A Dose of Aviation For Everyone

My hijacking habit is here yet again… =.=||

I found this post at Flydamnit and I thought it would be pretty educational for most of you readers. As most of the time when we fly, we are usually very blur or don’t even know what the pilots are doing up front in the cockpit, or should I say some don’t really even care. All we want is to get from point A to point B. We do not really know that being a pilot is also as challenging as doing any other job in the world. Many would just regard piloting as sheer hours of boredom up in the sky. Well here’s one example of the challenges that a pilot face on any typical day.

Starter failure delays my flight for 8 hours

January 18th, 2007 | by Dusk |

737-window-open.JPG
Guess what happened today?? Owh yeah, the title. Thats what happened. I was supposed to operate from KUL-SGN-KUL-JHB. Its suppose to be a 3 days trip. SGN is an Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. AKA Saigon. The flight is is 1hr 30 mins, all the way north via airways R208.

The day started normally with arriving at the ODC, flight ops to get the flight plan and stuff, waiting for the captain, and after completing all the documentation, we left for the aircraft which is suppose to be at bay A6L. Halfway there, we were told that theres some change of aircraft, we are flying MMA. I didnt really like that plane because of its ‘history’. The flight that was suppose to depart at 8.05am was delayed to 8.40am because it had to be towed from the ‘domestic’ bay.

We did the Preflight check, Before start check and Before taxi checklist as per normal. During the taxi, the EGT indicator flashes. EGT indicator is the engine temperature gauge. Its not suppose to flash during taxi. If it flashes during start, it means the engine might exceed its temperature limit. Flashing during taxi? Thats not suppose to happen. I had this same situation last week in the same aircraft. Since we identify the problem as a indication problem, the captain told me to reset the indicators. As i did that, everything went to normal. The whole flight proceed as normal. Reached SGN without any problems.

After disembarking the passenger, and preparing the plane for the next takeoff, we allowed the next batch of passenger to board the plane which is going to KUL. We did everything as per normal but during the 2nd engine start (No1 engine, left engine), there was no N2 indication. N2 is one of the fan inside the engine. Its suppose to spin and then turn the N1, the bigger fan outside. Since there was no indication, we aborted the start. We opened the MEL and it told us to use the the No.2 engine’s timing and speed to estimate the indication for the No.1 engine that has lost its tachometer display.
Note: No.2 engine is on the right side of the aircraft if ure sitting inside it. We start No.2 engines 1st then the No.1 engine.

So we shut down the the No.2 Engine and restarted it to get its timing and indication. At 26 secs, fuel is introduced to the engine and at 1min 13 secs (13% N1), the starter should cut out. We are going to use these figures to start the other engine, the No1 engine that has lost its tachometer display. This time when we motor the N2, the indication was 0% N2 and the EGT dosent go down. Then the engineer shouted “Cut Cut” or “Stop Stop” or something like that. The captain rejected the start and then we knew something was wrong with the starter. Not only that, the Start Valve Open light is still illuminated. It shouldnt. Because of this we couldnt on the Aircond for the passenger.

The normal engine start procedure can be found at my previous post which is here http://www.flydamnit.com/2006/06/30/how-to-start-a-737/. To start, air from the APU is used to turn the started, which is controlled by the Engine Start Switch. By placing this switch to GRD, it will open the Start Valve and air is used to spin the Starter Motor. Then the Starter Motor spins the N2. After 25% N2, fuel will be introduced so that it can run without the help of the starter. At 46% N2 indication, the starter should disengage and the switch will automatically move to “OFF” position.

The problem now is, the Start Valve is stucked to Open position. The checklist (which we did earlier) wants us to set the engine bleeds to off and APU bleeds to off. That means no aircond for the passenger. If we on the aircond, the engine will start spinning because the start valve is open and air will spin the starter which will spin the N2 fan which might spin the N1 fan. Anyway, if ure tired with all these text and do not understand what im talking about, just enjoy the pictures below.

b737-passenger.JPG
The aircraft is hot and passengers starts moving around after we were docked at the bay. They were pretty cool and kinda understand us. I mean, they were saying “if its unsafe to fly, we would rather be on the ground”.

Wow. They really understand the situation. Normally they would go “I want to fly now! Why arent we flying?!”

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This is the ground cart that supplies alternate source of aircond to the passenger.

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They told us the starter is damaged and had to be replaced. So the passengers were disembarked and the spare part will be flown from KUL in the next flight, which will reach SGN at 4.30 pm! Its 12pm now.

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If they actually arrive at 4.30 pm without delay, they will probably take 1 hr to fix it and another 30 mins to test it. 30mins to refuel, 30 mins to board the passengers. That means we will depart at 7pm and reach KUL at 9pm. Start at 7am and finish at 9pm? Thats 14 hours of work. But the captain decided to do the flight anyway, although he could step down and the company have to spend millions to fit all 120 passengers including us in a hotel.

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This is the cabin after all passengers left the plane.

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This is obviously the engine view from the side.

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This is the Starter Motor. Everything looks normal here.

b737-starter-fan.JPG
This is the starter fan. If u look properly, i think u can see the fan’s outer part scrapped(?) and theres dust from the fan all over. This is why there was no N2 indication and the EGT dosent go down.

b737-starter-mr1.JPG
This is some part of the starter that is placed it beside the MR1.

b737-starter-fan-fragment2.jpg
Metal fragments from the starter.

So MH758 arrived at SGN at 4.40pm GMT+8 with the spare part and they managed to get the plane running at 6.30. We took off at 7.10pm and we arrived at KUL at 9.10 pm. Our next flight was cancelled. End of today.

If you think that flying is boring, think again. LOL ^^,

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