Re: Flood Damage

Date:         27 Jan 97 02:45:54 
From: (Gary Moffitt)
References:   1
View raw article
  or MIME structure

>I saw a picture of an aircraft (maybe a 757) parked at the gate at
>Reno/Tahoe airport during the recent flood.  The water appeared to be
>almost up to the engines.  If there was a 737 parked at that time (as
>there usually are at Reno), I suspect that the engines would have been
>under water.

>Obviously the engines are designed to get wet (it does rain sometimes),
>but what about total submersion?  What has to be done before the aircraft
>flys again?

It was an AA 757.  I know because I work the AA 757 tech desk.  As the
flood waters began to rise we cosidered taxing the A/C to higher ground.
However, that idea was rejected due to the considerable amount of water
and floating flood debris the engines would ingest, the questionable
braking action with brakes submerged and the hazards of not being able to
see the taxiway through the water.  We considered towing the plane out,
but all of the tractors were out of service.  As you saw from the pictures
the water eventually reached the top of the main gear.  When things dried
out we decided  to remove and replace all the tires and wheels due to
water contamination of the wheel bearings (we probably could have cleaned
and repacked wheel bearings on site), we inspected the brakes and dried
them out with compressed air, we replaced all the axle mounted wheel speed
transducers and dried out various gear mounted electrical connectors and
junction boxes.  As you can see nothing to terribly exotic.

But what about a 737 and total engine submersion?  A good question.  I
think you would probably have to change the engines out.  Yes the engines
can fly though substantial rain, but that water is vaporized and follows
the gaspath through the engine.  It does not enter the combustion chamber
in liquid form, nor does it flood into oil passage ways and tanks through
vents. And what about electric components on the engine? I'd like to hear
what a 737 operator has to say.

Gary S. Moffitt