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UA 777 dives within 800 ft after take off from Maui

UA 777 dives within 800 ft after take off from Maui

Old Feb 12, 2023, 4:34 pm
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UA 777 dives within 800 ft after take off from Maui

https://theaircurrent.com/aviation-s...22-close-call/
https://www.flightradar24.com/blog/u...ter-departure/
A United Airlines Boeing 777-200 came within around 800 feet of impacting the Pacific Ocean off the north coast of Maui shortly after takeoff on December 18. The occurrence, not previously reported, adds to a series of extremely serious safety incidents and major operational disruptions within the U.S. aviation system in recent weeks.

Flight 1722 from Maui to San Francisco left Kahului Airport at 2:49 PM Hawaiian time in stormy weather and initially appeared to climb normally. Granular data analyzed with Flightradar24 showed the aircraft reached roughly 2,200 feet before beginning a steep dive that, according to the tracking telemetry, reached a descent rate of nearly 8,600 feet per minute.

The aircraft quickly recovered, but not before descending below 775 feet. Two people familiar with the incident said the climb produced forces of nearly 2.7 times the force of gravity on the aircraft and its occupants as that steep descent transitioned to an 8,600 foot per minute climb. The entire incident appears to have stretched no more than 45 seconds and in between radio calls with air traffic controllers in Maui, according to LiveATC recordings reviewed by The Air Current.

The aircraft subsequently climbed to 33,000 feet and landed in California 27 minutes early after the 4-hour and 15-minute Pacific crossing.
A spokesman for United confirmed the incident and said after landing at SFO, a formal internal safety report was filed by the pilots and the aircraft was inspected before its next flight. ​​United then closely coordinated with the FAA and ALPA on an investigation that ultimately resulted in the pilots receiving additional training. Safety remains our highest priority, the spokesman said.

United said it did not report the incident to the National Transportation Safety Board. The airline considered the incident to not rise to the reporting criteria of the NTSB, which typically is necessitated by either damage to the aircraft or injuries sustained by passengers, crew or others on the ground. Neither was the case. The airline declined to say if the flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder were analyzed after the flight, though the CVR wouldve been overwritten by the two-hour recording duration.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 5:55 pm
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This is exactly what I wanted to read just a few days before I depart OGG on the same flight.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 6:11 pm
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I'd love to hear from a pilot's perspective if this could have just been an air pocket. Years ago when flying OGG-KOA-ORD we hit an air pocket on the climb that lost us a few hundred feet in a very short period of time. It was a "grab onto the arm rest for dear life" moment. On a side note, I cannot wait for the 77G to retire.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 6:14 pm
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Wouldn't you turn straight back to OGG if something like that happened? Just to be sure. This is beyond my expertise, but I'd have thought that unless it was a controlled and deliberate manoeuvre, you'd go back. Especially if the situation warranted an aircraft inspection later. Obviously a lot of missing information, but it strikes me as curious, at least.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 6:18 pm
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Originally Posted by cricketer
Wouldn't you turn straight back to OGG if something like that happened? Just to be sure. This is beyond my expertise, but I'd have thought that unless it was a controlled and deliberate manoeuvre, you'd go back. Especially if the situation warranted an aircraft inspection later. Obviously a lot of missing information, but it strikes me as curious, at least.
My thoughts exactly. If it was pilot error, then why the inspection after? If it wasn't pilot error, then it seems kinda reckless to have that happen and then feel confident enough to cross 4.5 hours of open ocean.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 6:43 pm
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Originally Posted by cricketer
Wouldn't you turn straight back to OGG if something like that happened? Just to be sure. This is beyond my expertise, but I'd have thought that unless it was a controlled and deliberate manoeuvre, you'd go back. Especially if the situation warranted an aircraft inspection later. Obviously a lot of missing information, but it strikes me as curious, at least.
If it was caused by weather, then going back is probably worse than continuing.

If it was caused by pilot error, then ... well ... the cockpit voice recorder data is overwritten after 2 hours ...
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 7:04 pm
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Originally Posted by cricketer
Wouldn't you turn straight back to OGG if something like that happened? Just to be sure. This is beyond my expertise, but I'd have thought that unless it was a controlled and deliberate manoeuvre, you'd go back. Especially if the situation warranted an aircraft inspection later. Obviously a lot of missing information, but it strikes me as curious, at least.
Depending on the indications, if any, it would be difficult to turn "straight back" -- carrying the fuel load for a long haul flight you'd likely be looking at dumping fuel for awhile to get landing weight down (there are some checklist items that call for an immediate landing) and running checklists, etc. -- so in the absence of a particular problem indication (or if an ready explanation, e.g weather) continuing may make the most sense. See for example the UA HNL-EWR 764 that had a flaps disagree relatively recently:

Originally Posted by Sykes
the cockpit voice recorder data is overwritten after 2 hours ...
Not completely accurate for many modern CVR -- the discreet channels (e.g. captain/FO/observer/CAM microphones independently) are recorded for the last two hours as a bare minimum, but a mix of audio channels is can be retained for far longer (20+ hours) -- and there's a push from ICAO and EASA to mandate 15-25 hour recording duration (not yet a regulatory requirement in the US).

(Filed under "things I've learned curing my insomnia by reading documents in NTSB docket filings)
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc
Depending on the indications, if any, it would be difficult to turn "straight back" -- carrying the fuel load for a long haul flight you'd likely be looking at dumping fuel for awhile to get landing weight down (there are some checklist items that call for an immediate landing) and running checklists, etc. -- so in the absence of a particular problem indication (or if an ready explanation, e.g weather) continuing may make the most sense. See for example the UA HNL-EWR 764 that had a flaps disagree relatively recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unOgFm3i6g0



Not completely accurate for many modern CVR -- the discreet channels (e.g. captain/FO/observer/CAM microphones independently) are recorded for the last two hours as a bare minimum, but a mix of audio channels is can be retained for far longer (20+ hours) -- and there's a push from ICAO and EASA to mandate 15-25 hour recording duration (not yet a regulatory requirement in the US).

(Filed under "things I've learned curing my insomnia by reading documents in NTSB docket filings)
Wouldn't HNL's 12,000 foot runways be able to handle a 777 with only 5 hours of fuel? Can't be anywhere close to max landing weight.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 7:12 pm
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I can't help but feel there have been an increasing number of close calls recently. Maybe I'm just paying more attention to the news, but similar stories seem to be becoming more common...
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 7:13 pm
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Clearly no one from FT was on that flight, or we would have heard about much sooner.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 7:34 pm
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I lived in Hawaii for 6 years in the late 90's and flew "Mahalo Air" back and forth from HNL-OGG many many many times. It was like a roller coaster for $18 one way. OGG has always been known to be a very rough airport for this type of thing, especially this time of year. Putting a runway between 2 mountain ranges and throw in some generally "Breezy" trade-winds and you have the recipe for this type of stuff. Now, add in the fact that Mahalo used ATR 42's and the overhead bins were shelves with a single piece of elastic (Think Greyhound bus) and on many landings things did jump out of the overhead bins on several occasions

I am not trying to make light of the situation, but I would imagine some form of it is pretty common this time of year. The topography of Maui in general and the location of the airport combined with the natural wind direction all come together to make it possible.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 7:38 pm
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Originally Posted by ZenFlyer
Clearly no one from FT was on that flight, or we would have heard about much sooner.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 8:02 pm
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The story appears to be based on ADS-B data only, is that correct? And yet it describes the aircraft as "diving", as in pitch down, which seems like sensationalism, given that loss of altitude and gain of ground speed is all that is known. Can a 777 actually pitch down and then climb again within 10-20 seconds (the duration of the episode shown in the flightradar24 plot)? Not minimising that it could be scary to experience, but I would guess the incident was a result of weather, and that it was not an equipment- or pilot-safety concern.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 8:30 pm
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800? Seems not a big deal. They lived.
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Old Feb 12, 2023, 8:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Sykes
.... well ... the cockpit voice recorder data is overwritten after 2 hours ...
... however the investigators were able to confirm that the first word spoken by captain was "oh ..."
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