BA Boeing 777 crash landing - first reports concentrate on sudden power loss 2 miles out at 600 feet
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) published a statement on its website regarding the crash-landing of a British Airways flight at Heathrow.
The flight crew were interviewed on the evening of the event by an AAIB Operations Inspector and the Flight Data Recorder (FDR), Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Quick Access Recorder (QAR) were removed for replay.The investigation has everything it could possible require to resolve the causes of the crash landing and the initial overview focuses on the loss of engine power .
The CVR and FDR have been successfully downloaded at the AAIB laboratories at Farnborough and both records cover the critical final stages of the flight.
The QAR was downloaded with the assistance of British Airways and the equipment manufacturer. All of the downloaded information is now the subject of detailed analysis.
Initial indications from the interviews and flight recorder analyses show the flight and approach to have progressed normally until the aircraft was established on late finals for Runway 27L.
At approximately 600ft and two miles from touch down, the autothrottle demanded an increase in thrust from the two engines, but the engines did not respond.Following further demands for increased thrust from the autothrottle, and subsequently the flight crew moving the throttle levers (Senior First Officer John Coward), the engines similarly failed to respond. The aircraft speed reduced and the aircraft descended onto the grass, short of the paved runway surface.
The investigation is now focussed on more detailed analysis of the flight recorder information, collecting further recorded information from various system modules and examining the range of aircraft systems that could influence engine operation.
Presumably an air strike that caused such a rapid and total power loss would have left plenty of easily discovered evidence. Wind shear, whilst it might affect handling would not lead to power loss. Evidently the failure of the avionics to respond both to autothrottle and manual control will be at the centre of investigations but "aircraft systems that could influence engine operation" does include fuel supplies and systems.
This AP pic gives some idea of the size of the 777 - gliding that mutha down successfully over 2 miles without power is a remarkable acheivement that's some 40 hectic seconds at a typical approach speed of 150 mph.
It also demonstrates the massive structural integrity of modern metal airframes in crash conditions.
BA have 43 Boeing 777 planes in its fleet. There are no plans to ground any.
Boeing Fly By Wire systems under the microscope
Concern over the avionics on the only Fly By Wire Boeing jet passenger aircraft comes at a bad time for Boeing after the recent FAA type certification Special Conditions notice on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner electronic systems.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008 Boeing 787 Dreamliner - In Flight Entertainment mustn't include hi-jacking the Systems and Data Networks says FAA in Special Conditions Notice
Boeing shares have slipped 65 cents - 0.82% 1.00 pm EST
UPDATE : Flight have pics with captions and some comment on other elements of the landing...." many (passengers) did not realise they had "crashed" until the cabin crew ordered the evacuation"