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British Airways Boeing 777-236ER plane crash
London, United Kingdom

British Airways Boeing 777-236ER plane crash - London, United Kingdom

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London, United KingdomThe flight BA38 operated by a Boeing 777 belonging to British Airways took off from Beijing, China, and was due to land at London-Heathrow Airport, uk, with 136 passengers and 16 crewmembers onboard. The plane landed 1000 ft short of runway 27L at London-Heathrow. It skidded through the grass and came to rest on the edge of the runway.

The left main gear smashed through the wing, while the right hand gear broke off. Two giant wheel units were ripped off. A large section of the port wing had been ripped up at a 90 degree angle next to the fuselage, while the starboard wing also appeared to have become partially detached.

All passengers evacuated through the emergency slides, and only 18 needed treatments for minor injuries.

The plane was using an instrument landing system (ILS) approach, which allows pilots to follow a set path and be guided in - in this incident towards runway 27L at Heathrow. The jet was at a height of about 600ft (183 metres) and two miles (3.2 kilometres) from touch down when the engines failed to respond to a demand for increased thrust from its auto throttle. After continued demands for increased thrust, and with the flight crew moving the throttle levers, the engines similarly failed to respond. The aircraft speed reduced and the aircraft thus descended below the normal flight path. It was then impossible to reach the runaway threshold.

Flight BA38 path
Flight BA38 path
The pilot managed to "glide" the airliner over houses, airport buildings and a busy road before "belly flopping" it onto grass just 150 ft inside the perimeter fence, and 1000 ft short of runway threshold. Witnesses said the jet missed the tops of houses by less than 200 ft as the pilot wrestled to regain control, and was just 20 ft off the ground as it cleared a busy road surrounding the airport.

The pilots had received no warning that the plane was losing power due to a problem with the aircraft's alarm systems. They did not realise anything was wrong until they noticed that the plane was losing speed more rapidly than normal as it made its descent towards the runway.

The reduction in thrust on both engines was the result of a reduced fuel flow and all engine parameters after the thrust reduction were consistent with this. Parameters recorded indicate that the engine control system detected the reduced fuel flow and commanded the fuel metering valve to open fully. The fuel metering valve responded to this command and opened fully but with no appreciable change in the fuel flow to either engine.

The evidence to date indicates that both engines had low fuel pressure at the inlet to the HP pump. Restrictions in the fuel system between the aircraft fuel tanks and each of the engine HP pumps, resulting in reduced fuel flows, is suspected.

Aircraft similar to the one which crashed (Boeing 777-236ER)
Aircraft similar to the one which crashed (Boeing 777-236ER)
London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom (Red dot on map)

Photos of the British Airways Boeing 777 crash