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Old 10-01-2003, 11:20 AM   #1
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These Things Do Happen

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AirTran Airways Jet Evacuated in Boston
10/1/03

BOSTON (AP) - An AirTran Airways plane was evacuated at Logan International Airport on Wednesday after an engine caught fire as the plane was taxiing to the runway.

About 31 people on board got out of the plane on emergency chutes, according to Phil Orlandella, spokesman for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan. AirTran Flight 771 was headed to Philadelphia.

One male passenger complaining of back pain was taken to a hospital, Orlandella said.

AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said mechanics believe that residual fuel ignited when the engine started, an occurence he said was "not uncommon."

The passengers are being rerouted on a US Airways flight, he said.
I'm anxious to know if this was one of the few older DC-9s left in the inventory, one of AirWisconsin's regional jets, or one of the new 717s. We probably already know the answer to that. If an old DC-9, fortunately ALL of those will be gone in the next month or two. Personally, I make it a point to only book on the new 717s. However, as a testament to AirTran safety procedure only one passenger was slightly injured. A back injury during evacuation, nonetheless.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:30 AM   #2
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http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Northeast....evacuated.ap/

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AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said mechanics believe that residual fuel ignited when the engine started, an occurrence he said was "not uncommon."
Well, nobody is doubting that.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:32 AM   #3
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This was a 717 unfortunately this was more pilot error for blowing the fire bottle than anything else. On engine start the EEC (electronic engine controller) turn the fuel on before the ignition. So when that happens a flame will come out the exhaust. The ramper notified the captain what he saw and the Captain activated the fire system without having a fire indication. So far there is no damage to the engine but the inspection is still going on. When this happens it is called a tail pipe fire. The procedure for that is to shurt off the fuel and continue motoring the engine and blow the flames out. That is what the captain should have done.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:35 AM   #4
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B717mech, do you have the tail number for the aircraft?
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:36 AM   #5
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Re: These Things Do Happen

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Originally Posted by haze
However, as a testament to AirTran safety procedure only one passenger was slightly injured. A back injury during evacuation, nonetheless.
I don't know that any of it can be attributed to their safety procedures. The fact that this became an incident should overshadow all of that, too.

But in all fairness, there's no indication that this guy didn't have back pain before the flight, too.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:39 AM   #6
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It was Fleet number 734. Tail number N977AT
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:40 AM   #7
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I agree with everyone else that this is largely a non-event and it's just an embarrassing "incident" more than anything else.

This level of (low time, inexperienced) pilots is to almost to be expected from a smaller airline like this.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by sal55
I agree with everyone else that this is largely a non-event and it's just an embarrassing "incident" more than anything else.

This level of (low time, inexperienced) pilots is to almost to be expected from a smaller airline like this.
I believe that was uncalled for sal55. This is not to be expected from a smaller airline like us.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by B717mech
It was Fleet number 734. Tail number N977AT
Thanks.

N977AT has no history on ntsb.gov.

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Old 10-01-2003, 11:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by B717mech
Quote:
Originally Posted by sal55
I agree with everyone else that this is largely a non-event and it's just an embarrassing "incident" more than anything else.

This level of (low time, inexperienced) pilots is to almost to be expected from a smaller airline like this.
I believe that was uncalled for sal55. This is not to be expected from a smaller airline like us.
I agree that it's certainly not desirable -- but this isn't a shock.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:44 AM   #11
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It shouldn't i looked in our Maintenance computer system and found no history of any engine problems.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sal55
I agree with everyone else that this is largely a non-event and it's just an embarrassing "incident" more than anything else.

This level of (low time, inexperienced) pilots is to almost to be expected from a smaller airline like this.
sal55 what do you consider low time?
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Old 10-01-2003, 12:21 PM   #13
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for what its worth

For what its worth, AirTran and boeing have been working on the problem of the 717's and the start sequence on the engines as we have been noticing a problem with it. Once an engine is running it then becomes independent and needs no ignitor plugs (like spark plugs) to keep running. Like most engines this one only has (2) and they seem to be "fouling" out or (wearing out) relitivly quickly. Since they are primarily used for start-up only this is the time when the problem occurs. During engine start the EEC dumps fuel into the engine and then sends the signal to the ignition units to fire the ignitors.....If they are weak then they do not fire as effectivly as needed, thus fuel keeps pouring in and when you finally get the spark!!!!!! You have a greater chance of a tailpipe fire. Most of the time the engine starts and blows the residuel fuel out the exhaust. B717mech is correct in the fact that a simple act of shutting the fuel switch off and allowing the engine to "motor" or "windmill" (the engine turns and blows out air but it is not lit off) this usually cleans the tailpipe out. Different people react in different ways so to this pilot it was better safe than sorry.
Delta 757 in Tampa:
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On June 23, 2003, about 0710 eastern daylight time, a Boeing 757-232, N633DL, registered to Wilmington Trust Company, operated by Delta Air Lines, Inc., as flight 1036, experienced a passenger initiated evacuation of the airplane while pushed away from the gate and stopped on the ramp at the Tampa International Airport, Tampa, Florida.
Quote:
A flight attendant stationed at the 2L door reported that the safety video was playing and she was in the process of securing the galley when she heard people from the window exits screaming. She stepped out from the galley to assess the situation, but passengers were in front of her running to the door screaming, "fire." She attempted to stop the passengers from coming towards the exit but could not see the window exits and could not access the interphone to communicate with the captain or other flight attendants. She observed a large glow of orange emerge from the No. 2 engine. While standing in front of passengers, a large man pushed her against the counter of the galley, screamed, "...fire..." and opened the 2L door and jumped onto the slide. She observed the 2L slide twisting, people were jumping in groups, and were not adhering to her commands. She opened the 2R door after verifying that the engines were secured and helped passengers evacuate the airplane
I believe Delta said this was a tailpipe fire also, but in this case the passengers decided to evacuate themselves before any orders were given by the flight crews.
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Old 10-01-2003, 12:49 PM   #14
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We agree that it's a relatively common occurence for passengers to see a flame come out of an engine. The issue is how the pilots handle it.

I believe that Delta has had at least one (if not two) incidents where pax started jumping out after seeing a flame. One was on the runway, or maybe a taxiway, and a bunch of people did a "jump and roll" and got hurt.
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Old 10-01-2003, 12:59 PM   #15
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It is really hard to put yourself in the pilots place. We don't know what the ramper told him. So the pilot could have been reacting to what the ramper was telling him. Hopefully in a day or so we will get the entire story. When I find out I will post it.

I guess thats one problem you have with wing mounted engines. When a nervous passenger see's a flame coming out of an engine I guess they want out now and no one is going to stop them. Then it becomes monkey see monkey do. I sure hope that doesn't happen when we start flying 737-700's and -800's
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Old 10-01-2003, 01:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B717mech
Quote:
Originally Posted by sal55
I agree with everyone else that this is largely a non-event and it's just an embarrassing "incident" more than anything else.

This level of (low time, inexperienced) pilots is to almost to be expected from a smaller airline like this.
sal55 what do you consider low time?
It depends on what they're doing. What you might call "low time" is certainly different for the captain of the Concorde vs the pilot of an ultralight or two seater light airplane.

I'd consider the pilot of a airline-operated 717 with less than 5 or 6 thousand hours to be low time.
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Old 10-01-2003, 01:04 PM   #17
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I have not ever had to be inside a plane that has required an emergeny evacuation, I can only imagine the chaos and fear that the people feel w/ not knowing if it is an immediate danger or precautionary. I have seen and heard of many airline pilots (from all airlines) who jump the gun in calling for this evac because they are in-experienced with the happenings of the Aircraft. Some of the evacs I have seen were people get hurt (twisted ankles, broken arms) were for no reason at all, In that it was just an indication problem (of a minor system mind you) or just nothing at all. Different pilots will act differently when the pressure is on, I just wish they would recieve better training on the Aircraft and some of the systems that are known for causing problems..... Like if an ACM (air cylce machine) seizes up, does it put smoke in the cabin???? yes it can. should you evac....no, just turn the airconditioner off for that side. Or a fire indication on start-up, this is when you get your tail-pipe fires. We need to evaluate the situation a little before jumping the gun and getting people hurt and scared for minor things. I'm sure those passengers will get compensated but now they have a little more fear for flying for no real reason at all.
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Old 10-01-2003, 01:10 PM   #18
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I think the ankle injuries are largely from bad landings (heh) after bouncing off the bottom of the evac chute.
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Old 10-01-2003, 01:10 PM   #19
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sal55 wrote:
Quote:
It depends on what they're doing. What you might call "low time" is certainly different for the captain of the Concorde vs the pilot of an ultralight or two seater light airplane.

I'd consider the pilot of a airline-operated 717 with less than 5 or 6 thousand hours to be low time.
I think think 5 or 6 thousand hours is alot more than low time. you compare apples to oranges with the concord and the ultralight or twoseater light aircraft. I have seen captians with 10,000 hours not be able to fly a C-172. I have also seen GA pilots with 10,000 that can't fly anything over 5000lbs. So lets just see what really happened before we start bashing the pilots.
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Old 10-01-2003, 01:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbaker
I think the ankle injuries are largely from bad landings (heh) after bouncing off the bottom of the evac chute.
Thats why they tell you to sit and slide not jump and slide. When you Jump look out for the launch at the moment of impact.
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