Re: Virgin Atlantic A340 Undercarriage incident

Date:         23 Nov 97 03:04:01 
From:         lstone@wwa.com (Larry Stone)
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In article <airliners.1997.2685@ohare.Chicago.COM>, "Dave Pullan"
<thomas@nbnet.nb.ca> wrote:

>Which leads me to wonder, do the authorities not have other airports to
>"suggest" to the capt to land at rather than close Heathrow, of all
>airports.  While I have not explored the availability of crash rescue
>services at, for example Stansted, about 30 miles NE of Heathrow, and of
>7000 feet runway length or more, if my memory is correct, it seems to me
>that there should be a plan to keep UK's premiere airport from being closed
>in most potential accidents.  Of course, lives are the number one priority,
>but I doubt a business jet with the same problem would have been allowed to
>so easily disrupt aviation.

I can't say how other countries would handle it but in the U.S., if I'm
flying a plane and declare an emergency, ATC better well just do what I
ask provided there's no technical reason they can't. Now gear extension
problems don't fall in the "distress" (MAYDAY) category of emergency, at
least not until you actually land but there are many distress situations
where you need a suitable runway and you need it right now. I fly light
twins and in those planes, with one engine inoperative, your go-around
capability is zero. Once you put the gear down, the plane is descending.
So if I do lose an engine, I'm going to be wanting to set it down on a
longer runway than I normally need (so I can aim a couple of thousand feet
down the runway and then if I come up short, I'm still landing on runway).
If the nearest suitable runway is a major air carrier airport, that's
where I'm going and we can deal with the aftermath after I'm down safely.

--
-- Larry Stone --- lstone@wwa.com
   http://www.wwa.com/~lstone/
   Schaumburg, IL, USA
   I work for United Airlines but never, never speak for them