This was just one aircraft/flight an ex employer of mine chartered one day ... back in the day :)
It was a few seconds after hearing two loud bangs that Martin Emery, the co-pilot, looked out of the cockpit window at the starboard wing of the Boeing 707. He saw first that the outer engine was missing and, peering round further, found that the inner engine had gone, too.
The 707 was 32,000ft (9,000m) above the Swiss Alps. But 25 minutes later, in a feat of extraordinary flying skill and a testimony to the strength of the 25-year-old Boeing, it was brought safely to earth.
Mr Emery has now given the first full account of the drama on 31 March last year. The 707, owned by Trans Air, a Nigerian company, was fully laden taking mining equipment for Esso from Luxembourg to Timbuktu via Lagos. An hour into the flight, just south of Geneva, the crew heard the two bangs.
Mr Emery, 44, a freelance pilot with more than 25 years' flying experience, recalled: 'The turbulence was so bad that we were all strapped into our harnesses. We could see the tops of the clouds. If we had got above them, we would have been out of the turbulence and been OK.'
They didn't get there. The two bangs were caused by the inner starboard engine breaking away and then hitting the outer one so hard that it, too, broke off at full power. The initial cause, according to US investigators, was metal fatigue in part of the fitting of the engine to the wing, which made it snap under the strain of the turbulence.
A similar accident occurred on the same engine on a Tampa Airlines 707 freighter during take-off at Miami airport three weeks later and resulted in an increase in the frequency of checks for metal fatigue on 707s.
The Boeing immediately rolled to the right. 'It would have turned right over but Ingemar (Bergelund, the Swedish captain) held it. He had disconnected the auto pilot, taken over the controls and managed to stop the roll by using the rudder and the ailerons. Even with that immediate corrective action, it still rolled 50 degrees.'
During the roll the aircraft fell so fast that it twice went through negative G forces, which could have destroyed it. The cockpit was a frenzy of flashing lights, horns and warning bells.
The crew went through the fire drill on both engines, unaware that they were missing. At the end of the drill Mr Emery, sitting in the starboard cockpit seat, looked round to see no fire - and no engines.
He emphasises that it was the combined efforts of the five experienced crew members - himself and the pilot, a British flight engineer, Terry Boone; a Nigerian ground engineer, 'Ike' Nwabudike; and an Icelandic loadmaster, Ingebar Einarssen - that enabled the aircraft to make a successful landing.
Mr Emery contacted ground control with a Mayday call and obtained permission to land at Marseilles. The aircraft was steady but losing height relentlessly. It emerged from the higher cloud layer at about 20,000ft (6,000m). The crew managed to get the undercarriage down, which slowed the aircraft, but Mr Bergelund did not dare reduce speed too much, maintaining it at 230 knots (280mph). Anxious to prepare himself for the landing, he handed the controls to Mr Emery: 'It was an incredible thing to do. I've never been shown that much respect in anything I've done. It was mutual trust.'
Mr Emery took the aircraft down to about 8,000ft (2,400m), handed the controls back, and then, during a turn to port, saw the military airport of Istres, which has a 14,400ft runway, much longer and wider than Marseilles. Istres instantly gave permission to land but as the 707 came out of cloud near the airport, the military controller said: 'I see you. You have a fire, a fire.'
As they made the final descent, they were travelling at nearly 210 knots plus the tailwind, a ground speed of 270mph - 100mph faster than normal landing speed - with fire raging on the starboard wing and most of the hydraulics out of action.
They were only able to use maximum reverse thrust on the inner engine, as applying it on the outer would have turned the aircraft. 'The feeling of landing on the runway was indescribably wonderful but it seemed we would not be able to stop,' Mr Emery said.
They were saved by the extra length of the runway. No tyres burst on landing but some did as the emergency brakes were applied. Right at the end of the runway the 707 veered off into the scrub, but it came to a halt safely. 'The noise was horrific and the wing was an inferno. I ordered immediate evacuation.' Mr Emery escaped down a rope through the window on his side, burning his hands on the rope but otherwise, like all the crew, he was unscathed.
The French gave the crew a medical - which showed their heart rates were four times normal - and a slap-up lunch.
An oil-rig worker, who was sacked from his job after saying he believed he saw the MH370 flight crash into South China Sea, says the official search for the doomed plane in the Southern Indian Ocean is in the wrong place.
Mike McKay, 57, stands by seeing the Boeing 777 plummet into the China sea on that fateful night on 7 March (local time) while he was based on the Songa Mercur oil rig - off the Vietnamese town of Vung Tau.
"A spokesperson for hydrocarbon exploration and production company M-I Swaco where McKay used to work, said: 'The circumstances of Mr McKay's departure have nothing to do with the MH370 story or the resulting publicity.'"
MH370 close to finally being found- Australian search co-ordinator predicts the doomed jetliner will be uncovered by MAY. The Australian co-ordinator of the search for MH370 is confident doomed jetliner MH370 will be found within the next few months.
As the current search for the Malaysia Airlines plane is set to wrap up by the end of May, Australian Transport Safety Bureau Commissioner Martin Dolan said he was hopeful his team would unearth the wreckage by then,News.com.au reported.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2964319/Is-MH370-clos e-finally-Australian-search-ordinator-predicts-doomed-jetliner-uncovered-MAY.htm l
Nothing is too hard for a person that doesn't do the work and you'll always find a political can do person at the mic. Unless they loose interest, they'll find it at the last place they look, except if another political hack decides to keep looking.
And how many times have we heard that? ... They don't know what altitude MH370 was flying at, they don't know what speed it was cruising at, they don't know with engine powered systems were switched on or off, these and other factors affect the fuel burn and the endurance of the flight so it needs to be a seriously large area for them to be sure of anything!
It is many years since 9/11 and here is a wonderful story about that terrible day. Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following 9-11:
On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic.
All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that "All Business" look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta's main office in Atlanta and simply read, "All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination."
No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland.
He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately -- no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request. While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.
We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, New Foundland, to have it checked out. We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that's nothing new!
Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM! .... That's 11.30 am EST There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S.
After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason." Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.
The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the aircraft. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.
Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada. Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.
Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.
We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.
Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.
About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.
After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander! We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the U.S. airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while. We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.
Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the "plane people." We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.
Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days. What we found out was incredible. Gander and all the surrounding commun
Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days. What we found out was incredible. Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.
ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the "guests." Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.
Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility.
There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.
Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered "Excursion" trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.
Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.
Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully. It was absolutely incredible.
When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling. Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses. And then a very unusual thing happened.
One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said "of course" and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.
"He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!
"The gentleman, a MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well. As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.
"I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them. It reminds me how much good there is in the world."
"In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today's world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.
Vladimir Putin ordered Russian special forces to steal MH370 and secretly landed it at huge space port in Kazakhstan, claims expert
Jeff Wise is a science author and member of the Independent Group
Believes MH370 was part of a secret Russian hijack mission
Putin 'spoofed' the flight data and landed the plane in Kazakhstan
Satellite data suggests plane flew for hours after losing contact