The Gimli Glider

150_gimli_glider_flightThe first fuel pump on the Boeing 767 went out. Then all the fuel pumps went out. Then an engine stopped. Then the other engine failed. What to do? The crew consulted Boeing’s emergency manual for advice on an unpowered landing.
Much to their dismay, no such section existed, presumably because a simultaneous engine failure had been too ridiculous for Boeing engineers to contemplate.

This really happened, in Canada in 1983. Find out how the story ended at Damn Interesting. Link

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No. 6:

I'm serious: In the U.S. (and Canadian law and aviation regulations match) it is illegal to operate a commercial aircraft with any of the items on the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) not in operating condition. And the fuel quantity indicating system is one of those items. Capt. Pearson was in violation of safety regulations before he ever left the ground, with the result that he nearly killed everyone on board. And I do mean 'he': The pilot is not responsible for performing maintenance on an aircraft (he isn't licensed to do it) but the pilot is ultimately responsible for the safe operation of the plane.

The pilot in command (Pearson, in this case) is required prior to departure to do a brief inspection of the aircraft, to check the maintenance logbook for any outstanding discrepancies, and to run through a lengthy checklist to assure that the aircraft is in good operating condition.

From the account, Pearson _knew_ this B767 had a faulty FQIS. Air Canada's procedures were very clear about what he should do in such a case: Wait for the item to be put in good working order before operating the airplane. Instead, he elected to have the fuel quantity manually measured. Then he screwed up the calculations to determine whether there was enough fuel on board to make the flight.

He should have been canned.
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True enough, that was some ace piloting, but the pilots & crew definitely need to work on their math and communication skills.

They say the difference between a good carpenter and a bad one is that the good carpenter knows better how to cover up his mistakes. Sometimes it's that way with pilots too. How many death-defying landings are made by pilots who were responsible for getting themselves (and anybody else along for the ride) into trouble in the first place?
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The pilot is responsible to be sure all of his indicators are functioning properly. One of the things on the checklist is "Working fuel gage."

The gage wasn't reading at all, and they knew that BEFORE the flight began, not after they were in the air.
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F451, What are you talking about?
It's not like the pilot is responsible for the maintenance of the airliner and it's not like they took off without having the failed mechanical parts working.
The problems were encountered IN-FLIGHT!!!
While the Airline should be held responsible, the pilots should be commended.
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Y'know, every commercial airliner type has a document called the "Minimum Equipment List." And it's called the "MINIMUM Equipment List" for a reason -- you're not supposed to fly the airplane without all those items being functional!

I don't care what a hotshot glider pilot Capt. Pearson was, he (and his copilot) should have been canned. Air Canada should have been heavily fined, and a thorough review of their safety and training programs instituted.

There's more to being a "professional" airline pilot than good stick-and-rudder work. This is a textbook example of a pilot with the Wrong Stuff.
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