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post #1 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Pilots Only Forum / The Perils of Petrol Miscalculation

Interesting story of how to turn a 767 into a glider.


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post #2 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 11:39 AM
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Theres also a Canadian movie that was made about this. Most people of a certain generation here know the phrase "the Gimli Glider". That plane was full of passengers who got more of a thrill than they bargained for! I am old enough to remember when Canada switched to Metric to get in line with the rest of the world outside N. America,I was in grade 5 or 6 in the 1960s. I think the belief at the time was that America was supposed to as well but for whatever reason didnt. And I seem to remember an unmanned mars explorer that failed in space years ago because of a similar screwup, a very costly mistake. Because our economy here is so integrated to the U.S. economy we have to be fluent in both with mixed results...
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post #3 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 12:21 PM
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That was one HELLUVA story/SAGA! The Captain, Bob Pearson, was one of the BEST pilots I ever flew w/ (in Air Canada) - while I went thru "RCAF Officers School" in Esquimalt, BC, w/ the First Officer - Maurice Quintal, back in 1967.

I haven't watched that video, so can't comment on how accurate it is, but the POTUS awarded the two of them for doing one of the most impressive bits of airmanship ever performed even surpassing the Moon landing, because Bob and Maurice did it FOR REAL w/out practicing it in the simulator as did Neil Armstrong.
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post #4 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
That was one HELLUVA story/SAGA! The Captain, Bob Pearson, was one of the BEST pilots I ever flew w/ (in Air Canada) - while I went thru "RCAF Officers School" in Esquimalt, BC, w/ the First Officer - Maurice Quintal, back in 1967.

I haven't watched that video, so can't comment on how accurate it is, but the POTUS awarded the two of them for doing one of the most impressive bits of airmanship ever performed even surpassing the Moon landing, because Bob and Maurice did it FOR REAL w/out practicing it in the simulator as did Neil Armstrong.
Kinda along the lines of Sully landing in the Hudson. No practice run just do it right the first time.

Captain Bob was lucky that no one got harpooned by a fence post or some metal object poking thru the cockpit floor or cabin floor. Funny no body knew the old aerodrome had become a race track.

Amazing story for sure.
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post #5 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 09:38 PM
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I remembered hearing about another jet 'glider' incident happening in the Azores. Here is the Wiki page on it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Transat_Flight_236

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post #6 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 10:34 PM
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Amazing story. I once saw an Air Crash Investigations episode on that.
Here is another lucky - sorry, well executed, save.

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post #7 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 03:04 AM
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sorry.... pack of dumasses that take off without being sure how much fuel is on board. thats what I think... professional aircraft mechanic, inspector, instructor, etc for 40 + years, private pilot for a bit more than that. good thing it was a Boeing.
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if I'm answering your question I assume the basic points have been addressed, such as: did you do a compression test? is it still on fire?
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post #8 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 05:12 AM
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That was my first thought as well. So passenger airliners don't have fuel gauges? Or even a computer-generated alarm like "Low fuel beep beep, low fuel"?

You only find out when the engines stop? Familiarity builds complacency I guess.

No wonder they were initially suspended.

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post #9 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 08:54 AM
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No doubt it shouldn't have happened. Our fuel gauges are presented in pounds of fuel. At least all the airliners I've flown. Dunno what the Air Canada aircraft had prior to this incident if they were Kg or Lbs. We have a "Flight Release" which is mandated by the FAA which shows the minimum fuel we are required to have onboard at takeoff in pounds.

So the question in the case of Air Canada is how was the difference between pounds vs kilograms presented? Pilots fly so many flights per day, per week, per year, that we become pretty automated. When something changes or things get abnormal is when it can go off the rails pretty quickly. Changes like from Kg to Lbs are huge traps begging for someone to fall in.

My guess is the Air Canada crew saw 22,000 on their paperwork and 22,000 on the fuel indicators, and their years of experience blinded them to the issue of units. Throw in some other distractions like passenger problems, flight attendants asking you to call the caterer back for more coffee cups, bad weather to plan around, or running late and it gets pretty easy to revert to habits. See 22,000 here, see 22,000 there, good to go.

It is easy to condemn the crew when something like this happens, because it shouldn't happen. But good humans make errors.
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post #10 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 12:11 PM
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And not a single cell phone captured the event!
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post #11 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkerjet View Post
...Funny no body knew the old aerodrome had become a race track....
By the time that Bob was on short final, the FACT that CFB Gimli was NOW a race-track was not germane to the issue at hand.

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post #12 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:10 PM
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sorry.... pack of dumasses that take off without being sure how much fuel is on board. thats what I think... professional aircraft mechanic, inspector, instructor, etc for 40 + years, private pilot for a bit more than that. good thing it was a Boeing.
WRONG! (Read down for an explanation.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brockie View Post
That was my first thought as well. So passenger airliners don't have fuel gauges? Or even a computer-generated alarm like "Low fuel beep beep, low fuel"?

You only find out when the engines stop? Familiarity builds complacency I guess.

No wonder they were initially suspended.
WRONG! (Read down for an explanation.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly-Sig View Post
No doubt it shouldn't have happened. Our fuel gauges are presented in pounds of fuel. At least all the airliners I've flown. Dunno what the Air Canada aircraft had prior to this incident if they were Kg or Lbs. We have a "Flight Release" which is mandated by the FAA which shows the minimum fuel we are required to have onboard at takeoff in pounds.

So the question in the case of Air Canada is how was the difference between pounds vs kilograms presented? Pilots fly so many flights per day, per week, per year, that we become pretty automated. When something changes or things get abnormal is when it can go off the rails pretty quickly. Changes like from Kg to Lbs are huge traps begging for someone to fall in.

My guess is the Air Canada crew saw 22,000 on their paperwork and 22,000 on the fuel indicators, and their years of experience blinded them to the issue of units. Throw in some other distractions like passenger problems, flight attendants asking you to call the caterer back for more coffee cups, bad weather to plan around, or running late and it gets pretty easy to revert to habits. See 22,000 here, see 22,000 there, good to go.

It is easy to condemn the crew when something like this happens, because it shouldn't happen. But good humans make errors.
WRONG! (Read down for an explanation.)

The Canadian government had just mandated that Canada "go metric", and Air Canada was just in the process of getting the Boeing 767-200, ordered to be in 'metric'.

The airplane arrived from an earlier flight w/ an "unserviceability" w/ its fuel guages. When the two pilots looked up the unserviceability in the MEL (Minimum Equipment List), they came to the conclusion that they could NOT accept the problem, but the mechanic said that they could, that in fact the problem was NOT what Bob and Maurice thought it was, that it was in fact ANOTHER computor which was acceptable to fly w/ "unserviceable". They ended up being convinced, but they wanted a fuel drip done to confirm their fuel state.

Then while doing the 'fuel-check' done by reading drip-sticks that show [using a code-number for how many cms of fuel was indicated by the drip-stick] how much fuel was in each tank (after MANY years of doing checks in gallons/pounds their WHOLE careers), that mechanic gave them the INCORRECT 'conversion-facture', which DID come up w/ the number they were 'looking for' to indicate the required amount of fuel was, in fact, in the tanks.

It was NOT, and they found THAT out as the FIRST engine flamed-out about 140 miles N of Gimli (at 41,000'), soon followed by the OTHER engine flaming-out followed by INCREDIBLE airmanship, in which NO ONE on the 767 OR on the race-track was killed or seriously injured!

In hindsight it's easy to see what SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE - FILL ALL TANKS, THEN "DRIP" THEM TO ENSURE THEY WERE FULL, and I believe THAT was what the two pilots had initially indicated they wanted done!
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 03-06-2019 at 01:26 PM.
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post #13 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:38 PM
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I just finished watching that video....

The video left-out MORE than it included, so I can understand the remarks that you posted.

Some more: we professional pilots ALL have a pretty good idea of the "glide-ratio" of whatever we're flying, and normally think in terms of MILES PER THOUSAND FEET OF DESCENT in the event that something goes wrong, as it DID!

The airplane was descending thru about 8,000' as it passed Gimli, headed for Winnipeg International, and Bob realized that they MIGHT not be able to get there, that "landing-short" would entail a catastrophic crash into a neighborhood! At that time Maurice mentioned Gimli [where he'd done RCAF pilot training!] just to their right.

When the video mentioned the HEROISM for which they got the award - that referred to the fact that, as they 'lined-up' for the runway, way too high to land there, w/ his background as a glider pilot Bob decided to do a "side-slip" to 'kill-off' altitude, something that had NEVER been done in an aircraft THAT LARGE before, and that got them into Gimli safely.
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post #14 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 04:57 PM
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no cell phone pix because cell phones were as big as a shoe box and did not have a camera

ya, did a good job with what they had, but still.... PIC is PIC, and that includes preflight on the ground
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if I'm answering your question I assume the basic points have been addressed, such as: did you do a compression test? is it still on fire?
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post #15 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 10:53 PM
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All Boeing aircraft are designed to facilitate deadstick landings when necessary, although itís not the preferred method of arriving home. Whatís engineered into their design in terms of plans b,c,d....z would amazed you. Thatís what makes Boeing the best aircraft in the world. Combine that with every pilotís desire to survive and magic can and obviously does happen. (Former Boeing employee )

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post #16 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 04:50 AM
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Like an old timer told me years ago " son airplanes will fly over gross but they will not fly out of fuel"
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post #17 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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All this talk about gliding reminds me of a sim session in the Falcon 2000.

We completed all required tasks and ended up with about 15 minutes to spare. The sim instructor said "What would you like to do?"

My buddy practiced max cross wind landings and I requested a dual engine failure.

Launched out of LAX heading out over the Pacific for PHOG. Cruising fat dumb and happy at FL400 auto pilot engaged we get a call from ATC. "Uh just was informed that you guys may have gotten a batch of contaminated fuel in LAX. Wow what great realism on the part of the instructor.

Me and my buddy looked at each other and smiled. About 30 seconds later number two spools down. I begin to perform memory items and call for the checklist. About a minute later number 1 spools down. The drill at this point is to establish best glide speed which was around 160 kts indicated and when reaching FL 350 fire up the APU. And of course turn back towards LAX.

After accomplishing all check list items and declaring an emergency I briefed my buddy on the plan to land. Calculations determined we would arrive back at LAX with plenty of altitude (better to have too much than too little) So the plan was to over fly the airport and about mid field to hang a left and join the down wind for left traffic. It worked like a charm.

We kept the gear up til turning base, then added some flap and slats to control glide path. Touched down about 2000 feet down the runway, used the emergency brakes and came to a stop. Open the door, grab the checkered flag from the flagman, bow to the fans, and head for the barn...Lol.

It was a fun exercise. And yep the Falcon 2000 is a great glider.
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post #18 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 09:23 AM
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I was a crew chief on F-111s for 8 years, and know nothing about civilian aviation, but what amazes me is that our 2-man fighter-bomber normally took off for a typical 2.5-3 hour sortie with 32-35,000 pounds of fuel (~4500 lbs. more with drop tanks), which is apparently more than a large airliner carries to cross an ocean. I guess that's what 2 engines capable of 25,000 pounds of thrust each plus AB does to your fuel mileage, eh?
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post #19 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 11:27 AM
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The Brasilia, 30 passenger twin turboprop, had a line in the emergency procedure for dual engine failure saying loss of both engines did not adversely affect the aircraft performance! Perhaps a slight mis-translation from the original Portuguese?

Way back in the day in the 1970's before flight training was as heavily regulated, instructors would routinely shut down the engine in the Cessna or Piper, not simulate the failure by pulling it back to idle. One of my instructors regularly would do this in the traffic pattern and have me land it shut down. This was Linden, NJ, where we would end up either in the GM factory or an oil refinery if we came up short!
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post #20 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 12:49 PM
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had a guy here recently demo an engine out, but the battery was bad and wouldn't turn the engine. with out an accumulator to unfeather the prop, he couldn't get the engine to turn again (tried diving, etc).... sorry, feather is feather. he ended up landing on a beach & ripping off the wheels. killed him & one other, a 3rd was injured. he would have been dead too if not for a guy with a backhoe that dragged the wreckage out above the tide line.

personally, I never take the RPM below 1500 until the landing is assured (for several reasons), especially in winter... then its 1700.
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if I'm answering your question I assume the basic points have been addressed, such as: did you do a compression test? is it still on fire?
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