Delta Tristar Operations

From:         julian@gatwick.sgp.slb.com
Date:         13 Apr 94 02:46:44 PDT
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I have observed three incidents in the last 9 months at Gatwick Airport 
involving Delta Tristars which leave me a little puzzled. 

In the first case a Delta Tristar was taking off towards the east (Gatwick
has only one east-west runway). The pilot aborted the takeoff causing a 
landing aircraft to go round again. The tower asked for an explaination of the
takeoff abort and was told 'Bad flap indication'. The tower asked for further
clarification but was again told 'Bad flap indication'. Anyway the Tristar 
pulled off the runway and sat in an unused holding area at the east end for 
about ten minutes before taxiing back to the west end and trying another 
takeoff. This time he lifted off but kept the under-carriage down. I was
expecting him to perhaps circle and land but he headed off eastwards gaining
altitude but with the under-carriage still down. 

In the second case another Delta Tristar was taxiing onto the runway for a west
takeoff (west is the usual direction). Before he was properly lined up he 
stopped with the nose wheel still turned right. Shortly a fleet of ground
maintenance vehicles arrived plus a tow truck. They clustered round the nose
wheel and after a few minutes the tow-truck was hooked up and the aircraft
was removed from the runway. Before the runway was reopenned a solitary ground 
vehicle spent 10 minutes looking at the runway surface, presumably for foreign
objects. I can only guess that the Tristar suffered a brake failure or a 
failure of the nose wheel steering hydraulics. Any other suggestions?
While the runway was blocked several other aircraft including a Virgin Atlantic
747 took off using the remaining runway length (full length minus ~ 400 yards)

In the third case yet another Delta Tristar was taking off when a main wheel
blew with a bang that was heard all over the airport. In fact we all thought
at first it was terrorists. The runway was closed for a good half hour while 
the pieces were swept up. The Tristar continued to the States and landed safely
if a bit gingerly. I was surprised the aircraft decided to continue with its
trans-Atlantic flight given that I would have expected a real risk of the debris
puncturing the the wing tanks.

Apologies if the explainations to all these are trivial but I'm curious to
know. BTW the way I'm not trying to slag off Delta in any way. :)