Boeing 777-200 / N206UA by Jun Seita.. Courtesy of www.aeroinside.com
Sort of nerve-wracking to read something like this about a flight I was on.
From UK Daily Mail.
Flight from Heathrow to US is forced to make emergency landing an hour after take-off as smoke fills cockpit and cabin
- Plane was less than an hour into its journey when emergency was declared
- Members of flight crew were forced to wear their oxygen masks
- Cabin crew found no evidence of a fire on board
- Boeing 777-222 was carrying 140 passengers and crew to US capital
- It was met by firefighters and paramedics when it landed at Dublin Airport
Thursday last I took a long ride on the London tube to Heathrow. Best bargain in London. Maybe 5 British pounds.
Boarded my flight back to Dulles about 4:00 and think it took off about 5:15. Was flying on a Boeing 777. After 30 minutes in the air, I was so tired from my very productive and enjoyable ten days in London that I went and lay down on a vacant 3 seat row. Being so exhausted I didn’t notice much at first. A beeping alarm went off and a light began to blink. But, as I said I was too tired to pay attention.
Then the purser came pounding down the aisle at a full clip. That got my attention. All of a sudden I noticed odd smells. Sort of an ozone smell like an electric line has shorted out mixed with a slight hint of the smell of smoke. Seat belt light came on.
More awake now, I started to wonder what in the hell was going on. After I stood up to return to my seat and strap myself in, the plane sped up and began a rapid descent. I noticed a guy sitting right by where I was standing. Looked ex-military.
Since we are only one hour into an eight hour flight, this seemed a very, very odd maneuver. Are we descending? He nodded yes. Like fast? Yes, he said. Isn’t this sort of unusual? He nodded. Yes it certainly is.
After I got back to my seat the co-pilot came on and said some of us may have noticed some unusual smells and even seen some smoke. There was a bit of smoke he said but they thought it came from one of the wheel wells. What a relief. Just one of the rubber wheels is on fire. Yet the copilot said none of the fire alarms in the cockpit had gone off.
Nonetheless, just to make double-check and make sure everything was fine with the aircraft (before we flew across the North Atlantic) we were diverting to Dublin. They got that plane slammed down on the runway fast and came in with the nose much higher than usual.
As we rolled down the runway there were three fire trucks on either side matching our speed, blue lights blinking away. I had the feeling I was in a movie except I knew I wasn’t.
Later we learned that before we landed the pilots was dumped lots of the fuel else we would be too heavy when we landed I guess. We were carrying enough fuel to cross the Atlantic. Have read that this is unusual but I don’t know. Maybe they dumped the fuel because they didn’t want the plane to explode. That would have been a bummer.
Can’t say I was scared at first. One reason, I was so damn tired. The other was a sense of unreality. Like, this is happening to me? You only see this in the movies. But this ain’t a movie. And fire on an airplane is never a good thing. Good thing I did not know at the time that 15 years back
Finally, I know from reading stuff over the years that the 777 was tested for a long time before being certified to cross oceans since it only has two engines. And I know that modern jetliners have at least one redundant system and usually two for every vital function.
Still a bit terrifying I must say.
Dublin Airport Authority Fire/Rescue Truck
From the Independent of Ireland
Jet forced to make emergency landing at Dublin Airport as smoke and fumes detected onboard
….the crew declared an emergency over the Irish Sea….About 45 minutes into the flight the crew was forced to don their oxygen masks after reporting there was smoke and fumes on the flight-deck and in the forward cabin area.
An inspection by cabin crew revealed no visible evidence of fire however.
After requesting clearance to divert to Dublin the crew also sought permission to dump fuel so that they could land within safe landing weight limits. The ‘fuel jettison procedures’ took several minutes and resulted in several tonnes of aviation fuel being dumped before the jet could commence it’s approach to land.
Airport crash crews were alerted and mobilised to designated holding points along the runway ahead of the jet’s arrival.
After completing the fuel dump over north county Dublin, the crew commenced their emergency approach to Dublin’s secondary runway at around 6.00pm.
However, just moments before landing the crew aborted the approach because of poor weather and went around for a second attempt and Dublin’s main runway.
In the meantime, several aircraft on approach to Dublin were placed in holding patterns to allow the emergency aircraft a priority landing.
Shortly before landing the crew confirmed to controllers that there were “no visible flames just some smoke.”
Flight UA-925 landed safely at 6.16pm and was quickly pursued along the runway by emergency crews.
The crew confirmed that they would continue to the terminal building but requested fire crews to remain with the aircraft so that the source of the smoke could be investigated.
a technical story by an aviation safety blog is here: