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Posts Tagged ‘Boeing 737’

Volatility of fuel prices is still an issue with the crude oil taking the highs of around $150 per barrel to the current lows of $42 per barrel. The scare of very expensive oil has caused airlines about alternative fuel and hopefully with current lows, the effort will not fade.

On January 7th 2009, Continental Airlines will test the use of a biofuel blend (derived from Algae and jatropha plants) on a Boeing 737-800 with nobody on board except for the test pilots. The test pilots “plan to run one engine on the biofuel blend and take it through power
accelerations and slowdowns, in-flight engine shutdown and restart and
other maneuvers. The airline said it expected a post-flight analysis
would show that the lower-emission biofuel plan can substitute for
regular fuel without loss of performance or safety.

The test is in partnership with airplane manufacturer Boeing, airplance engine
maker GE, Snecma, Honeywell technology and oil producers Sapphire
Energy and Terrasol.

From MSNBC

An average Continental flight burns 18 gallons of fuel to fly one passenger 1,000 miles.
Alternative fuels for aircraft have been studied for years, but the
push got new urgency this year when jet-fuel prices hit record highs in
July. Fuel is one of the largest expenses for an airline.
Some fuels such as hydrogen lack the acceleration of traditional
kerosene-based jet fuel and would require planes be outfitted with
massive fuel tanks.
Airlines in South Africa use a coal-based fuel blend developed by
petrochemicals group Sasol that doesn’t require altering aircraft
engines or other parts. Air New Zealand is testing jatropha fuel in a
747 jetliner.

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has “toughened a requirement that Boeing 737 pilots be reminded not to
ignore a cabin pressure warning horn, ordering pre-flight briefings as
well as changes in manuals.
” The reasoning for this new “airworthiness directive” is due to the Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 crash on August 14th 2005 that resulted in 121 deaths.

The directive affects all Boeing 737 models!

Read the Directive here at FAA.gov wesbsite.

Summary

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Boeing Model
737 airplanes. This AD requires revising the airplane flight manual to
include a new flightcrew briefing that must be done before the first
flight of the day and following any change in flightcrew members, and
to advise the flightcrew of this additional briefing. This AD results
from continuing reports that flightcrews have failed to recognize and
react properly to the cabin altitude warning horn. We are issuing this
AD to prevent failure of the flightcrew to recognize and react properly
to a valid cabin altitude warning horn, which could result in
incapacitation of the flightcrew due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen in
body) and consequent loss of airplane control.

Justification

We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the flightcrew to
recognize and react to a valid cabin altitude warning horn, which could
result in incapacitation of the flightcrew due to hypoxia (lack of
oxygen in body) and consequent loss of airplane control. This action
follows related rulemaking action we took in response to a report
resulting from the investigation by the Air Accident Investigation and
Aviation Safety Board of Greece into the August 14, 2005, Helios
Airways accident near Athens, Greece. This action affects the entire
fleet of Boeing Model 737 airplanes (nearly 5,000 airplanes worldwide);
these airplanes have a very high utilization rate. Because of our
requirement to promote safe flight of civil aircraft and thus the
critical need to assure that the flightcrew recognizes and reacts
properly to a valid cabin altitude warning horn and the compliance time
involved with this action, this AD must be issued immediately.

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A Ryanair flight FR4102 (Boeing 737) originating from Frankfurt, Germany with 166 passengers on board (and 6 crew)  suffered from multiple bird strikes (both engines ingested multiple European starlings) causing an emergency landing at Rome’s Ciampino Airport. The airport was closed till late Monday afternoon since the aircraft removal was hampered due to “substantial damage” to the landing gear.

Thanks to the great pilots, the injuries were minimal!
Three passengers and two crew members were taken to hospital with minor injuries, Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said. (from here)

The culprit (from here)

European starlings weigh only about 80 grammes (three ounces), but they
travel in flocks of up to 10,000 “and act as a single thing,” said
Montemaggiori, who was at the airport assisting the investigation.
The birds were responsible for the most fatalities of any plane
accident caused by birdstrike, that of a Lockheed Electro turbo-prop in
Boston Harbour in March 1960, when 62 people died.
Italian airports report nearly 600 birdstrike incidents a year, the
ANSA news agency reported. In the United States, the overall figure is
some 36,000, according to the Bird Strike Committee USA.

Passenger Accounts (from here)

“We hit the runway hard and we were really scared but the pilot was
great he saved our lives,” said Italian passenger Gaetano De Caro.
“If it had been someone else, perhaps we would all be dead because we
were getting closer to the perimeter wall (of the airport).”
“I saw flames coming out of one engine as we were landing, and we were
told later that a flock of birds was probably to blame,” said a
passenger, Guglielmo Albertini.
“There was a smell of burning, and there was a little bit of panic
among the passengers,” another passenger said. “When we got out we saw
traces of blood on the wings.”

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Perfect wedding for aviation enthusiasts: Getting married in their favorite airplane while the plane is cruising at 30000+ feet.

Two Edmonton-area pilots did the same for their wedding. They met while working for Servisair (ramp handling company at Edmonton international Airport). Michael Griffith and Martha Bull married each other aboard a Boeing 737 (while cruising 32,000 feet above the city).

From Edmonton Sun

About 70 guests took their seats in the aircraft as it circled around Edmonton for an hour during the ceremony.

The aviation theme continued at the reception, with an airplane-topped cake and little chocolate planes on the tables.

For Video -> Go here

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Recently Qantas was in news for it’s airplanes being in problems (here and here) esp. the hole in fuselage of a Boeing 747-400.

Qantas Airways faced another embarrassment on concerns of airworthiness of its Boeing 737-400s as according to a US FAA directive “to
carry out maintenance around the planes’ pressure bulkhead because of
concerns they could crack
” . As a result the airlines grounded 6 of the Boeing 737s resulting in 2 canceled flights.

From The Australian

Qantas executive general manager of engineering David Cox said the airline was verifying that the work had been done correctly.

“We have a process that we run continually that just goes back and
trawls through work that’s been done and does another check to make
sure everything’s been done exactly as it should be,” he said. “The
guys have found an irregularity. Whenever we get that situation, we
have to make sure we have 100per cent (done the work), and if it
affects an in-service aircraft we withdraw that aircraft from service
until we’re sure.”

Mr Cox said the airline decided to withdraw the six aircraft from
service and would return them to flying only when it was 100per cent
sure of what it was dealing with. Qantas had advised CASA of the issue.

Mr Cox said the airline detected a record-keeping anomaly on average once a year.

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Another Qantas jet (Boeing 737-800) had to make an emergency landing. The plane made an emergency landing at Adelaide Airport (37 minutes after taking off from the airport) after a door opened during flight to Melbourne. The airline did announce that “the door covering the wheel bay was not closed properly during take-off“.

This is the second incidence of emergency landing from Qantas Airways in the last 7 days and is bound to cause attention on safety for the airlines.

A Passenger’s account from The Guardian

“The latter version of events was supported by a passenger, Rocco
Russo, who said that he heard a rattling noise about 10 minutes after
take-off and the pilot announced that there was a problem with a door
closing above the plane’s wheel.
“He then continued to fly and
said that he was going to contact the engineers and then a few minutes
after that came back on and said the engineers had gotten back to him
and the advice was to return to Adelaide,” Russo told ABC News.”

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