BA767 OSLO-LHR 4th Jan

Old Jan 4, 12, 5:48 pm
  #1  
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BA767 OSLO-LHR 4th Jan

i want to start this post by pointing out that despite flying 4 or 5 times a year, I it absolutely terrifies me every single time but I feel like I just had a particularly terrifying experience (It really made me not want to get back on a plane for a as long as possible!) and wanted to know just how irrational I am being...I chickened out on talking to the pilot when I saw him by baggage reclaim because I figure he'd want to go home but hopefully someone here may be able to help!
Before we started taxiing the captain introduced himself, then the first officer and then said that the first officer would be flying the plane, now, I know you need practice to move from first officer to captain so it's a bit unfair of me but I really prefer that the most experienced person is in charge but I just wish they hadn't told me! As we were taxiing he really didn't seem to get a hang of accelerating and we kept slowing and speeding up quite abruptly which made me question they amount he had flown before...again...I know everyone needs to practice but I would prefer I wasn't there for it! Anyway, we took off quite smoothly which was nice but about 2 minutes in, a really loud, grating noise came from the engine and lasted about 5 minutes...almost like a chainsaw. I've never heard that before and a lot of the other passengers were looking around, freaked out too! Would anyone know what that sound could've been?
We then proceeded to fly through an incredibly unpleasant jet stream, so everyone had to stay seated through the whole thing. So that isn't the pilots fault of course but he did keep extending the amount of time we'd be in it which as a nervous flyer didn't help me so much because every time his time limit ended and he got back on the loudspeaker I had a small heart attack (I tend to assume they're about to yell brace when they come on the loudspeaker (outside of just after take off and just before landing...) I would've much rather he'd just overestimated it and then we could've all been pleasantly surprised!
The landing was equally awful and what made it worse was that the first officer preceded it by saying it wasn't windy so I thought the landing would be easy. We looped a couple of times at a very bumpy level and then cabin lights got dimmer, cabin crew 10 minutes to landing, cabin crew seats for landing but we weren't getting any closer to landing! We kept slowing, accelerating, turning left, turning right, going up, going down for about 15 minutes and then finally when I really thought we were gone for we emerged through the clouds and I could at least see the ground but he continued with the speeding up, slowing down and the whole plane was banking strongly to each side over and over right up until we landed.
i'm here to tell the tale and i'm sure he's a great pilot and the problems were all physical things like wind, so i'm just wondering what was going on really...what was the noise during take off, why were we speeding and slowing so much, swerving etc. and why when he said cabin crew seats for landing it was at least another 10 minutes before we actually landed (and 25 mins after he said 10 mins to landing) as I would've thought by the point of that announcement we've got a landing slot we have to make.
Thank you in advance for any suggestions you might have and sorry for the mammoth post!
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:15 pm
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Seriously?

For a start: there are two pilots on the flight deck and both of them are flying the plane. Only one is "in command" at a time. A first officer isn't just "getting experience" at your expense- and the senior crew member was always helping to fly the aircraft.

The other stuff sounds like normal weather. Contrary to the United ads of the seventies and eighties in the US, you can't always fly "above the clouds".
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Allegra1986 View Post
Anyway, we took off quite smoothly which was nice but about 2 minutes in, a really loud, grating noise came from the engine and lasted about 5 minutes...almost like a chainsaw.
That noise probably did not come from the engine. By your description it sounds like the PTU (power transfer unit) for the hydraulics?
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:30 pm
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Well, yes seriously, I know my post may look laughable to some people but that's why a prefaced it by saying i'm terrified of flying and that I know my worries are probably irrational..I just wanted to get some thoughts of some things I haven't experienced before from people who fly a lot.

The comments about the first officer getting experience at my expense as you say, was said more in jest and I was just setting the context of me being a bit nervous as I was under the impression that he may be less experienced but apologies if it was in any way annoying or offensive.

As for flying above the clouds...my questions were not relating to the turbulence, as I said in the post, I know that's unavoidable and nothing to do with the pilot. I explained the flight in detail because I wanted to tell the whole story, that's all... but my questions were a) about the loud chainsaw noise after take off (as I said I fly 4 or 5 times per year and never heard it before and other people looked confused and scared too) and b) what was causing all the changes during landing/why would we land 25 minutes after the 10 minutes to landing call, don't we have a specific slot? and if so, does it mean that there was a problem and we missed it?
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Allegra1986 View Post
i want to start this post by pointing out that despite flying 4 or 5 times a year, I it absolutely terrifies me every single time but I feel like I just had a particularly terrifying experience (It really made me not want to get back on a plane for a as long as possible!) and wanted to know just how irrational I am being...I chickened out on talking to the pilot when I saw him by baggage reclaim because I figure he'd want to go home but hopefully someone here may be able to help!
Before we started taxiing the captain introduced himself, then the first officer and then said that the first officer would be flying the plane, now, I know you need practice to move from first officer to captain so it's a bit unfair of me but I really prefer that the most experienced person is in charge but I just wish they hadn't told me! As we were taxiing he really didn't seem to get a hang of accelerating and we kept slowing and speeding up quite abruptly which made me question they amount he had flown before...again...I know everyone needs to practice but I would prefer I wasn't there for it! Anyway, we took off quite smoothly which was nice but about 2 minutes in, a really loud, grating noise came from the engine and lasted about 5 minutes...almost like a chainsaw. I've never heard that before and a lot of the other passengers were looking around, freaked out too! Would anyone know what that sound could've been?
We then proceeded to fly through an incredibly unpleasant jet stream, so everyone had to stay seated through the whole thing. So that isn't the pilots fault of course but he did keep extending the amount of time we'd be in it which as a nervous flyer didn't help me so much because every time his time limit ended and he got back on the loudspeaker I had a small heart attack (I tend to assume they're about to yell brace when they come on the loudspeaker (outside of just after take off and just before landing...) I would've much rather he'd just overestimated it and then we could've all been pleasantly surprised!
The landing was equally awful and what made it worse was that the first officer preceded it by saying it wasn't windy so I thought the landing would be easy. We looped a couple of times at a very bumpy level and then cabin lights got dimmer, cabin crew 10 minutes to landing, cabin crew seats for landing but we weren't getting any closer to landing! We kept slowing, accelerating, turning left, turning right, going up, going down for about 15 minutes and then finally when I really thought we were gone for we emerged through the clouds and I could at least see the ground but he continued with the speeding up, slowing down and the whole plane was banking strongly to each side over and over right up until we landed.
i'm here to tell the tale and i'm sure he's a great pilot and the problems were all physical things like wind, so i'm just wondering what was going on really...what was the noise during take off, why were we speeding and slowing so much, swerving etc. and why when he said cabin crew seats for landing it was at least another 10 minutes before we actually landed (and 25 mins after he said 10 mins to landing) as I would've thought by the point of that announcement we've got a landing slot we have to make.
Thank you in advance for any suggestions you might have and sorry for the mammoth post!
Wow, you got it bad my friend when it comes to flying.
I would trust any BA crew with my life at any time. I have no doubt that what you went through was upsetting for you, but I would never expect any BA flight deck team to put any aircraft into a situation where it is not safe. BA crew just do NOT do that.
As for your comments about the first officer, don't automatically assume that just because a person is a first officer they are less experienced. I do not know this for a fact, but I assume that there will be FO's out there with many hours flying under their belts, who are sitting next to a captain who has less hours on that type of aircaft, or indeed less years actual flying. I also know that all flight deck crew are trained these days on something called cockpit resource management, where any flight deck member, no matter how "junior" they may be are trained to cross check what their companion is doing and are encouraged to highlight anything they think is not correct.
Finally don't also assume that something was wrong because you did not land in ten minutes after the announcement was made. It is almost certain that the reason that did not happen was because ATC changed the clearance given to your aircraft after the announcement was made, there was a sudden weather change, or another aircraft needed or was given priority over yours.

Last edited by G-BUSI; Jan 4, 12 at 6:36 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Allegra1986 View Post
b) what was causing all the changes during landing/why would we land 25 minutes after the 10 minutes to landing call, don't we have a specific slot? and if so, does it mean that there was a problem and we missed it?
Some of the possibilities:
Extra holding because another aircraft was slow to vacate the runway, etc
Extra holding because there was someone who suddenly needed to land before your plane
Extra holding because they changed the runway (they sometimes have to do this because of the wind direction, procedures, etc etc)
etc etc

There are numerous, completely benign reasons (as far as your flight is concerned) for taking longer to land than expected.

It does not mean that your plane had any problems at all.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:34 pm
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
That noise probably did not come from the engine. By your description it sounds like the PTU (power transfer unit) for the hydraulics?
Thank you for your reponse.

Possibly, what would that be for? The noise reoccured when we were accelerating and climbing slightly near landing too but only briefly, whereas during take off it lasted about 5/10 minutes. Would you ever find out if something had gone wrong on the plane if it wasn't obvious to the passengers (not that i'm suggesting it did, just curious)?
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Allegra1986 View Post
Possibly, what would that be for? The noise reoccured when we were accelerating and climbing slightly near landing too but only briefly, whereas during take off it lasted about 5/10 minutes. Would you ever find out if something had gone wrong on the plane if it wasn't obvious to the passengers (not that i'm suggesting it did, just curious)?
I was only guessing that it might have been the PTU based on your description of 'chainsaw noise', but since it happened during take off (I didn't read your post properly the first time - sorry!), it might not have been the PTU. In any case hydraulics on aeroplane relate to a lot of items. But even if it was the engine (they can also make some silly noises as well), it's extremely unlikely that there was anything substantially wrong with it.

If it was something serious, they would have returned to land instead of carrying onto LHR, so you would have found out. The pilots have all sorts of instrument monitoring the engines and other aircraft systems. It's extremely unlikely that there was anything seriously wrong with it, if anything at all.

Last edited by LTN Phobia; Jan 4, 12 at 7:25 pm
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:39 pm
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Originally Posted by G-BUSI View Post
Wow, you got it bad my friend when it comes to flying.
I would trust any BA crew with my life at any time. I have no doubt that what you went through was upsetting for you, but I would never expect any BA flight deck team to put any aircraft into a situation where it is not safe. BA crew just do NOT do that.
As for your comments about the first officer, don't automatically assume that just because a person is a first officer they are less experienced. I do not know this for a fact, but I assume that there will be FO's out there with many hours flying under their belts, who are sitting next to a captain who has less hours on that type of aircaft, or indeed less years actual flying. I also know that all flight deck crew are trained these days on something called cockpit resource management, where any flight deck member, no matter how "junior" they may be are trained to cross check what their companion is doing and are encouraged to highlight anything they think is not correct.
Finally don't also assume that something was wrong because you did not land in ten minutes after the announcement was made. It is almost certain that the reason that did not happen was because ATC changed the clearance given to your aircraft after the announcement was made or there was a sudden weather change.
Yes, I really do..I used to take valium beforehand but have recently been trying to fly without...maybe I need to switch back! Thank you for your answer, I know BA pilots are the best (which is why I try and always fly with them) but I figured if I sat and stewed on the flight I might avoid doing it next time...talking about it has definitely helped.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:45 pm
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
I'm only guessing that it might have been the PTU based on your description. I am not sure if that is what it was. Hydraulics on aeroplane relate to a lot of items.

If it was something serious, they would have returned to land, so you would have found out. It's extremely unlikely that there was anything seriously wrong with it, if anything wrong at all.
Thanks! That's very true, I just hate to hear unfamiliar noises while flying...maybe just something unique to the type of plane today and I haven't flown that type before
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:47 pm
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
That noise probably did not come from the engine. By your description it sounds like the PTU (power transfer unit) for the hydraulics?
That flight is an A321. The noise on climbout is the patented Airbus nasal whine -- perfectly normal.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Allegra1986 View Post
Thanks! That's very true, I just hate to hear unfamiliar noises while flying...maybe just something unique to the type of plane today and I haven't flown that type before
If you are a nervous flyer, you tend to hear things a lot more, precisely because you are nervous. Most noises on aeroplanes are completely benign, although they may sound quite disconcerting to you. You might like to listen to music on your headphones once it is permitted to use electronic devices after take-off and until you have to turn them off, to block out the noises to make you feel a bit better.

Still, the best course of action is to trust the pilots, particularly the very-well trained BA ones. They too have self-preservation instincts and would like to live a happy, safe life


Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
That flight is an A321. The noise on climbout is the patented Airbus nasal whine -- perfectly normal.
Ah, I never considered that noise to be a "chainsaw noise" - I call it the 'whine'. That's definitely completely normal then. I thought it was the "barking dog noise" that was described as "chainsaw noise" (until I read the OP's post properly and read that it happened during take-off during which I admit not having noticed the barking dog).

Last edited by LTN Phobia; Jan 4, 12 at 6:54 pm
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:58 pm
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I found a youtube clip of the noise here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiM8dF7VUOo

I guess what freaked me out the most was that it started a couple of minutes after takeoff, if it'd been from the beginning it would've felt ok...it almost sounded like the engines had started struggling but I guess I haven't flown on an airbus before, or not that model maybe?

I would listen to music but when i'm scared I feel the need to concentrate on the plane and keep it in the air with my mind, although after take off if, there's no turbulence I do generally calm down and function like a normal person!
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Old Jan 4, 12, 7:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Allegra1986 View Post
I found a youtube clip of the noise here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiM8dF7VUOo
It sounds worse than what it is, but it seems like just a louder version of the 'whine'.

If there is anything wrong with the engine or anything else important on the aeroplane, the cockpit indication makes it really obvious to pilots, and they will not have continued to their destination.


I would listen to music but when i'm scared I feel the need to concentrate on the plane and keep it in the air with my mind
Concentrating on the plane is how you frighten yourself (unless you are the pilot, of course). You need to distract yourself with something else. You can't keep the plane in the air with your mind (or body, for that matter) anyway, so you might as well try not to concentrate on it.

I would be worried about flying on some dodgy airlines but not with BA. They have what I believe to be some of the best-trained pilots - they even have first officers who have been examiners of pilots at other airlines. It's time to trust them a bit.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 7:15 pm
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
It sounds worse than what it is, but it seems like just a louder version of the 'whine'.

If there is anything wrong with the engine or anything else important on the aeroplane, the cockpit indication makes it really obvious to pilots, and they will not have continued to their destination.




Concentrating on the plane is how you frighten yourself (unless you are the pilot, of course). You need to distract yourself with something else. You can't keep the plane in the air with your mind (or body, for that matter) anyway, so you might as well try not to concentrate on it.

I would be worried about flying on some dodgy airlines but not with BA. They have what I believe to be some of the best-trained pilots - they even have first officers who have been examiners of pilots at other airlines. It's time to trust them a bit.
You're right. Thank you for humoring my mini meltdown, I shall get back on a BA plane soon!
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