109 votes
Accepted

Can a passenger jet be towed to safety if it breaks down in midair?

Towing is quite feasible, and even landing while in tow is possible - I've done it myself in gliders. The hard part is catching up with the stricken plane. To stay with Keegan's Boeing 777: It most ...
66 votes
Accepted

Do pilots need a clearance to go around?

No, and this applies to any pilot, not just an airliner pilot. After the pilot has been cleared to land (or even if you're landing at your own discretion at an untowered airport), he can decide to go ...
  • 12.6k
65 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Philippine Airlines Flight 113 dump fuel prior to forced landing?

If you had an engine fire, even though it may be "out", you want your airplane on the ground as soon as you possibly can. You don't know what structural damage is lurking as a result of the fire. ...
  • 112k
63 votes
Accepted

Pilot NOT confirming checklist in Sully (2016). A script error?

The CVR voice transcript shows that the movie is accurate. Cactus 1549 CVR voice transcript 15:28:14 HOT-2 “emergency electrical power... emergency generator not online.” 15:28:18 CAM [sound similar ...
  • 34.7k
61 votes
Accepted

Why aren't flights continued after losing a tire on rotation?

Blown tire - can't raise gear, shredded tire will not fit in the bay. -> Gear down - much lower maximum speed and lots of additional drag -> Both of those mean very poor fuel economy -> Very ...
57 votes

Can a door be shut while in flight?

I've had this happen a few times on aging C152's and in all cases I have been able to simply push it against the airflow enough to pull it closed. On a PA28 with the door the other side of the cabin ...
  • 27k
55 votes

Why didn't Philippine Airlines Flight 113 dump fuel prior to forced landing?

On twin-engined aircraft the standard procedure for engine failure is to land as soon as possible. Since it is possible to land overweight—and aircraft are designed so that it is—delay to dump fuel is ...
  • 54.8k
50 votes
Accepted

What is the procedure when an aircraft with an emergency can't land due to a blocked runway?

What's the procedure? The procedure is, be creative to save as many lives as possible! Really. The procedure is to determine a course of action which will likely result in the best outcome for ...
  • 39.3k
47 votes
Accepted

How should passengers report SOS signal sightings?

There is a procedure, at least for the aircraft crew. It is appropriate for a flight crew to transmit a "pan pan" or even a "mayday relay" so a passenger should immediately inform the senior cabin ...
  • 30.9k
45 votes
Accepted

Is there any emergency situation in which jet engines would not be shut down before passenger evacuation of a transport aircraft?

It is possible for the engine to not respond to shutdown sequence, so you'd have to get the passengers off before dealing with the rogue engine. In the Qantas Flight 32 one engine had an un-...
45 votes
Accepted

Why does ATC ask emergency aircraft about fuel on board?

It depends on the type of situation. If the aircraft is unable to land for some reason, we'll want to know the remaining fuel to get an idea of how long the aircraft can realistically stay airborne. ...
44 votes
Accepted

What can a pilot do if an air traffic controller is incapacitated?

In theory, if the lone tower controller is incapacitated, the airport is no longer controlled and pilots should use the standard procedures for uncontrolled airports, i.e. making traffic calls on CTAF....
  • 27.1k
41 votes

If the Captain's screens are out, does he switch seats with the co-pilot?

If the plane is on final approach and the pilot flying loses his displays the co-pilot (who is also rated to fly the aircraft) may take over. Perhaps more importantly the system is built to avoid this....
  • 97.1k
41 votes

Why aren't flights continued after losing a tire on rotation?

That kind of thing would be a judgment call on the part of the crew (ultimately the capt) and would come down to what is the safest action based on the circumstances, with logistical/convenience ...
  • 112k
39 votes

Do commercial flights continue with an engine out?

The image looks like four engines running at the same cruise thrust. The wake vortex is blowing the exhaust of the inboard engines down and the exhaust of the outboard engines out and in the ...
  • 54.8k
37 votes
Accepted

Declaring an emergency: How should you report fuel remaining?

There is no standard because there's no standard emergency. The response to "Say fuel onboard" (or the way the question is phrased) depends on who cares most about the answer. Fuel Remaining (in ...
  • 67.6k
36 votes

Can a door be shut while in flight?

Do whatever it says in the POH for your aircraft. This is from the C172S POH, for example: Accidental opening of a cabin door in flight due to improper closing does not constitute a need to land ...
  • 70.7k
36 votes
Accepted

What to do if carbon monoxide is present?

The first thing you're going to want to do is get fresh air into the cabin, by ensuring the vents/windows are open. This will dilute the amount of CO in the cabin and stop your symptoms getting worse -...
  • 27k
35 votes

Do pilots need a clearance to go around?

The pilot of an aircraft is responsible for the safety of the flight. If he wants to go around or cancel takeoff, he can and will just do so. The purpose of ATC is to provide a service to help the ...
35 votes
Accepted

Aborted take off. What happens next?

A lot depends on whether the reject happened during the high energy or low energy phase of the takeoff. The boundary between the two is the reason for the speed call "xx knots", usually 80 knots or ...
  • 112k
35 votes

Why did my plane descend nose down?

Nothing out of the ordinary here. You probably arrived at the airport a little bit earlier because ATC allowed your plane to go directly to the runway instead of taking a longer route (as confirmed by ...
  • 12.5k
31 votes
Accepted

How are landing aircraft handled during an emergency runway closure?

As a tower controller, in case of an unexpected unusual situation for an aircraft on final approach, this will be my list of priorities: Clear the runway of other traffic Determine if fire and rescue ...
29 votes

What do flight attendants do if a passenger asks what is going on in case of a potential emergency?

What's the general protocol for cabin crew, when asked by passengers who notice potential issues like this and get curious? The flight crew and pilots are under no obligation to inform the ...
  • 97.1k
28 votes
Accepted

On an engine failure, can I contact the tower instead of 121.5?

I'm basically going to echo what's already been said, but with a twist. Yes, of course you can keep talking to the people you're already talking to, on the frequency you're already on. If you're ...
  • 6,944
28 votes

Why did my plane descend nose down?

According to FlightRadar24 here: at one point your flight was descending at more than 4000 feet per minute. This is a bit faster than usual, especially for the (relatively) low altitude you were at ...
  • 13.3k
27 votes

Can a passenger jet be towed to safety if it breaks down in midair?

I am picturing something like a 777 being towed due to a complete engine failure. Please correct me if you had something else in mind. This is unheard of, but it would be possible, and is a very ...
  • 6,809
26 votes
Accepted

Case Study: Did I need to declare an emergency?

Before we delve into this one. Let's be clear that it is much easier for us to sit at a computer with books in hand and review decisions made under urgent circumstances. Technically, the airport ...
26 votes

Who has final say over an aircraft flight path?

The pilot has 100% responsibility for how, where and when to fly/land. The movies make it seem like pilots are just mindless drones, under the control of ATC. In actual fact ATC are there as an aid ...
  • 27k
26 votes

If the Captain's screens are out, does he switch seats with the co-pilot?

No, the captain will simply have the first officer land. The co-pilot normally lands half the flights anyway, one more isn't an issue. If the airport is restricted to captain only landings, dictated ...
  • 5,759

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