Re: Delta Tristar Operations

From:         drinkard@bcstec.ca.boeing.com (Terrell D. Drinkard)
Organization: Boeing Commercial Airplane Group
Date:         16 Apr 94 00:56:40 
References:   1
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In article <airliners.1994.1130@orchard.chicago.com>,
 <julian@gatwick.sgp.slb.com> wrote:
>I have observed three incidents in the last 9 months at Gatwick Airport 
>involving Delta Tristars which leave me a little puzzled. 

[First two cases deleted because I'm clueless]

>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.

IMHO, that was a good decision by the flight crew.  A simple return to base
would stress the remaining tires more than continuing normally because the
airplane would be much lighter at its destination than it would be right
after takeoff.  The main gear (and the nose gear for that matter) are
designed to be somewhat redundant.  That is, if a tire blows, there should
not be any cascading failures.  A cascading failure would be another tire
bursting because of the increased load generated by the loss of the first
tire.  Typically, a tire burst outside the gear well is considered pretty
innocuous.  Inside the gear well is another matter entirely.  :-)  The
economic argument that the passengers paid to fly to Peoria (or wherever it
was headed) and will be unhappy if they have to wait for another airplane
would likely be a small influence in the decision to continue to the
destination.  I think the key issue was that it would be safer to continue
than turn around and land.

-- 
Terry
drinkard@bcstec.ca.boeing.com
"Anyone who thinks they can hold the company responsible for what I say has
more lawyers than sense."