August 3, 2005 | Mark Paradies

An Unscheduled Refueling Stop

Look at this engine…The aircrew obviously had more balls than brains. Hard to believe anyone would take off with an engine in this condition.


Read the rest of the story inside!

This is an excellent example of why any prudent traveler should generally stick with North American carriers, Western European carriers and a few other carriers like Qantas, Air New Zealand,and Singapore.


A pilot for a XXXXX carrier requested permission and landed at FRA (Frankfurt, Germany) for an unscheduled refueling stop. The reason became soon apparent to the ground crew: The Number 3 engine had been shut down because of excessive vibration, and because it didn’t look so good. It had apparently been no problem for the tough guys back in XXXXX: they took some sturdy straps and wrapped them around several of the fan blades and the structures behind, thus stopping any unwanted windmilling (engine spinning by itself due to airflow passing thru the blades during flight) and associated uncomfortable vibration caused by the suboptimal fan.


Note that the straps are seatbelts….how resourceful! (Besides the seatbelts, notice the appalling condition of the fan blades.)

After making the “repairs”, off they went into the wild blue yonder with another revenue-making flight on only three engines! With the increased fuel consumption, they got a bit low on fuel, and just set it down at the closest airport for a quick refill. That’s when the problems started: The Germans, who are kind of picky about this stuff, inspected the malfunctioning engine and immediately grounded the aircraft.

The airline operator had to send a chunk of money to get the first engine replaced (took about 10 days) The repair contractor decided to do some impromptu inspection work on the other engines, none of which looked all that great either.

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