Deicing Delays: British Airways Pays the Price - Aviation for Aviators
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Deicing Delays: British Airways Pays the Price

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British Airways
Turning Left for Less

United States aviation law applies to all airlines equally, as demonstrated by the recent fine imposed on British Airways for a delay in Austin, Texas in 2017. The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has fined the airline $135,000, with half of the amount suspended depending on compliance.

The Incident

After examining the attached five-page consent order, it is evident that on December 7, 2017, British Airways flight BA190, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, was delayed due to a need for deicing and adequate deicing fluid supply. It is unusual for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to experience the risk of icing, as in this case due to a snow event.

During the deicing process, the first deicing truck ran out of fluid, and passengers were provided with food and water while waiting for a second attempt. However, the plane did not return to a gate during this time. The second deicing attempt began more than three hours after the first, taking over an hour to complete. The total wait time to take off from the AUS gate was four hours and 27 minutes, exceeding the legally allowed limit by 27 minutes without an opportunity for passengers to deplane and stretch their legs.

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British Airways responded in the consent order that the pilots, who had years of experience, believed that the deicing would be completed within four hours. Additionally, the settlement was only consented to in the interest of resolving the issue.

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Deicing: A Crucial Aspect of Flight Safety

Deicing is critical for aircraft safety, as ice buildup can negatively impact aerodynamics, making it difficult for the aircraft to maintain lift and powered flight. The tragic Air Florida Flight 90 disaster on January 13, 1982, which resulted in 74 deaths onboard and four on the ground, was caused by a Boeing 737-200 covered with ice that crashed into a bridge soon after takeoff. Therefore, deicing is crucial for safe flights.

The consent order states that deicing is the responsibility of the airline. This is in accordance with US code 14 CFR 121.629(c), which mandates that each airline must have a clear deicing plan.

Legal Requirements

US law is explicit regarding contingency plans for overlong tarmac delays by airlines, as outlined in 14 CFR 259.4. However, the USDOT also accused British Airways of violating 49 U.S.C. § 41712, which allows the department to impose sanctions on airlines for engaging in unfair or deceptive practices or unfair methods of competition. This was due to British Airways’ failure to adhere to its contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays, forcing passengers to remain on board the aircraft for four hours and 27 minutes before takeoff.

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Moreover, on April 25, 2011, the USDOT issued a “Tarmac Delay Rule” under US Code Section 14 CFR 259.4, which mandates that foreign carriers, such as British Airways operating in the United States, must have a contingency plan to deplane passengers if the main aircraft door(s) are closed on the ground for more than four hours.

Image by: AARP

British Airways’ Response

British Airways responded by stating that the pilots, who had years of experience, believed that the deicing would be completed within four hours. However, the settlement was consented to “in the interest of resolving this proceeding.”

British Airways’ aircrew took a calculated risk during an icing event, but it ended up costing the airline at least $67,500. The incident serves as a reminder that airlines must adhere to US aviation laws and regulations, including having clear deicing and contingency plans. It also highlights the importance of deicing in ensuring safe flight, which should always be the top priority for airlines.

Also, you might be interested in reading: Air Travel Nightmare: British Airways Cancels Flights Due to the French ATC Strikes

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American Airlines Airbus A319 Diverts to Memphis After Engine Shutdown: An In-Depth Look

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A319
Image by: Joseph Garca via PLANESPOTTERS

An American Airlines Airbus A319, operated by Fort Worth-based American Airlines, encountered engine problems mid-flight, resulting in an emergency landing at Memphis International Airport. The incident occurred during a scheduled flight from Memphis to Phoenix and necessitated the presence of emergency responders.

Details of the Incident

On Wednesday, August 16th, Flight AA1182, with registration N821AW, took off from Memphis International Airport as scheduled. However, shortly after reaching its cruising altitude of 34,000 feet, the flight crew received a stall indication for the right-hand engine. In response, the engine was shut down, and the decision was made to divert the aircraft back to Memphis.

Flightradar24.com data captured the flight path of the aircraft during the incident. After takeoff, the A319 climbed rapidly and banked west over Downtown Memphis. It crossed the Mississippi River and continued towards its cruising altitude. However, just one minute after reaching this altitude, the aircraft initiated a turn back toward Memphis and began descending. It then briefly paused at a lower altitude before continuing eastward and descending again. The plane turned slightly south before reaching the Mississippi River once more. Finally, it flew at a low altitude and safely landed back at Memphis International Airport.

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A319
Image via Flightradar24.com

The History of the Aircraft

N821AW, which performed the ill-fated flight, has a long history of service. It took its first flight in December 2000 and was initially delivered to America West Airlines. Following the merger of America West and US Airways in 2007, the aircraft continued to operate under the US Airways brand. In 2015, after the dissolution of US Airways, it began flying under the American Airlines brand. Over its years of service, the aircraft has primarily operated out of Phoenix.

Recurring Engine Troubles

The recent incident is not an isolated occurrence for N821AW. In 2019, the aircraft diverted to Montgomery, Alabama, during a flight from Charleston, South Carolina, to Dallas/Fort Worth. On that occasion, the flight crew reported engine issues, and subsequent investigation revealed a missing cowling on one of the engines.

The Implications

The recurring engine problems faced by N821AW raise concerns about the overall reliability and safety of the aircraft. The incidents prompted a need for a thorough investigation and appropriate measures to address the root causes of these issues. American Airlines will undoubtedly prioritize passenger safety and take necessary steps to ensure the continued airworthiness of its fleets.

A319
Image by: Joseph Garca via PLANESPOTTERS

The emergency landing of the American Airlines Airbus A319 highlights the challenges associated with aging aircraft. The incident emphasizes the importance of diligent maintenance and inspection procedures to detect and address potential issues promptly. As the aviation industry prioritizes passenger safety, it is crucial for airlines to prioritize the reliability and performance of their fleets, ensuring a safe and comfortable travel experience for passengers.

Have you ever experienced a flight diversion or emergency landing? Share your story with us.

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Also, you might be interested in reading: Flight Review: easyJet Airbus A319- London Gatwick to Salzburg Airport

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United Airlines’ $1.25 Million Investment Empowers STEM Education in Schools

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STEM
Image by: Alexander Ufer via PLANESPOTTERS

United Airlines has announced a remarkable initiative to allocate $1.25 million towards funding various STEM projects in schools across selected cities. By teaming up with the nonprofit organization DonorsChoose, the airline aims to assist educators and families in coping with the escalating costs of classroom supplies and resources.

DonorsChoose: Empowering Educators Since 2000

DonorsChoose, initially founded by Bronx public high school teacher Charles Best in 2000, has evolved into a significant platform connecting public school teachers with individuals interested in supporting their classroom projects. Recognizing that teachers were spending an average of $500 annually out of pocket for project materials, Best established the website where educators could request funding for necessary resources. With rigorous project vetting and transparent reporting, DonorsChoose has successfully funded over two million projects.

United Airlines Takes Flight in STEM Education

United Airlines’ generous donation will specifically fund aviation-themed classroom projects posted on the DonorsChoose website. The funding will benefit schools in cities such as Chicago, Denver, Washington DC, New York, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Hawaii. Aviation maintenance projects may receive materials such as safety glasses and industrial first-aid kits, while introductory aviation projects may be supported with relevant reading books. United Airlines’ Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Josh Earnest, emphasizes the airline’s commitment to inspiring the next generation of aviators.

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Extending Support to the STEM Field

In addition to aviation projects, the remaining funds will be utilized in a matching campaign to support STEM-focused initiatives in the chosen cities. This broader support will encompass a range of resources, including board games to enhance mathematics comprehension, Lego Education sets and 3D printers to bring science to life, and improved classroom furniture to create conducive learning environments. United Airlines’ contribution aims to foster young minds and empower future scientists, aviators, and engineers.

STEM
Image by: Jon Marzo via PLANESPOTTERS

Seamless Application Process for Teachers

Teachers in the selected cities interested in submitting their projects for funding consideration can visit the DonorsChoose website and complete the necessary verification process. With United Airlines’ substantial contribution, countless projects are expected to be swiftly and fully funded, enriching the lives of numerous students. Materials such as books, furniture, headphones, and other educational tools play a vital role in enhancing students’ learning experiences.

United Airlines’ Dedication to Educational Enrichment

United Airlines’ investment in STEM education reflects its unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in communities. By empowering teachers and students through funding, the airline supports the growth of careers in the fields of science, aviation, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Alix Guerrier, CEO of DonorsChoose, recognizes the potential of this partnership in nurturing the aspirations of future professionals.

Transforming Classrooms, Transforming Lives

The collaboration between United Airlines and DonorsChoose demonstrates the significant influence that corporate support can have on education. As students prepare to return to school, the availability of essential resources can make a profound difference in their learning journey. Through this initiative, United Airlines is helping to create a brighter future by equipping classrooms and inspiring the next generation of innovators, problem-solvers, and leaders.

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STEM
Image by: Ronald Vermeulen via PLANESPOTTERS

In conclusion, United Airlines’ investment of $1.25 million in funding STEM projects through DonorsChoose showcases its dedication to educational enrichment. By supporting teachers and students in selected cities, the airline aims to provide essential resources and inspire young minds. This partnership exemplifies the power of collaboration in transforming classrooms and shaping the trajectory of students’ lives.

How do you think funding aviation-themed projects in schools can inspire and engage students in STEM fields?

Also, you might be interested in reading: Emirates & United Airlines Announce a Codeshare Agreement

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LATAM Airlines Pilot Dies En Route from Miami to Santiago

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Photo by Lukas Koo Man Ho
Photo by Lukas Koo Man Ho

In a rare and tragic incident, a LATAM Airlines pilot passed away mid-flight during a scheduled journey from Miami to Santiago. The flight was diverted to Panama City following the pilot’s incapacitation, where he was subsequently pronounced dead.

The Unfortunate Turn of Events

LATAM Airlines’ flight, with the call sign LA505, departed from Miami International Airport heading to Santiago de Chile, the capital of Chile, on Monday, August 14th. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, bearing the registration CC-BGI, had 271 passengers on board. Approximately three hours into the flight, the commanding pilot, Captain Ivan Andaur, began to feel unwell.

As reported by The Aviation Herald, while cruising at an altitude of 37,000ft, Captain Andaur left the cockpit to visit the bathroom. Tragically, he collapsed soon after, and despite the immediate efforts of fellow crew members to assist him, the captain’s condition deteriorated.

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LATAM Airlines - Photo by: Jeffrey.W
Photo by: Jeffrey.W

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the remaining flight crew, which included a relief captain and a first officer, made the critical decision to divert the plane to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City. Just 28 minutes after the decision was made, the aircraft safely touched down on runway 03L.Once on the ground, medical teams arrived promptly. However, Captain Andaur, who had dedicated 25 years of his life to flying with LATAM, was declared dead.

LATAM’s Statement on the Incident

LATAM Airlines

Expressing deep sorrow over the tragic turn of events, LATAM Airlines issued an official statement:

“ LATAM Airlines Group is devastated to report that our flight LA505, en route from Miami to Santiago, had to be diverted to Tocumen International Airport in Panama due to a medical emergency concerning one of our flight crew members. Despite immediate medical intervention upon landing, our beloved pilot unfortunately passed away.” LATAM Airlines

The statement further read,

“ The loss deeply affects us, and our heartfelt condolences go out to our employee’s family. We remember and honor his 25-year-long service marked by dedication, professionalism, and commitment. During the flight, every necessary safety protocol was diligently followed to prioritize the affected pilot’s life.” LATAM Airlines

After the unfortunate incident, the flight finally left Panama City on Tuesday, August 15th, at 17:24 local time. It safely reached Santiago later that evening at 23:55, with a delay of 5 hours and 31 minutes.

We, at Aviation for Aviators, are deeply saddened by the tragic event surrounding LA505. We extend our sincerest condolences to Captain Andaur’s family, friends, and all of the LATAM staff.

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