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Airbus Engine Problem and Pakistan airlines diversion

Fear of flying

May 24th 2013

I am trying to gather information on the incident involving a British Airways Airbus 319 which returned to Heathrow shortly after taking off.

Most of the ‘information’ is from eye witnesses who saw the plane after it took off. What is of interest to me right now is that the cowling around the left engine appears to be damaged, when the right engine is the one that had a problem.

I shall update this post as I get more information.


At the moment I would suggest that you ignore reports such as “in and out of the clouds”  “sudden change of engine noise”  “Struggling to stay airborne”

The procedure used by the crew would be to ensure that the wheels were up before doing anything else and then reduce the power to ‘idle’  turn off the fuel, operate the fire extinguisher , start the stopwatch and if the fire hadn’t gone out after 30 seconds  operate the second extinguisher. Then land at the nearest suitable airfield.

There’s never a rush to do things, everything is done in the way laid down in the Standard Operating procedures Manual.

The plane landed safely.


May 24th 12:53 

What on earth are passengers  thinking of if they are filming the landing when the plane is making an ‘immediate landing’. The crew spend days and days every year rehearsing and being checked for their proficiency and knowledge  so that someone can ignore everything they’re told and try to get a hit on youtube.

The crew tell you to leave all your personal stuff on board … the reason being that if you drop something as you evacuate the plane, then someone may trip over it and then they’ll end up on the floor and people can’t get out.  THAT’S WHY PEOPLE PERISH IN PERFECTLY SURVIVABLE ACCIDENTS.

You MUST do what the crew tells you to do. After all you expect the crew to look after you, so you have to play your part and take responsibility for you own welfare  and just as importantly the welfare of your fellow passengers. If , after more than 50 years in flying I can bother to listen to and obey the crew’s instructions then  I expect others to do the same.

What would passengers think if the crew started filming?

Captain Keith


May 24th 13:32

Voiceover  comment from a Sky newsreader during the video of the landing  ” Bumpy landing” . What does that mean ? What does it add? How does he know?  Just brainless mindless uninformed rot.

Designed to make an event into something more than it was.


Sky’s Richard Suchet added: “Shortly after it was airborne, somebody in air traffic control spotted a fault with one of the engines and alerted the pilot. The pilot then turned round and came back to the airport.”

The reality behind this statement is that the pilot would have made the decision to land. ATC have no authority to advise a pilot on what he /she must do. Air Traffic Control officers have more important things to do than offer such information. Their role is to ensure that communications are maintained and that the pilot is given as much assistance as required and to alert and co-ordinate all the emergency services. It’s pure fiction to believe they tell the pilot what to do or to ‘talk’ the plane down. It demeans the status and responsibilities of ATC to  link them to Hollywood roles.

Does anyone really believe that the pilot didn’t know what was going on with his engine before ATC told him? What on earth is all the instrumentation for if it isn’t capable of showing an engine mal function. What happens when a plane is cruising miles from an airport?  Do ATC watch through binoculars to advise pilots of engine problems.

May 24th 17:07

PIA Diversion: although the words ‘terrorist threat’ are being used, this does not mean that the passengers involved were actually terrorists. This is standard procedure when there is any threat to the crew on board an aircraft. It seems that two passengers, for whatever reason, wanted access to the cockpit . When this was denied they argued with the crew. That constitutes a threat to the safety of the plane and all threats are treated with the same level of  response. The aircraft diverted to the airport which is designated as the destination for any aircraft in this situation. There are reasons for nominating a particular airfield and parking location which I am not going to advertise.


May 24th 19:34

BBC, Channel 4 and ITV have reported these incidents all have used language like ‘terrifying for the passengers’,’ escaped from’ , ‘luckily’, ‘engine on fire’.


Crews are trained in every aspect of flight safety

Procedures, checks, training, organisation, discilpline.

There is a considerable difference between an engine being on fire i.e. still on fire, and  having suffered an engine fire which has been extinguished. Notwithstanding the fact that  this case may be unusual from other engine fires, an engine fire will always go out when the engine fire check list is executed.  The extinguishant in the engine fire protection system is very effective. It is most unlikely that this plane ( Airbus) landed with the engine still on fire. Evidence may show otherwise, but it is extremely unlikely.

After take off the plane’s crew will have dealt with the fire and then have gone on to deal with any other related failures  such as degraded electrical and hydraulic  supplies. These are restored using back up systems so the plane will not land immediately and neither should the plane be returned to the ground as soon as possible. In the past aircraft have been lost because the crew have rushed thru’; their checklists suggestion that it took half an hour of ‘dangerous ‘flying time in the belief that it would be safer to be on the ground. We now know that it is better to do things in a timely and organised way than rush and get things wrong. So the  the  suggestion of flying around in a ‘burning aircraft’ aircraft  for half an hour is misleading and ill informed.

You may think that I am being unnecessarily pedantic, but I want you to understand the truth and be aware that sloppy language conveys a very different story from one reported factually.






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