21 January 2008

Heathrow crash landing

Shortly before 1pm on Thursday, British Airways flight BA38 made an emergency landing having just cleared Heathrow Airport's perimeter fence, landing on its undercarriage just short of the start of Terminal 4's runway.

An initial report from an anonymous source within BA was that the pilot had lost all power of the plane. Passengers described the landing as "a bit rough" but thought nothing of the experience.

Having waited for crash investigators to make preliminary investigations, findings have been revealed that show the plane's throttle did not receive additional thrust the pilot demanded 2 miles from the airport and as a result the plane entered the airport perimeter a lot lower than normal.

Captain Paul Birkill was immediately hailed a hero in ensuring all 152 passengers on board got off the aircraft alive and well. At the press interview the following day Captain Birkill revealed it was in fact his second-in-command at the controls, First Officer John Coward.

As for the results of the in-depth investigation thought to last for a period of up to two months, the findings are likely to totally exonerate any of the BA crew from wrong-doings or errors; BA would not have allowed the interview on Friday in front of the world's media if this was a possibility.

If the outcome of the investigation is that an electronic error within the plane -a Boeing 777 - was the cause, the potential for grounding all such types exists. Another theory is that fuel contamination was the cause - the plane had been fuelled in Beijing, from where it started its journey.