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Author Topic: UAL 497 MSY-SFO emergency landing at MSY  (Read 17942 times)
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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2011, 10:13:28 PM »

Latest information from local newspaper and conversation with a United/Continental mechanic supervisor was that there was no actual fire, only an "avionics smoke warning message". The flight crew began a shutdown of all non-essential equipment per emergency procedures. Also the on-board computers on the A320 automatically shut down some avionics and control functions which resulted in loss of control and blown tires on landing(no antiskid braking).
   My source at KMSY says he does not like Airbus Fly By Wire because of just this scenario.  In an emergency, or indication of an emergency, the computer(s) shut down systems without pilot input and the pilot has no instant override.
   This was not as serious as it sounded, but was still no piece of cake, with systems shut down, IFR to marginal VFR, overweight landing, short runway and loss of steering control. Also runway 19 ends just short of a major US highway(61) which was loaded with traffic at that hour. A runway overrun would have been a major disaster.

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Nothing Like A 747!

« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2011, 08:01:20 PM »

"On Apr 7th the NTSB said the crew recalled receiving an auto-throttle related ECAM message while climbing through 4000 feet shortly followed by an avionics smoke warning with the instruction to land. Despite this message neither crew recalled smelling smoke or fumes during the flight. The captain worked the electronic checklist for the avionics smoke warning, which included shutting down some of the electrical systems. The first officer's display screens went blank, the ECAM messages disappeared, the cockpit to cabin intercom stopped functioning and the air driven generator (RAT) deployed. The captain took control of the aircraft and managed the radios while the first officer opened the cockpit door to advise flight attendants. The crew requested runway 10 but was advised runway 10 was unavailable due to construction vehicles on the runway. The captain was able to use airspeed, altimeter and attitude information during the return to the airport and ordered an evacuation after landing. Cabin crew did not smell smoke or fumes nor did they observe haze, but noticed the cabin lights were turned off and the intercom ceased functioning. Cockpit Voice and Flight Data recorders were downloaded, they both stopped recording prior to landing."

From the updated AvHerald article:


Aircraft Mechanic
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2011, 01:52:22 PM »

The reason they blew two tires with (partially) electronics turned off is because the brakes produces (very) low breaking action and the spoilers where only two elements per wing.

In this scenario this is a collateral positive way to help slowing down with near to no breaks.

I think the reason for this (very) hard landing lies in the fact the checklist says they have to switch some systems off, which includes the secondary system (yaw damper function for sidestick) that remains active until MDA (minimum descent altitude) and DH (decision height) below these minimus the sec is inop when electronics are switched off resulting in a sort of loss of controll together with only 1 stage of flaps resulting in blown tires. (This airplane does not want to stop by itself)

What I would do in a real emergency with total loss of instruments is at final turn the #2 generator back on, check speed, turn it back off and at very short final turn it back on again. The heck with the wires (if they burn though) and then land...

« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 07:40:33 PM by alltheway » Logged
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