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2 Answers

747 emergency cockpit procedures

Asked by: 2618 views Commercial Pilot

Can a 747 fly with a 30-foot long, ceiling-high hole in the forward fuselage, and if so, is this a plausible reaction (and terminology) in the cockpit to the explosive decompression:

The door clicked shut and the four remaining men turned forward. A heartbeat later the first thud came, very loud, shaking the plane. A second thud followed almost immediately, this one muffled, then a staccato banging, like a wooden spoon being slapped hard against a pan bottom.

“What the hell was that?” Captain Agom barked. The nose pitched downward, slamming him to his knees and into the back of the seat.

Zach was pressed hard against his harness. He stared at the glowing panel in front of him. In the vertigo of the moonless night he knew only what the instruments told him: they were pointed at the ocean and going way too fast. He fixed his mask in place and checked the flow of oxygen. Cabin pressure was gone and the aircraft was shaking badly. Something was very wrong. He looked to his left: “Sir?”

Captain Agom was still on his knees. He gripped the armrest and stared blankly out the windscreen.

“Sir! Please,” Zach said.

“Get it back.”

“Yes, sir.” Zach braced his feet and tugged hard on the stick.

“You are taking us down, asshole. Pull up!”

“Sir, I try–”

“What shit are you doing? Go up!”

“It is very heavy, sir.”

“Can you both try?” blurted Zach’s 19-year old nephew, fresh from flight school in America and a guest in the jumpseat, too green to know the protocol.

An alarm blared. “Why is that sound?” the Captain snapped, struggling into his seat.

“It’s the overspeed warning, sir,” said Zach.

“I know what it is, jackass. Why is it sounding?”

“We are going too fast,” the nephew said.

“And the hydraulics are gone, sir,” Zach said quickly, battling the yoke and hoping to deflect attention from the boy. “We have almost no pressure.”

“The hydraulics are fuck off?”

“Yes sir. We are dropping rapidly. Have you got the stick?” The man was just sitting there doing nothing!


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2 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Aug 02, 2012

    Why would the airplane lose hydraulics in an explosive decompression and why would the autopilot command a nose low attitude?

    A more plausible scenario for your book would be to have the explosive decompression followed by confusion in the cockpit due to the sudden loss of visibility (the air is expanding so quickly they make fog / clouds). The first officer realizes what happens and puts his mask on and the captain incorrectly pitches the airplane down and loses consciousness due to not getting his mask on while slumping forward in his chair locking the controls in a downward attitude.. The first officer then must pull the captain back in his chair and lock his harness so he can freely move the flight controls to regain control of the flight.

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  2. Brian on Aug 03, 2012

    Sounds a lot like an over exaggeration of United flight 811. To refresh, this flight was a 747 that lost a side section of the fuselage and 9 passengers were sucked out at some twenty thousand feet. As I recall the hydraulics may have been damaged and two of the engines were damaged resulting in a landing without incident, but without full flaps.

    Maybe someone here is better read up than myself and can shed some light.

    Either way, I agree with Wes, it’s a a pretty silly scenario. American airlines flight 191 would be a better fit for discussing hydraulic failure during a catastrophic event.

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