14 Ekim 2017 Cumartesi
7-Hour Holding Pattern to Nowhere
türkçe links to original Turkish article
(HaberTürk Newspaper, 14 October 2017)
Coffee, tea or zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........
The Turkish Airlines (THY) İstanbul-Montreal flight took off from
Atatürk Airport yesterday at 1530 hours. Shortly afterwards, though,
the pilot of the Airbus 330 aircraft gave the airport tower a signal
indicating that there was a sick passenger on board. The pilot began
to dump fuel over the Sea of Marmara in order to land back at Atatürk
but the process went on longer than expected.
The plane circled and dumped fuel but did not land at Atatürk until
22.55 hours (!). Experts contacted by HaberTürk surmised that there
must have been a problem with the dumping system. THY later
announced that "A 16 year-old girl on our Istanbul-Montreal flight
became ill after take-off so, considering the importance of our
passenger's health, the decision was made for the aircraft to return to
Istanbul. In order to make a safe landing at Atatürk the plane had to
reach a certain weight, making the holding pattern necessary."
Planes landing with heavy weight can put undue pressure on the
landing gear so dumping fuel is a necessary precaution, although it
should only take about 30 minutes. A pilot commented to HaberTürk
that "it would be technically possible for this plane to land with its
take-off weight. There's nothing in the literature about a 7-hour
holding pattern. If the dumping system was working the plane
could have dumped 1 ton of fuel per minute - it took-off with 230
tons and the minimum weight for landing is 185 tons but there are
special procedures in certain cases like this one. The tires could
explode if there is too much weight. If the runway had been short
and icey I could understand this concern but the runway was dry."
Former THY Managing Director and pilot Mustafa Kolko
opined that "A plane can land with its same take-off weight. If
there's a fire in an engine does the pilot jump out in a parachute?!
There's no sense flying in a 7-hour holding pattern. Even if the
tires blow out, land the plane! If there's a death on the plane the
aircraft lands at the nearest airport. This holding pattern doesn't
seem logical to me."
After finally landing at Atatürk at 22.55 hours, the passengers took
off again for Montreal at 0100 hours in a new plane, although 16
of them had had enough flying time and decided not to go.
On second thought, make that 14 30-minute holding patterns.