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LH 747 returns to FRA due to Oil Leak...

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  • LH 747 returns to FRA due to Oil Leak...

    A New York-bound Boeing 747 operated by German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG turned back in mid-flight Saturday after the pilot reported that one if the plane's four engines was leaking oil. The airline said Saturday that the plane, carrying 334 passengers from Frankfurt to New York, was over Greenland when the pilot made the decision to turn back although the plane could have flown onward to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport on three engines.

    Ann Curry, an NBC television reporter, was aboard and provided public "tweets" brief, instant Internet updates via Twitter on the plane's turnaround after it returned to Frankfurt International Airport.She tweeted that the plane "was almost over Greenland when it turned around. Pilot's voice was tense."

    Lufthansa said there was an oil leak but flight LH400's passengers and crew were not in danger.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090919/...ight_problem_3
    Compliments to the crew for making that decision. Thank God no passengers freaked (and caused a more major incident to occur).
    Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.

  • #2
    And that's why I like them, although I can't work for them (and certainly never will): at least 100% Safety, everything else is less important.

    I'm going offtopic, but... isn't it sad if you are (some years ago..) born in a family who lives less than 25 miles away from the next intercontinental airport, and nobody is interested in aviation but you? So you grow older, 16, 18, 25 and you forget about your passion, because not a single person in your family supports what you like...

    But they restricted the entry age to 28. Well, you see me speechless for a moment.
    The German long haul is alive, since more than 60 years.
    The Gold Member in the 747 club, 50 years since the first LH 747.
    And constantly advanced, 744 and 748 /w upper and lower EICAS.
    This is Lohausen International airport speaking, echo delta delta lima.

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    • #3
      pardon my ignorance here, but if safety were really the concern, why do you suppose they bypassed so many airports to get back to their home base? sounds more like economics to me...or better yet, penny-wise but dollar foolish.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TeeVee View Post
        pardon my ignorance here, but if safety were really the concern, why do you suppose they bypassed so many airports to get back to their home base? sounds more like economics to me...or better yet, penny-wise but dollar foolish.
        Safety was a concern, but if the engine was operating normally (albeit leaking oil) the decision to go back to Frankfurt was purely an economic decision. Why pay increased costs to either; fly a maintenance crew out, or have it inspected/repaired at another airport without contracted maintenance (or ferry back with no revenue)?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by thxcollins View Post
          Safety was a concern, but if the engine was operating normally (albeit leaking oil) the decision to go back to Frankfurt was purely an economic decision. Why pay increased costs to either; fly a maintenance crew out, or have it inspected/repaired at another airport without contracted maintenance (or ferry back with no revenue)?
          The aircraft should have continued to JFK. Terrible customer service. He wasn't flying to a Third World country with limited or no maintenance, he was going to New York.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ptbodale View Post
            The aircraft should have continued to JFK. Terrible customer service. He wasn't flying to a Third World country with limited or no maintenance, he was going to New York.
            Good point considering they had to find a way to get 334 people to their destination anyway. I don't know if its cheaper to fly back and reroute all those passengers.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by saupatel View Post
              Good point considering they had to find a way to get 334 people to their destination anyway. I don't know if its cheaper to fly back and reroute all those passengers.
              I agree. Bad move on Lufthansa's part. The truth is that none of us know if flying the aircraft back to Frankfurt was indeed the cheaper route to go because we don't have Lufthansa's P & L (Profit and Loss) Reports in front of us, but I think we can all agree that re-routing 300+ passengers back to Frankfurt, then squeezing them in on leftover seats from later departures (not to mention the probability of having to put some or all in hotels in the meantime, unless they used a standby 744) was not a wise move. I think continuing on to JFK should have been the better business decision, despite the potential loss in total cost vs. revenue. Lufthansa made a decision that may or may not have been the smartest move. I'm sure their decision was cost-based.

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              • #8
                From what I've read on the other site, they were all put on a replacement aircraft, so they weren't just rebooked on other flights.
                Plus I think it would be easier to return to FRA and have another plane more readily available than have to ferry one out to JFK.

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                • #9
                  again, i have zero technical wisdom, so dont flame me please. if an oil leak is not a safety issue, and apparently some of you with vastly more knowledge than i agree it is not, then how can it ever be justified to fly back to FRA after having flown probably halfway to JFK? i would bet that Lufthansa has plenty of parts as well as a complete maintenance team or service company on call in NY. absolutely mind boggling...

                  and for germans who are known for their preciseness, or used to be anyway, this is even more strange.

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                  • #10
                    The pilots,or airlines, descision to return to its origin does not make sense to me - if safety was a concern he should have landed at the nearest airport (there are airports in Greenland and Iceland), then further on in Canada and USA. I would prefer this route with 3 engines rather than fly back over the Atlantic.

                    Of course the media might be totally wrong and the aircraft was planned flightpath.

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                    • #11
                      "Oil leak" is for the media, something simple that could happen to anyone, no panic no bad press.
                      Engine failure due to oil starvation requiring engine removal and replacement at an outstation, is something better kept simple like........... "oil leak".

                      Read between the lines people!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by juan23 View Post
                        "Oil leak" is for the media, something simple that could happen to anyone, no panic no bad press.
                        Engine failure due to oil starvation requiring engine removal and replacement at an outstation, is something better kept simple like........... "oil leak".

                        Read between the lines people!
                        I can't see an oil leak that could cause oil starvation not being noticed prior to the engine eating itself. Who knows. In 20 years never seen it happen. Though I was working around old worn out Allison(Rolls Royce now) T-56's.

                        Turn around and fly into the winds with 3 motors don't make much since either. They must not have been very close to Greenland as reported. Somewhere in Greenland should be the point of no return. I think they are about and hour short of the point of no return around Iceland.

                        And the notion that LH doesn't have maintenance support at JFK seems a little ridiculous as well.(could be wrong, but then a lot of airlines flying to places without support, have maintenance flying on the aircraft, unless that only happens on military charters.)

                        Turning around for an equipment change doesn't really seem right either. If they were that close to the point of no return(being Greenland) by the time they turned around, flew back to Frankfurt, changed out planes then flew back to JFK the original aircraft(if just a "oil leak" and not needing an engine change) would have been most likely fixed and back in service before the replacement plane arrived.

                        So in short this whole thing really makes no sense. Unless as I stated earlier, they weren't around Greenland or as close to Greenland as reported. Could be my guesstimate for the point of no return is out to lunch.

                        Who knows... LH does for sure, and I doubt we ever will...
                        -Not an Airbus or Boeing guy here.
                        -20 year veteran on the USN Lockheed P-3 Orion.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by P3_Super_Bee View Post
                          I can't see an oil leak that could cause oil starvation not being noticed prior to the engine eating itself. Who knows. In 20 years never seen it happen. Though I was working around old worn out Allison(Rolls Royce now) T-56's.
                          ...............................
                          Wasn't there a 727 or L1011 in Florida that lost all its engines due to an oil leak (plugs were installed without seals)?

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                          • #14
                            I don't think wind has been mentioned yet. It may be that upper level winds were a factor in the decision-making process and that existing or forecast westbound headwinds made continuation a less attractive proposition on three engines compared with tailwinds on return.

                            Anyway, once there was determined to be no immediate threat to the aircraft, there is nothing wrong with economic factors determining the decision. Many airlines would do the same, and it is no reflection on Lufthansa whatsoever that they returned to origin, where more immediate maintenance would be available than risk an AOG down route for days. Second-guessing the decision of this crew and/or this airline is unfair if not ridiculous.

                            Less seriously, maybe they recalled the over-reaction in America to the British Airways 3-engine flight out of Los Angeles to the UK a couple of years ago.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Highkeas View Post
                              Wasn't there a 727 or L1011 in Florida that lost all its engines due to an oil leak (plugs were installed without seals)?
                              Eastern L-1011 1983 : http://aviation-safety.net/database/...?id=19830505-2

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