Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Garrison's Left Seat Cheeky Wisdom

How to Kill a 727
(That's not a question...)
by Kevin Garrison

I remember at my airline they weren't allowed to give us multiple abnormals (now called "non-normals" by the geniuses at Boeing). It's too bad, because when I worked at the steep-turn academy I cooked up this really cool two-engine-out scenario for the 727. Okay, I'll tell you about it. I did it in the sim to some students and they just loved it...
You dispatch the 727 with the number three generator inop. Perfectly legal. Then anywhere in the flight -- I usually did it during an instrument missed approach -- I'd fail the number one engine by making it explode

Boom! Blades from the number one engine take out and kill the number two engine. Both are not turning at all -- no residual rpms for my guys. Number one A system hydraulic pump is attached to engine #1. Number two is attached to engine #2. B system hydraulics are totally AC electrical. There is now now AC available on the airplane with number one and two engine dead and number three on MCO. Standby hydraulics? gotta have DC power for that, but not a single one of the TRs are working except essential DC but it isn't connected to anything that will help. There is a way funky technique to fire up the APU, which is never used in flight on the 727 and won't start in the air (it's in the wheel well area -- you tend to get a fire in there if it is running with the wheel well doors shut) but none of my students knew it (you pull the ground shift CB) and there was not enough ticks available on the clock anyway -- time to die!

Anyhoo... The students have no choice and no options. They need the power from number three to keep from hitting the mountains (I didn't mention that I always ran this problem in Reno) and they have no way to control the yaw because both the upper and lower rudder are totally hydraulic and manual reversion on the ailerons wasn't enough because you couldn't get any flight spoilers. I would watch the fun and listen to the curses as our world slowly tumbled and we crashed. I heard later that eventually nobody on the 727 fleet at my airline would accept an aircraft with the number three generator inop. My one achievement in 27 years of airline flying.

In the real world I never had a single abnormal. There was always some other stuff going one. My in-flight fires always happened in bad weather (I only had three) and, of course, when you got smoke, you got passengers bitching about being sick, etc and the company and the flight attendants bugging you on the intercom and radios.
Kevin Garrison is a retired airline captain who now travels the world in First Class writing for several magazines and speaking to any group able to cough up the modest fee and provide a clean hotel room with free minibar. To have Kevin Garrison speak at your next event, call the Transportation Speakers Association (TSA) at 515-961-0654.

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