Re: ETOPS

Date:         11 Nov 96 01:50:36 
From:         Graham Barber <gbarber@griffin.co.uk>
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With specific reference to the British Midland B737.

I was actually on duty as an ATCA on the night this aircraft went down. I
was in the approach room and took the initial telephone call from the area
centre advising the problem.

The only thing that has ever stuck in my mind is that whilst the aircraft
was descending through the overhead we all expected him to keep his decent
as steep as possible. The crew elected, however, to go quite a way north
then turn slowly east, then south and go through the centreline to do a
180degree turn back onto a northerly heading to close final from the south.

All the approach room staff kept saying was "Why don't they get this thing
down on the ground quickly?". On at least 6 occasions the aircraft was
offered a tight turn to make final quicker and on every occasion this offer
was rejected.

The other fact is that only a month before I had flown on the flight deck
with that same captain as part of a familiarization programme. It only took
5 minutes to realize just what a competent, switched on guy he was.
Obviously he is a skipper and needs to be switched on, but I swear that if
he had lost both engines at FL260 overhead and KNOWN about it he would have
put that aircraft down on RW 27 at EGNX without so much as a ripple in the
passengers coffee.