Emergency landing - Flight 3235 on 8/2 - horrible FA performance

Old Aug 9, 13, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by TimesTwo View Post
Don't planes have backup hydraulics?
The problem is that loss of a single main hydraulic system can leave some controls without a back-up source of hydraulic power so the FAA mandates landing at the nearest suitable airport. Think of it like engines on a twin-engined airplane - certification standards ensure that the plane will fly pretty well after loss of one engine. But with no back-up to loss of the 2nd engine a landing is required after losing the 1st engine.

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Old Aug 9, 13, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by socalterp View Post
...the two FAs on the plane were a mess. One of them, who was manning the PA system, literally sounded like she was going to burst into tears. The other was running madly up and down the aisle, berating passengers who had questions, etc... and generally looked panicked and at a loss for what to do. Definitely not calm or professional...
I'm disappointed to read this but thoroughly unsurprised. One of commercial aviation's dirty little secrets, which the flight attendants' union prefers not to discuss, is the frequency with which FAs freeze up, break down, or freak out in even moderately difficult situations.

I have read a lot of official accounts of inflight emergencies and it is disturbing to see how often passengers report an FA, or FAs, become useless or actively make things worse.

I recall a news account some years ago of a mainline US flight making an emergency landing owing to partial hydraulic failure, maybe a 3 or 4 on the 1-to-10 scary scale. It landed OK, but passengers told the press afterwards the stress was made much worse by a lead FA who was trying to do the brace-position drill over the PA, but was sobbing so hard she could barely get the words out. Those folks thought they were fine until their "safety professional" left them terrified and thinking they could die.

I know it's impossible to gauge FAs' reactions to real stress until something real happens, but I would never count on one in an emergency, and I take a real dim view of all their cocky "we're here to save your a$$, not kiss it" talk given their known crackup rate.
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Old Aug 9, 13, 11:30 am
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The lady behind me tried to ask one of the FAs a question...and before she could even get the question out, the FAs response was "That's the least of my concerns right now" and kept storming down the aisle.

Captain mentioned that the E170 had great short field capabilities, and once I heard the gear go down, I felt pretty good about the situation. The captain later said that this was something they practiced, and that he had done it before, and the landing happened just like in the simulator.
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Old Aug 9, 13, 1:20 pm
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My wife was in first class and said the FA there was fine. She thought the situation was handled well. US Airways rolled out another plane pretty fast and they were on their way to Burlington. She thought this was done because Senator Leahy was on the plane. My wife could not refrain from giving him an Obamacare crack upon landing in Burlington though.
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Old Aug 11, 13, 12:13 am
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Well, I can certainly attest to less than optimal FA response in the one true emergency situation that I was in. In 1990, I was on a NW flight that had blown tire on takeoff and a piece of the tire was sucked into one of the engines. Despite the fact that the plane was flying normally (albeit with one very LOUD engine), 2 FA's ran from the front of the Y cabin to the back and never returned before we landed.

This action was immature, alarming, and clearly violated FAA rules (since their assigned emergency exits remained unstaffed for an emergency landing). I didn't bother writing the FAA, but I probably should have.
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Old Aug 12, 13, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by dcpatti View Post
OP, I would hope that you'd report this to US along with posting it here. Whether or not the FA's are competent is not really the issue; it's the appearance of competence projected (because it's very hard to truly know how competent someone is; we can just judge off of what we see outwardly). You can be the most capable, level-headed, well-trained person in the world but if you lose your composure in an intense situation, not only does it diminish your image and cause people to lose faith in you, but it affects the way the people around you will handle themselves. Act calm, cool and collected, and your passengers are more likely to act the same way.

If the way the FA's handled the emergency landing caused you to question their ability to respond to a worst-case scenario, then that really needs to be handled more formally than just in this forum.
Respectfully, whole-heartedly disagree. Competence absolutely can be ascertained by observing their performance! I posit the deciding factor for competence in a situation such as OPs, would be remaining CALM. certainly these FAs failed in that regard.
Not sure what inward competence is. If you don't perform, than you are not competent in that situation.
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Old Aug 12, 13, 6:57 pm
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Since there is so much disagreement, the various parties should simply report their observations to the appropriate federal authorities. The banter from friends of the f/a's and those opposed will never be resolved here!
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