you don't realize you are accepting a certain amount of increased risk you are only kidding yourself. You just don't always have hours to get on the ground. Of course I would and have flown across no matter the number of engines. But I would not get on a plane with one of the engines down and start the trip. In effect that is what they did. That's me.
Well, they had gone that far and Mr. Murphy had not made an appearance. They just decided to get on into an Emirates base at that point, but at no more than an hour out of JFK, I would have gone back. Like the 747, I think they are certified on 3, but probably had to lower altitude, hence the increased fuel burn and going to Kuwait rather than on to Dubai. Yeah, it came out OK but it could have been bad ugly and not something that I would want to do every day. Twins cross the pond every day but in most cases, that ETOPS is good for 180 minutes or 3 hours and it is not normal flying during that time. Been there, done that; ain't no fun. Does the term " sweating bullets" mean anything to you. LOL
I heard of an airline several years ago that departed lax one engine had a vibration and returned to lax The airliner was an etops aircraft. When maintenance was doing a check of the engine the thing came apart pieces entered the cabin so in flight you now have to decend, but the real problem would have been the pieces they pulled out of the other engine which was also now damaged. Etops is just pushing your luck if it can go wrong it will
Well the snobs below failed to tell you that ETOPS is an acronym for "EXTENDED range TWIN OPERATIONS.
Can also be Engines turn or people swim.....
In over forty years of flying I've never heard of SNOBS, what is it ???
Snot Nosed Overly Biased Shyts
What you missed is that THRUSTT was baiting. He knows perfectly well what ETOPS is. His sense of humor gotcha ! Lol
As we all know,the engine is the heartbeat of the aircraft.I agree with Phil.You definitely want to get back on the ground ASAP. My first real life emergency was a failed engine on climb-out out of PHL.I was piloting a 73-4. There were no warnings or alarms.Shortly after positive rate was established,the right engine just shut down.We were able to return to the airport without further incident,and we elected for a change of equipment. We never found the cause. We were told it might have been a mechanical glitch.
Ian Guy 1
Really, you're clearly not familiar with Qantas recent woes!!
Hmmm...the engine had TWO fuel pumps and they BOTH failed?
That's what the report said.
LarryQB 1
I think I would have diverted to Gander. Long runways, and they are used to dealing with that kind of problem.
At the time you just don't know why the engine failed. And what about the next one? Did the same mechanic work on all the engines?
LarryQB 1
Many years ago an Eastern Airlines L1011 departed for a very short flight between Miami and Nassau (don't remember which direction) and in succession two of the engines failed due to oil starvation. Turned out the mechanic didn't use a required o-ring when he changed the oil. So… why did the A380 engine fail? Would another? From Emirate's standpoint can you imagine how much fuel they'd have to dump to get down to landing weight? (Assuming A380's can dump fuel… otherwise a massively overweight land back at JFK).
That's a whole lotta fuel. They were tanked up for going all the way to Dubai. They would gave to dimp much if that fuel to make a quick stop in Canada, Maine, Boston or NY.

Most times they'll fly across on 3 engines wwithout any problem. But that one time that the airliner doesn't make it across the ocean, because more engines go out later in flight, will erase all the savings from those times that they didn't dump fuel, didn't pay for hotels, and didn't delay their passengers.
So what! Decisions were made by competent individuals within the framework of the regulations! Move on, guys, nothing to see here!
I'm confident that the pilots had a lot more information than we have from the the blurb in the article. The pilots must have been fairly confident of the reasons behind the shutdown. November last year, an Emirates A380 lost an engine departing SYD. They turned around and landed back in SYD. Emirates also diverted an A380 flying from DXB to JFK into CDG last year due to engine problems.

As others have pointed out, the jumbos are perfectly capable of flying safely on 3 engines. It's been done in the A380 several times and by other airlines as well. The question of losing another engine is certainly there, but most of the North Atlantic tracks are covered by ETOPS 120, so as long as the weather is suitable at the diversion airports, you're not too far from a suitable runway. Just how long does it take to dump that much fuel anyway and prepare the aircraft for a safe landing?

I think Emirate's history with the A380 shows that when the situation warrants, they'll take on the costs of a diversion over taking risks with their passenger's lives.

On water in the fuel: I couldn't find anything specific to the A380, but the A340s/A330s have pumps that circulate water that collects at sumps back into the fuel, so that it's burned up. That only works up to certain concentration of water, but the 777 has a water detection system. Surely the A380 being a newer plane must have a system like that as well.
The A380 has the same type of circulation system as the A340. The limiter on how much water it can handle are the engines, at some point there would just not be enough fuel to run the engines. The 777 has to have a seperate water detection system as the ultrasonic system in the 777 can not tell the differance between water and fuel. The A380 system easily detects water.
On the subject of water in the fuel. The A380, like most commercial aircraft, is equipped with a capacitive fuel gauging system. Because of the differance in dielectric between water and fuel, if there is one thing capacitive fuel gauging systems detect better than fuel, it's water. If they had contaminated fuel they would have had plenty of warning something was wrong. All four engines are fed fuel from collector cells, which are also gauged, water in there would have been easily detected. So there's not much chance of a surprise. All the, "bells and whistles" would have been going off long before they had ever pushed back from the gate.
Most people reading here assume the pilots/ airline had a Loy kore info available to them, than we have at out disposal in this discussion. But without getting some more specific disclosure about the incident, it's difficult for many to have the reassurance that they made the right call in this instance.

They were about to start out across the ocean when one of their engines failed. I hope they had sufficient information about the specific cause of the engine failure. but they never did divert to inspect the engine and determine a cause. And we have no way of knowing that their diagnostic equipment had definitively identified the cause of the engie failure. It's understandable that people discussing the incident would question the decision to cross the Atlantic.
* assume [they] had a LOT MORE info available...
dodger4 1
Interesting and educational. Thank you for the good post.
One hour out of JFK....why not proceed/turn back to Logan? I am more familiar with the 747 family than this aircraft; but why take a chance when there are so many possibilities.

Pilots need to remember one thing when talking to maintenance on the ground, The PIC has the final authority, the maintenance person is going to go home regardless of the outcome of the flight and if something goes wrong the crew will be at fault for continuing the flight
Bad PIC decision, he could have diverted to any number of airports to have it checked out. Would give me cause for concern if I had to fly Emirates?
Maybe the ATP guys can tell the rest of us what the impact in decision making of losing an engine and then losing a second on the same side. Gander and St John's were within half hour whereas Iceland was another 1200 miles.
I wasn't in the seat, but at face value, I would have went back or diverted, whichever closer. As Phil said, it needs 4 and as you say, you could lose the other one on that side. Too many ifs.
I ain't no pilot but logic tell me that if the plane was designed with four engines then all four should be working on along trip, especially having people on board. If it had crashed and the pilot survived, then he would be in big trouble.
Thats why they have four Pan Am used to strap one out board to ferry it to another airport
Well now, it may be that there were no 380 engines available in Canada, and I'm sure the Captain called the "boss" for recommendations. I am certainly not going to armchair quarterback.
With multiple A380 routes terminating a KJFK, there is a strong possibility that an engine is available at KJFK, or positioned to quickly get to KJFK. But that would've meant keeping an A380 planeload of passengers in New York overnight while repairs are made. That would mean the passengers would be late getting into Dubai, and Emirates would have the trouble to find and pay for suitable accommodations for all their passengers.

The decision was entirely a logistical and financial decision, not one with safety in mind.
Comment from experience here. I am not a pilot, but I was a pax on an AF flight JFK-CDG years ago on a B747 that lost an engine in flight. First we pax heard about it was when the flight deck announced we would be late into CDG due to "an engine problem." No information that they had shut down one of them and we were on 3. I pretty much figured that out on my own. Still, NO BIG DEAL then or now.
Don't remember if it was a BA or UA flight "years ago", ORD to LHR on a 747, and ditto - a couple of hours out of ORD pilot announced "engine problem" and delayed arrival, with apologies. Same thing - engine out. Never gave it another thought.

On the other hand, on a TW DC-9 STL to "I don't remember where" we had an engine failure on climb out. HEARD that one happen, with a resounding "POP". My wife was in a panic, but I was calm until I saw the full brigade out to greet our landing....
Can anyone explain why the crippled a/c had to fly at a reduced rate of speed and at a lower altitude?
Not sure but I imagine the loss of that engine. When you lose one on a twin, you have that. The 380, like the 747, is certified for 3 but not at full altitude/speed.
Why not transfer fuel from one of the good tanks to restart the flameout. I am sure this must be possible in a civil aircraft, the military plans are able to transfer fuel to other engines. Just wondering.
A DC-10, MD-11, and L-1011 sound like they should be here these days. Wish Boeing or airbus would design a trijet again
As a pax, the L-10 was probably the best aircraft I ever caught a ride in. Very comfortable. Miss it, and TW too.

[This poster has been suspended.]

As with most of your posts, you never get your facts right, but who cares, it's the great phil rudd, gods gift to aviation making a staement, even if it is incorrect. BA diverted to MAN not LGW and this was due to SOP not low fuel. The aircraft had more than enough fuel andthis is why the FAA dropped the complaint. Both the B747 & the A380 are certified to fly and continue to fly on 3 engines, depending on other MEL items.
Well said John Beech always helps to get the FACTS correct.
I think the certification to continue flying on less engines would be for remote locations. Prudence should dictate a stop at an airport that is capable of accommodating that aircraft, Toronto maybe...
I'm always reminded of "fate is the hunter" when people continue on in a crippled bird.
rdzr1 0
Why risk it. Over land for a couple of hours with lots of options, fine. Over the North Atlantic, some of the most unforgiving airspace in the world, I don't think so. The reason they have 4 engines on a 380 is because they need 4 engines. Had to be a long, uncomfortable flight for the crew.
Well, the Lockheed Constellation didn't get its reputation as the best three engined airliner for nothing!
They frequently turned up at their destinations with one engine out after having crossed the Atlantic
pjbonner 0
L1011's and DC10'S flew long distances quite happily on 3 engines.
They were about half the weight of an A380!!!
This had nothing to do with safety. It had to do with cost. They took a risk and continued on. As it happens they and 3 or 400 passengers lucked out.
jwmson -4
Another reason I will only fly US/UK/Aussie flagged carriers. It's one thing to continue when you are overland and going to your hub, but over the Atlantic????? Stupid!
Mike Jones -1
It is not about whether the aircraft can do it, it is about what happens if another engine fails. It cost more fuel to fly at lower altitude so they are already into reserve fuel. If another engine fails they would have to fly again lower and again slower using significantly more fuel. The you will run out of fuel. They don't just fill up at the gas station. If you carry extra fuel it costs you more rule to carry the weight so they fly with enough fuel for destination , alternate and a bit for holding for 30 mins and a little bit extra.
What they did was risk the lives of everyone to get to their own maintenance base. They do not want people to know about the engine problems that are associated with the A380
Mike, please give us the figures everyone should know:
- at what altitude would aA380 cruise on two engines?
- what is this acrft's VMCA on two eng? (Same side;)
- what would be the fuel remaining on "the other side" (Europe) after oceanic crossing on 2 eng? ...
Cos what you wrote is really not specific... Very vague to me. And here figures would give another sight on the event..
Just remind this aircraft was not bounded to UK but to the middle East.
They never got to 2 and there are no specifics as to altitude, other than they must have lowered on 3, as they elected Kuwait instead of going on to Dubai, on account of low fuel. They did it and it worked. As I said earlier, Mr. Murphy did not make an appearance and it was the right call. It could have been ugly; we weren't there but to me it would have been prudent to turn around as they were only an hour out. Just Sayin'.
I understood your point Preacher1. And I agree with you about prudency.
My questions [and the figures that could be given if anyone had an A380 FCOM] are just to show that there is no "Horor" or "stupid" pilots (so far as we know) in this event, as written in a few comments above.

There will surely be an official report on this?
Well, as with BA268, they were probably OK rule wise. As the Captain has final say, if he got the blessing of the company, he was flying the plane, and it worked out OK. Maybe I am too cautious but if everything ain't working, I don't like to fly it. Neighbor of mine had a car with a bad battery and he went around for 6mos, carrying jumper cables and begging jumps everywhere he went. Finally one day, it died at an inconvenient place resulting in heavy expense. He got a new battery. All that to say this, if it won't start from the seat, I won't drive it any further than to get it to a shop. I feel the same way about a plane.
Suppose that engine quit because of a maintanence error. Suppose the technicians made the same error on all 4. "Fate is the hunter".
You can't judge thise pilots on "supositions". There arr facts that were evaluated by these pilots. They're not playing and "if" they went to a "what if?" process -and i'm confident enough to assume they did- and they gave reasonned answers that led to this decision, your suppositions won't rule it.
You can think but don't let suppositions head your mind and your anguish procecute those professionels.
Aircraft design and flying are all about suppositions. It was designed to be flown on 4. It was their decision to continue on 3. I'm ok with that (I wasn't on the plane). But to me that is a $ thing not a safety thing.
Yep Wallace.
I'm ok with design supported by suppositions.
But not for judgment or procecution.
Our judgements, suppositions, and speculations here mean nothing. But it is what we do on this website. Otherwise it would get pretty boring. Flightaware encourages opinions from everyone not just facts. The NTSB website handles the facts end of it.
Human people are able to think, comment, understand or educate without judging.

And they can do this without fantasying and re-writting stories and incidents. Or worse.

I do learn and go forward reading those comments. Web-site or not, It helps me build my mind.

But I don't have to judge fellow pilots for that !
This website judged and convicted Asiana pilots on day one.
Standard procedure, right or wrong, is to return or divert to closest field. Certifications are there but they are not meant for continued flying. Not to say they can't but normally not.
Sorry preacher despite all the good I think about what you wrote: This is wrong!

The SOPs you're talking about do not ask to "DIVERT" and do not ask for "the CLOSEST field", for ENG FAIL.

As a specific exemple, the only B747-400 Non-Normal-C/L of the ENGINE section that requires to "Plan to land on the nearest SUITABLE airport" is the
"FIRE ENG or Engine Severe Damage or Separation".

And it requires to do so in the 3 following cases:
-Engine severe damage
-Engine Fire that does not estinguish
-Separation... (Engine missing! + 1 hydraulic lost + 1 air bleed lost + 1 gen Elec lost + fuel leak + Fuel Imbalance + modified longitudinal stability of the aircraft... )

This statement is obvious and the situation described is so much more HORRIFYING than this Emirates A380 engine's flame that simply extinguished because fuel was not supplied anymore.

And you're right. Certifications are made to have a manufacturer prove his flying-object is safe enough to be flown and managed in nominal situations, or after major faults or failures occured. Nothing more.
Did you ever read the book?
To whom are you asking this?
You. Was just wondering if you had read Gann's book.
No sorry. Never heard of it.
I'll check it!

But if this is another psychotic -Mastered and Doctored- expert in aeronautics, that our aeronautical society is full of, writing best sellers -money making crap- ...I won't give it a second of my life ;)
It's a classic in the aviation world. It's why I used the fate is the hunter phrase. He once took off in a DC6 (?) headed across the pond. Lost an engine a ways out. Turned back. Lost another, then another. Just barely made the runway on one. Mx had tried some new spark plugs in 3 of the engines.
This is the reason that a flight crew might think twice about starting across the pond with an unknown issue that has resulted in AT LEAST one engine failure so far. I concede that most times an airliner loses one engine, it will make it across the ocean with 3 engines. But why even do it, if you're only 1 hour out? (You're over land or close enough that you can land in minutes.) why not pick a maintenance facility/major hub to land at on the continent that you just departed? At most that's an hour away (departure airport) with other less desirable landing spots in between, if the situation evolves into an emergency if more engine(s) fail after the first one.

Over the decades, commercial aviation has gotten continuously safer. That has been achieved by putting safety ahead of other considerations, like convenience.

The large number of passengers on thus flight that would have to be rescheduled and/or accommodatedprobably factored into the decision to not turn back. Another drawback against super-sized airliners. (Heavy seems sufficiently big enough for the vast majority of situations.)
Why not transfer fuel from one of the good tanks to restart the flame out. Military planes could and did do this.
If there is water in one tank and you transfer fuel from another tank, the water is still there. The transferred fuel don't go directly into the engine
Fuel did transfer directly to the engine in the KC 135 (707), not to the tank with water in it.
I'm sure you know. I know fuel transfer can also be for weight and balance. In most cases though I bet if there's water in one tank of fuel there is a good chance it's in others.
I don't know if a report will be forthcoming or not. Canadian transport board reported it; it had taken off from JFK and not a peep out of the FAA and nothing from CAA/ICAO. Report does say 2 fuel pumps were replaced and signed off so apparently no big deal.
Your point is correct in the fact that flying lower/slower will burn more fuel, however they were heading the for the Gulf, so when they were planning on being overhead land in UK/Europe they would have had 45% of their departure fuel, loss of another engine, very unlikely, and loss of a second engine mid-Atlantic is not a big deal, fuel wise. Because of the fuel onboard they would have had adequate fuel to continue to UK/Shannon in Ireland or turn back, because when you do lose the second engine you are then required to land at the nearest suitable airport. There is nothing unsafe about the decision, I am retired cockpit crew and have a lot of friends with Emirates.


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