As I write, the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch has still not told us what happened to the British Airways A319 at Heathrow last Friday (24 May).
Just how serious was the BA A319 incident?
By David Learmount on 30 May, 2013 in Uncategorised
But it has informed us, rather vaguely through a non-expert spokesperson, that information released by the US National Transportation Safety Board about the event is inaccurate or misleading.
So what did the NTSB say? It said this: “AnAirbus A319-131, registration number G-EUOE, during departure fromLondon-Heathrow airport, had the engine cowls from bothInternational Aero Engines V2500 engines separate and fall on to the runway.The pilots reported that they shut down one engine, there was a fuel leak, andthat they were returning. The pilots subsequently reported that one engine wasshut down and the other engine was on fire. The airplane landed, was shut down,and the passengers were evacuated via the emergency slides.”
Both engine cowls did indeed detach, at least partly. The starboard engine was definitely trailing light smoke. We believe one engine was indeed shut down, but which one? It sounds logical that it was the one trailing smoke, but pilots will keep a smoking engine going if it is the only one providing power at the time.
And how did the pilots know there was a fuel leak? There’s no immediate flight deck indication for a fuel leak, so the logic is that they shut an engine down and noticed the fuel flow to the dead engine still continued.
It seems – although since there is no official AAIB statement it is difficult to be certain – that the NTSB statement they reject is that the pilots reported that one engine was shut down and the other on fire.
Whatever happened, the pilots had some serious work to do, and they clearly did it well. They got the passengers safely back to Heathrow within minutes of taking off from there, and ordered an emergency evacuation.
We believe the AAIB may issue an interim statement in the next 24h, but even that is not official.
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