Engine problems force Qantas plane to turn back to Bangkok

Discussion in 'Qantas Airways | Frequent Flyer' started by Chimpy, May 19, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Chimpy
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    Chimpy Gold Member

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    From the Australian

    A QANTAS jet heading out of Bangkok was forced to turn around following take-off last night after the pilot discovered problems with the engine.

    A Qantas spokesman confirmed this morning there had been "an issue with the engine" overnight.

    The Boeing 747 QF1 flight was heading to London from Bangkok when the pilot discovered a mechanical problem and turned the jet around.

    The pilot managed to land the plane, which was carrying 308 passengers, safely about 2.30pm local time.

    "Shortly after take-off there was an increase in vibration and high temperatures from one of the four engines, so the pilots shut down this engine and as a precaution returned to Bangkok," the spokesman said.
    From the Australian
    "The aircraft can safely fly on three engines and it had a normal landing in Bangkok not long afterwards.

    "We believe the cause is similar to events that other airlines are experiencing and is subject to an increased monitoring program from the manufacturer Rolls Royce."

    More here.

    They do not seem to be having much luck:(
     
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  2. Concerto
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    Concerto Gold Member

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    Yikes, it seems that Quantas is kind of jinxed by those RR engines... :eek:
     
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  3. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    It must be the engineers!:eek:
     
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  4. drewbles
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    drewbles Gold Member

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    Heaven forbid any other airline have an issue... oh wait, they wouldn't bother reporting an every day incident with another non-Qantas related airline.

    I'm so sick of the media bashing specific companies (not just QF in general).
     
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  5. Mangy
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    Mangy Gold Member

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    I am not sure if this is aimed at the original poster, but from what I have seen, Chimpy posts regularly on any Australian aviation news (good or bad) - not just Qantas, and not company specific.

    If Qantas is the one in the news for mishaps, then so be it. Don't shoot the messenger:)
     
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  6. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    I don't think Chimpy was the target of drewbles' complaint. Rather, it looked to me like it was about a current media reporting bias. It must have been a slow news day for the Australian. This is such a non-story.
     
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  7. Mangy
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    Mangy Gold Member

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    Thanks for clearing that up:)

    That story did make news around the world though, as do most of these mishaps:(
     
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  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The cause was, according to Aviation Daily, inadequate torque settings on an oil line that is routinely removed for borescope inspections. There have been several other such events, and there is an investigation under way to find out why RR is having this spate of inadequate torquing of the oil line after borescope inspections. Luckily, this one seems very easy to correct. If the info I read is correct all the problems happened on RR maintained engines, so the fix should be quite fast.
     
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  9. Freddie Listo
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    Freddie Listo Gold Member

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    Hello Loungers! How's they day going or gone for everyone?
     
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  10. drewbles
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    drewbles Gold Member

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    Oh not aimed at the OP, aimed squarely at the stupidity and bias of the media:)
     
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  11. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I will not argue media stupidity, there is too much evidence for that. OTOH, it is newsworthy that there are problems with any commercial aircraft. We may dislike that but it is true. RR has had quite a few serious issues lately, and company mechanics failing to properly torque oil fittings on numbers Trents, not just this one, seems plenty newsworthy to me. That none of these have resulted in loss of life or even damage to property, apart from the airplane, is evidence that flying has become very safe. That still does not detract from the newsworthiness of the incidents IMO.
     
  12. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    Events like these are ordinary everyday life in the airline industry. Why are these RR issues particularly serious or newsworthy? Is it only because some others happen, almost by chance, to have been reported by the media?

    This sort of "newsworthiness" is nothing more than a self-fulling prophecy. An event gets reported for some random reason, when other similar events don't. It gets headlines just out of sheer luck. But then the next event that's like the reported event is also reported (when it would otherwise have been ignored, as usual) simply because "it's happened again". And then it snowballs. And then the public is duped into thinking that there are "quite a few serious issues", simply because the self-interested approach of the press has resulted in a series of stories whose existence is actually pretty unnoteworthy.
     
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  13. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I cannot argue with the media part, but i don't think the statement above is terribly accurate. So:
    From Airbus Flight Operations Briefing Notes:
    • In the 1960s, in average each engine failed once a year
    • Today, in average, each engine fails every 30 years.
    This improvement in the rate of IFSD has allowed the introduction of ETOPS (Extended
    Twin Operations) in 1985. Among other criteria, to be approved for ETOPS 180,
    the rate of IFSD must be less than 2 per 100 000 engine flight hours.
    This also means that pilots that start their career today will probably never experience
    an IFSD due to an engine malfunction.
    However, despite the significant improvement in engine reliability, the number of
    accidents (per aircraft departure) due to an incorrect crew response following an engine
    malfunction has remained constant for many years. This prompted a study with
    all major industry actors involved (aircraft and engine manufacturers, authorities...
    http://www.airbus.com/fileadmin/med.../AirbusSafetyLib_-FLT_OPS-SUPP_TECH-SEQ07.pdf

    What that except means is that the event of engine shutdown is now so rare that pilots must be constantly trained to face a situation that almost none of them will ever see. The second paragraph points that out, and shows how much effort the industry places on these very, very rare events that could have catastrophic consequences.

    I have flown aircraft myself when an engine failed. the most recent one was in 1986, and that was an aircraft engine the design of which was from the 1960's. Even as an active pilot I personally knwo no pilot who has had an engine failure in a modern commercial aircraft. From my perspective all that makes modern commercial engine problems newsworthy.

    We do not read of typical auto accidents precisely because they are daily events with predictable patterns. When an aircraft malfunctions it is unusual and dramatic. That too makes the event newsworthy.

    I find it odd that I am arguing for newsworthiness on this subject. I constantly criticize incorrect news reports on aviation matters. I still will. However, I do think the publicity helps keep a keen focus on the part of the industry to minimize mishaps. Very rare is not really good enough when one accident can kill hundreds of people. We also want zero.

    of course, heart attacks, sedentary lifestyles, poor diet and smoking kill many, many more people. True enough, but that is one by one, not hundreds in a single event.
     
  14. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    True, any individual pilot may now be unlucky to encounter an IFSD personally.

    But that has very little to do with the question of actual newsworthiness of any particular event.

    To take an example, I have just been back through this month's occurrences (so far) of IFSDs listed on avherald.com (insofar as they were readily identifiable from the headline):-
    • Qantas B744 at Bangkok on May 20th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Eurolot AT72 at Wroclaw on May 19th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Jet2.com B733 near Leeds on May 18th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Eurolot AT72 near Warsaw on May 18th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • ADA JS32 near Monteria on May 17th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Cathay Pacific A333 near Singapore on May 16th 2011, engine shut down in flight, engine fire
    • Delta MD88 at Daytona Beach on May 15th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • American MD82 near Little Rock on May 15th 2011, engine fire indication
    • Eurolot AT42 at Rzeszow on May 12th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Yakutia AN26 at Yakutsk on May 12th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Horizon DH8D near Yakima on May 10th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Qantas B744 near Singapore on May 9th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Calm AT42 near Winnipeg on May 9th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • KLM B734 at Amsterdam on May 8th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Eagle B190 near Gisborne on May 8th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • ANZ B733 near Hamilton on May 8th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Air Canada E190 near Vancouver on May 6th 2011, uncommanded engine shut down in flight
    • Omni DC10 over Atlantic on May 6th 2011, engine fire indication
    • AirTran B712 near Greenville on May 4th 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • Qantas B712 at Perth on May 2nd 2011, engine shut down in flight
    • SAS MD82 near Stockholm on May 1st 2011, engine fire indication
    • US Airways B733 near Las Vegas on May 1st 2011, engine shut down in flight
    So for the industry, these are routine events, and there is nothing intrinsically newsworthy about them.
     
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  15. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I give up! I really don't want to argue about this because we, I hope, mostly agree but come from opposite words to get there.

    My final two cents: You quote avherald. For them these are 100% newsworthy. What is not is the general media grabbing these events (IFSD are reportable events in FAA terms, after all. Regardless these are absolutely NOT "routine events" which is why they are covered in "abnormal operations" or "emergency procedures" depending on the manual involved. That makes them newsworthy to the industry and the focus of major remedial efforts. The general news is a distinctly different issue.
     
  16. brinkers
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    brinkers Gold Member

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    While IFSD are reasonably common, aren't Qantas a little over represented in the statistics.
    Not just these, but RB211 blade failures over the last 18 months or so.....
     
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  17. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    I think we do agree, so I don't want to have an argument for the sake of it. I entirely agree that every event ought to be properly investigated so that aviation safety can continue to improve; and that within the industry, nothing should be swept under the carpet.

    But I think that avherald does a different job from the mainstream media, so an event in its list doesn't make it "newsworthy". avherald seeks to be a resource of record, a bit like ASN's database. So the inclusion of an event merely indicates that it happened, not that it's of any particular significance in itself.

    That's a contrast to the mainstream media, who have to select their stories. In an ideal world, anything they print ought to have been chosen because it's a significant story in itself. The selection of a "broken engine" story that doesn't satisfy that criterion, merely because it's sexy and panders to the "OMG we're going to die in an aircraft" crowd, breaches that principle. We know why they do it: they're more concerned with supplying the readership what it wants to read, not what's important.

    The subsequent selection of further non-stories merely because of their similarity to the first non-story just feeds on the same hysteria.

    So the fact that the mainstream media are reporting an apparent string of XXX incidents to YYY aircraft./engines really ought to be ignored for the self-perpetuating drivel that it is.
     
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  18. Globaliser
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    I don't know. Who's done a proper statistical analysis of these events to see whether either is over-represented, or to a degree that's statistically significant rather than an effect of normal randomness?
     
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  19. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I don't know either. One thing is certain; if a Qantas pilot had a bout of the flu we'll probably read about it. The press is on a serious vendetta against them. My personal suspicion, only that, not more, is that much of it dates from the outsourcing decision of RR engine maintenance to the manufacturer. That did not make the Qantas mechanics happy. This, one possible explanation for a vendetta.

    RR and various regulators have the IFSD data and the engine abnormality reports.
    It is good to keep in mind the Qantas accident record:
    http://www.planecrashinfo.com/rates.htm
    Airline accident ratings.png

    The news is that Qantas will not improve further on these numbers.:D Nobody gets better than zero. That is, without divinity playing a role.
     
  20. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I agree 100%
     
  21. brinkers
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    brinkers Gold Member

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    My comment about the incidence of Qantas IFSD was based on going through the Aviation Herald and it struck me that Qantas were there a lot. But that may also be that they are much more open in reporting things as well.

    Not everything makes the newspapers. Qantas has a missed approach at Perth on Friday due to hitting turbulence, and the ATSB indicates that two passengers were injured. Nothing in the papers as far as I have seen. Maybe it is not something that could be pinned on maintenance.
     
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