Cause of Heathrow 777 crash landing Boeing
Close-up photographs of the fan blades in the port (No 1) and starboard (No 2) Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines of the British Airways Boeing 777 that crash-landed short of London Heathrow Airport's runway 27L yesterday show dramatically different damage patterns.
The considerable damage to the No 1 fan - at least one blade missing completely and most broken off about half way between root and tip - is consistent with the engine turning with at least some power on as the gear collapsed and the engine contacted the soft ground.
© Heathrow Pictures/PM
Port (No 1) engine damage is consistent with the engine turning with at least some power on
The No 2 engine has received damage from the ground consistent with it being stationary or windmilling with little or no power on.
Starboard (No 2) engine has received damage from the ground consistent with it being stationary or windmilling with little or no power on
Photographs also show the ram air turbine (RAT) just behind and below the wing trailing edge on the starboard lower fuselage, but it is not certain whether this had been deployed or not. The RAT would deploy automatically on electric or hydraulic failure or can be deployed manually by the crew.
© Heathrow Pictures/PM
It is not certain whether the ram air turbine (RAT) - just behind and below the wing trailing edge - had been deployed
Engine power loss appears to have been the cause the accident, in which the 777 landed just inside the airfield boundary some 500m (1,640ft) short of the runway 27L threshold. The 136 passengers were evacuated via all eight slides, with three people suffering minor injuries.
Inbound from Beijing, flight BA38 was on the approach to runway 27L when it appears the crew suffered a loss of power on both engines at some stage late in the approach.
The reason for the power loss is not yet known, but the crew managed to control the descent over the perimeter fence at Heathrow to touch down with wings level, on to grass directly on the 27L extended centreline.
The gear was down, and flap was set at about 20°, and the indications are that the crew had started the auxiliary power unit. On final approach, amateur footage shot of the aircraft shows the aircraft had adopted an uncommonly high nose-up attitude, and that the crew left gear deployment much later that would be normal procedure.
On touchdown the 777's gear dug into the soft ground, the left main gear structure eventually protruded through the top of the wing root and the right main gear separated.
The aircraft came to rest at the edge of the pre-threshold tarmac of runway 27L having made a very short ground run of about 350m. Witness reports of the aircraft attitude as it crossed the boundary fence suggest the aircraft was at or close to its stalling speed.
Sources at Heathrow say the crew had declared an emergency early on final approach but did not have time to be specific about the problem.
Almost all the passengers who have commented since the accident say the approach felt normal and the crew did not provide any warnings, but many did not realise they had "crashed" until the cabin crew ordered the evacuation. There was no fire.
Gordon Brown just 25ft from death in Heathrow crash - Mirror.co.ukGordon Brown stared death in the face yesterday as the stricken Heathrow jet came hurtling in just 25 feet above his head before crash landing.
The Prime Minister was being driven to a VIP lounge along an airport perimeter road when the Boeing 777 lost all power and plummeted towards the ground.
He had arrived for a flight to China which was waiting on the ground. Already on board the jumbo was Mirror Political Editor Bob Roberts.
One aide told him of the terrifying moment the PM and his entourage feared they were about to be wiped out. The insider said: "It was just yards above our heads, almost skimming a lamppost as the plane came in fast and very, very low."
Mr Brown could only look on in horror as the jet narrowly missed his black Jaguar before smashing into grass just before the runway.
Bob told how he was having a relaxing coffee with colleagues on the PM's plane when the peace was shattered by the sound of Flight BA038 crashing at 12.42pm.
He added: "It turned into a ringside seat to an airport drama.
"Suddenly, outside the plane were screaming fire engines, ambulances and police cars.
"I estimated the plane came down about 600 yards away from where the PM's jet was due to take off from.
"It was surreal to see the plane lying battered on the foam-covered Tarmac, four emergency chutes sticking out from its sides. The pilot of my plane came on the Tannoy and told us it was a 'serious incident'. But by then that was very clear indeed.
"We watched as more and more fire engines and ambulances rushed around the plane.
"I didn't see any of the passengers being evacuated at that point and can only assume they had already left the wrecked plane.
"It was an unnerving time for us on board our jumbo, but I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for those on that jet.
"When we eventually took off at 2pm, there was a noticeable sense of unease among my fellow passengers." Mr Brown suffered an air scare in April 2002 when a Concorde engine failed on the way to New York. The jet plummeted from 50,000ft to 30,000ft. It continued on three engines and landed safely. The PM was with wife Sarah and a delegation of 25 leading businessmen, including Richard Branson, heading to the Far East when yesterday's drama happened. He arrived in Beijing last night hoping to create thousands of British jobs by boosting trade with China which has a booming economy. But he risks fury today by opening the way for Chinese companies to buy huge numbers of British firms.
A British delegation to China and India led by Prime Minister Gordon Brown was delayed for an hour by the crash. Also flying with Brown on a British Airways Boeing 747 was billionaire Richard Branson, who controls rival Virgin Atlantic Airways.No thrust reversers whatsoever.. The engine cowlings came off as the
right main gear snaped off the body and they indeed look like
reservers in a way,, Take a peek at the font pictures in
airdisaster.com.. At first sight they made me think so as well but
lateral pictures make it obvious thats not the case.
Passenger Paul Venter told the UK Press Association: "The wheels came out and went for touchdown, and the next moment we just dropped. I couldn't tell you how far.
"I didn't speak to the pilot, but I saw him, and he looked very pale, but there was no communication in the cabin."
Another passenger Jason Johnson, interviewed by Sky News, said: "We came in very, very fast. It's something I've never been in before. Once it landed, it spun 90 degrees. I felt like I was in a washing machine.
"The plane then came to a complete halt. We were told by the hostesses 'Please evacuate, follow our guidance.'"
"I was worried about the fuel, bursting into flames, the wings were making cracking sounds, the sound was very, very loud."
Eyewitness Neil Jones said the plane had made a "very, very unusual approach" to the airport and sounded louder than usual, PA reported.
"The aircraft was banking to the left and it was coming in very low over the surrounding houses," Jones said. "The plane was significantly lower than it would normally be."You could see the pilot was desperate, trying to get the plane down. The aircraft hit the grass and there was a lot of dirt. The pilot was struggling to keep the plane straight.
Investigators were trying to establish what caused the malfunction on board flight BA038 as it approached Heathrow Airport.
The crew had just seconds to get the aircraft down safely after the engines failed to respond to demands made both automatically and manually for more thrust.
With senior first officer John Coward, 41, at the controls and father-of-three Captain Peter Burkill, 43, in command, the aircraft "descended rapidly and struck the ground, some 1,000ft short of the paved runway surface, just inside the airfield boundary fence", according to an initial report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).
The AAIB report said all had gone normally with flight BA038 until the Boeing 777 was just two miles from touchdown and at a height of 600ft.
The AAIB said its investigation was now focused "on more detailed analysis of the flight recorder information, collecting further recorded information from various system modules and examining the range of aircraft systems that could influence engine operation".
It is believed that no alarm sounded warning the pilots of the aircraft's difficulties.
The aviation industry was anxiously awaiting the results of those further inquiries.
The AAIB initial findings appeared to corroborate various claims that the plane had suddenly lost power. A preliminary report from the AAIB is due out in about 30 days into the incident on Thursday lunchtime which left 18 of the 136 passengers needing treatment - one for a broken leg.
The initial report, produced just over 24 hours after the incident, was published shortly after Captain Burkill, Mr Coward, first officer Conor Meginis 35, and cabin services director Sharron Eaton-Mercer had appeared to loud cheers from BA staff at the airline's Heathrow headquarters.
Capt Burkill made a brief statement, praising his colleagues and revealing that Mr Coward, with whom he had shared a curry the night after the crash, had been the handling pilot as the plane descended.