Question for 737-200 pilots

If you had an engine failure at wheels up, what reason would make you decide to NOT climb, make a series of short duration steep turns to come back to the runway and then land?

I’m not a 737-200 driver, but I would assume that it might be VMC. In that case I would climb to pattern altitude (1500agl in a jet) and return to the field and land. The turns may appear steep, but I would only bank 15.

Also possible the airline has an escape maneuver that they can do with a given weather. Often times these maneuver aren’t published, and are only available to the company. It’s possible that this maneuver allows them to return and land.

NetJets has a maneuver like this out of KASE. It requires 3 heading changes (turns) and then a hold. If you return to KASE v. KRIL you will make 2 more turns, which will be low level.

Thanks for the reply. This happened at Deadhorse Alaska. IT’s flatter than Kansas and about 20 feet above sea level, no tall buildings, no trees and no other aircraft around at the time. Weather was bright and sunny, 50 F, light breeze. The planes altitude was between 200 - 400 feet agl during the whole incident. ( according to an email from the company.) The mounting for the engine nose cone broke and went through the engine.

Well that’s bad :open_mouth:

In a case like that - who knows what it did aerodynamically. Also flat and clear, I guess you can do what you want (after all it is an emergency). Personally if I could I think I would have climbed to 1500’. Altitude below you is a good thing when it’s an emergency.

Just glad they made it back in.

Welcome to FA BTW.

God Bless.

Ya, that’s what my buddies thought too…they especially didn’t like it when the flight attendants started shouting “heads down, grab ankles” over and over again for the 12 minutes it took to land again. :open_mouth:

Thanks for the Welcome. :smiley:

Remember the United plane in Chicago where one engine ripped off of the wing, tearing out the hydraulics and changing the right vs. left wing aerodynamics. It was a clear day and the plane was flying ok, but their emergency procedure called to pull up and climb at best rate. That stalled one wing and the plane rolled over and crashed. I’m told that United changed their procedure to say that if the plane is flying in a situation like that, the crew should not change attitude unless necessary. Since this plane was in a similar unknown aerodynamic situation, not climbing may have been the right thing to do.

Think you mean American flight 191

In that accident the slats retracted as the hydraulic fluid leaked out, thus raising the stall speed of that wing. That would really screw things up. but from the cockpit they wouldn’t have known exactly what happened, a V2 climb is still prudent. Add to that the electrical malfunctions in that case also caused the stall warning and slat mis-compare to fail. That crew had little if any chance. That I know of American (or United) didn’t change anything in the flying of the aircraft b/c of that accident. They did make radical maintenance changes though. All the performance numbers single engine (or 2 engine in a 3 engine a/c) are based on climbing at V2. So even at a speed higher then V2, if the flaps are still at take off, speed should be reduced to V2 for the rest of this climb.

Since this plane was in a similar unknown aerodynamic situation,

Not really. They had an engine failure because of FOD (or the nose cone coming off). In 191’s case they lost the whole engine and allot of other systems. Maybe the 737 pilots tried to climb and it didn’t feel right, so they elected to stop the climb and keep the speed up. I can’t say, I wasn’t there.

It’s like I tell my clients. I don’t care why the plane crashed, somehow it’s your fault. At the very least, you chose to fly that day.

If you had an engine failure at wheels up, what reason would make you decide to NOT climb, make a series of short duration steep turns to come back to the runway and then land?<<

I am a former 737-200 pilot and currently a 737-300/400 pilot with extensive experience as a Captain and a First Officer. I have flown almost 17000 flight hours. I am type-rated in four different air transport jets.

I hope I correctly understand exactly what it is you are asking. The answer to your question is to ask one’s self if the need to be on the ground is greater than the need to be in the air. And there isn’t much that fits into the category of “gotta get it back on the ground right now”.

In most cases, it is almost always safer to be in the air and at a safe altitude while handling a problem. In addition, you’re going to need time to run the checklists and communicate with ATC, flight attendants, passengers and your company. Among other obvious benefits, you will keep those FA’s from reciting a brace command when it is not needed.



Thanks Mike, what keeps crossing my mind is maybe that thing wasn’t capable of climbing at the time. People who were sitting near or behind the engines say the remaining engine was really howling…at least as loud as on take-off or maybe more. If the craft is in proper shape, it should be able to climb on one engine, right?

Of course we’re not pilots…only oilfield workers and we don’t really know what was going on in the cockpit, I just don’t trust the companies “every things OK and it is no big deal” mantra. :open_mouth:


Was this airplane being operated by an airline or was it a charter or a corporate plane?

It would be very unlikey the aircraft would not be able to climb on one engine and yes, the operating engine is gonna be very loud.

If the airplane was properly loaded, it should climb very well on one engine. However, there are many factors to consider on how well. Which engines were on the aircraft, how heavy was the aircraft, was it properly loaded, what was the elevation of the airport, was it a hot or cold day, what was the airplane’s speed and altitude when the engine quite, etc.

This is just a guesstimate but assuming near standard weather, at a 1000 foot elevation, and a medium load on the airplane, the crew should have been able to get a 500-800 fpm climb on one engine, possibly way more. Again, it depends on many factors

There are more than a few variations of the 737-200. The differences usually come down to engine size and avionics packages.

I have flown -9, -15 variations of the aircraft. The dash refers to the engine series in the PW PT8D engine line. The higher the dash number the bigger the engine. Pratt even make a -17 PT8D but I don’t know if it was ever used on a 737 (it was on the MD80 and the 727).

IMHO, The -9 airplanes were pigs, comparatively speaking. They were Jet airplane performance mind you, but still pigs. On the other hand and again comparatively speaking, the -15’s were hot rods.

I have been single engine in the 737-200 with the -9 engines and a full boat in the back. It was a precautionary engine shutdown at around 21,000. The airplane handled very nicely with no problems. We landed in Cleveland, OH. But that is a little different that losing one take off.



Hi Mike, it is basically a charter service and it is ran by BP and ConocoPhillips.

The airport elevation is about 20 feet above sea level, the temp was about 50F, bright and sunny, light breeze. It had 108 people on it, not sure about how much fuel or cargo. I’ll have to find out which engine it has.

The engine had several compressor stalls at 200 feet, the plane got as high as 400 feet, the pilots shut the engine down. Ended up being and engine nosecone mounting broke and it went through the engine. The chief pilot emailed that the whole incident happened between 200 and 400 feet and it flew for 12 minutes at that altitude while they came back around to land.

Well, I don’t want to “arm-chair quarterback” cause I wasn’t there but I am pretty sure I would have done things a little differently. But again, I wasn’t there.


Thanks Jmike. :smiley:

You bet Greg, any time.




Western Airlines had three B737-200 “Advance” aircraft prior to the introduction of the B737-300 series in 1984 - and the WA/DL merger. The tail numbers were 231, 232 and 235. 235 was delivered in the polished aluminum livery and was nick-named “Bud Light.”

Those aircraft were a welcome addition to the -15 fleet - particularly for Jackson Hole, WY (JAC) operatons.

I just happened upon this website and thought I’d chime in.


In that flight, I believe it was the reduction back to V2 that caused the wing to stall (combined with slats retracting). Had they kept the higher power setting they would have maintained lift.

Hey Joe,

Yeah, this is a really great website! I use it all the time to track flights.

I don’t spend much time in the forums but did happen across this thread and thought I would chime in.

The early 737-300’s were nice airplanes but in many ways I really did enjoy the 737-200’s with -15 engines more.



That is true (not power, but rather kept the speed up), but the fact remains that the memory items for an engine failure require the crew to reduce to or fly at V2. It’s easy to arm chair this, but crews spend entire carriers being drilled on flying V2. It was the right thing to do. Read up on the accident and you’ll find that very few sim crews saved the airplane also. It was just on of those freak things, if it had been a normal engine failure, as it appeared in the cockpit, V2 was the correct action to take. I believe no blame was placed on the crew. In any case it would be human instinct to pull back and try to get altitude below you. The higher you are the more time (and space) you have to sort things out.

I sucks when you do everything right and still don’t make it. LINK TO El Al 1862, this flight lost on engine (as in off the aircraft) and lost control in a similar manner. As they slowed the aircraft became less responsive. There was a “Seconds from Disaster” about this crash but I couldn’t find, video.

The failure of the nosecone ended up being because the bolts on it had been over torqued. sheesh