Doofus Of The Day #844

Today’s award goes to British Airways.

A British Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing at Heathrow with one engine damaged and the other on fire after fatigued engineers worked on the wrong aircraft.

The covers of both engines blew off and one burst into flames on the flight of an A319 from London to Oslo in May 2013.

The pilot returned to the airport using just one damaged engine and made an emergency landing while chunks of metal from the plane, some weighing up to 37kg, fell across the runway.

. . .

The AAIB report said doors on both engines had been left unlatched during maintenance and made a raft of suggestions designed to prevent such an incident happening again.

The unlatching of the fan cowl doors had not been identified before the plane took off with 75 passengers and five crew on board.

The 50-year-old captain decided to make the emergency landing four minutes after take-off, with the aircraft suffering a punctured fuel pipe and a fire in the right engine.

Passengers and crew evacuated via the escape slides without injury.

A report highlighted a series of safety recommendations, including tackling crew fatigue and in-flight damage assessments.

The report heard two technicians observing the plane before take-off failed to notice the Airbus was the “wrong” aircraft.

There’s more at the link, including a picture of the damaged aircraft in flight.  How it stayed in the air, I’m really not sure.

BA expects me to fly with them, after they merely worked on the wrong plane and failed to button it up afterwards???  So much for standards at “the world’s favorite airline” . . .



  1. When will administrators, paper pushers and bean counters learn that in some jobs you simply can not get more out of the workers?

    How many lives are lost because hospitals force surgeons and anesthesiologists into 24 or even 48 hour shifts?

    There have been train catastrophes with scores of dead caused by faulty maintenance from workers insufficiently schooled and overworked.

    Or how about the collision of two planes over south Germany because there was a single, overworked, overstressed flight controller working with partly disabled equipment (for maintenance).

  2. that is 100 percent on the pilot. You do a walk around on your plane before you board. It is your plane while you are in the right hand seat.

  3. I've a cousin who was a mechanic for Eastern Airlines. He told me a few things he'd run across in his time. It was enough to keep you from flying. Wait, isn't that what happened to Eastern?

  4. that is 100 percent on the pilot. You do a walk around on your plane before you board.

    While that's true, the latches on this aircraft are so low that they're hard to see without crawling under the engine.

    It seems bizarre that there's no warning in the cockpit when they're unlocked. From the accident report, the design just seems like an accident waiting to happen (which is probably why they've come open on a couple of dozen occasions, not just this one).

  5. Much like I said when the justifiable outcry about “how could British people just standing around and watch him be killed” (by many Americans) when trooper Rigby was murdered – you would be lucky in Greenwich/Woolwich to even 'find' a British person.

    'British' Airways (and especially at Heathrow and Gatwick) has led the way with its 'multi-cultural/global' ideology – sacking all those (expensive) experienced (incidentally British) engineers and service personnel in favour of a more 'diverse' (and much cheaper) crew. They (and others like BAE systems, BP and others) developed their reputations decades ago when, pre multi-national takeover/outsourcing, they hired the best available. Now, that's all ancient history compared to their worship of the mighty dollar/pound/euro (let alone PC/diversity/equality).

    So? You get what you pay for, take precautions/make choices accordingly.

  6. To all those saying that the unlatched cowlings should have been caught during pre-flight inspection: apparently it wasn't that simple. Flight Global says:

    The technicians opened the cowls on the A319’s engines to carry out oil servicing of the integrated drive generator. But they did not have the necessary oil pump to complete the work, and left the cowls closed but unlatched while they moved on to inspect other aircraft and fetch the pump.

    When they returned to the A319, some 3h later, they inadvertently drove past the aircraft – which was on stand 513 – and instead pulled up next to an A321 parked four stands further along.

    Despite noticing that the A321’s cowls were shut and latched, and despite finding that its oil level did not need servicing, the technicians failed to realise that they were dealing with a completely different aircraft.

    . . .

    Although the cowl doors were subsequently closed correctly on the A321, the mix-up meant that the A319 was not revisited.

    Its doors had neither been propped fully open, nor closed and latched, which made the pilots’ task of visually detecting the oversight more difficult during the following morning’s pre-flight walk-round.

    As a result the A319’s unlatched cowls went undiscovered and they were subsequently torn from the aircraft’s engines as it departed for Oslo on 24 May 2013.


  7. Got to agree with Able, just don't get me started about the 'security staff at those airports'. I so love returning to my country to have something in in a burka review my passport and determine if I may enter my country. As for BA, they've been known as 'Bull5hit Airways' in our house for many years.

  8. John

    Try Manchester. There they need a translator at passport control as most staff aren't, and don't even speak, English now (of course the same can be said for Newcastle but that's because most there are Geordies and no one can understand them, not even other Geordies).

    For Europe I try to fly from local airports like Carlisle, where no one in their right mind would emigrate to and where they still have to move the sheep and/or tractor off the runway before take-off/landings (although a Cumbrian phrase book is recommended).

    For the US you're an inclined plane on a helical axis unfortunately (it's still better than coming back though and the two-by-two hand of blue – just).

    For a real laugh you may want to examine just how many MOD police, 'guarding' our military/nuclear installations, are now foreign born?!? You couldn't make it up.

  9. @Able: Regarding your "British" people standing by and watching a man get his head hacked off… While it's easy to say people should've done something (or else they're complicit), but just what are they supposed to do? Crazy dude with a big knife (can't remember, was it a cleaver or machete?) vs you with at most a <3" folding non-locking knife. I don't think I'd do it for a stranger. Your best chance is for someone with a car to run the fucker down, otherwise you're SOL.

    And I long for the day when racism disappears, but sadly it turns up even here.

  10. M4

    Oh, I agree .. and yet.

    Remember the Glasgow airport bombing attempt? (I'd run too if a bunch of Glaswegians started after me).

    My local 'city' just recently had a “samurai sword wielding man on the rampage” story. What happened? His 'rampage' was ended rather quickly when a bunch of four (typical here, big, 'farm-boys' out on the town) men saw him draw the sword in the city centre, make threats and … flattened him. (One with a minor cut to the arm, he in A&E with multiple injuries).

    Absent a firearm the only 'difficulty' is often the 'who'll go first' reaction (or increasingly the 'shouldn't someone/anyone do something' attitude).

    That is the general reality of British (American/Australian/Canadian) cultures. The men 'would' still 'act'. One on one the odds on injury are considerable (not that it would stop many) but in a crowded area? (If a crowd had approached the maniac, do you really think he would have done anything but run? His 'resistance' against the police was only, as always, based on the absolute knowledge they 'had' to be gentle with him).

    My experience of 'racism' is, surprisingly, minimal (but that may just be my interpretation). The preference for 'like me' and the preponderance of criminal actions/threats from certain sections of the population (and the entirely legitimate avoidance of such) mean that racism as currently defined will always exist.

    That and being told by someone of a different religion/culture/life-style that I’m racist is often 'amusing' since they most often aren't (a different race, whatever their claims). I'm one of those sad relics, someone who judges a person, an individual and a group, by their actions (and I suspect most accused of racism are too).

    Remember, 'he' didn't do that act because he was black, he did it because of his 'religion' – how is that naything to do with race?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *