US Airways Flight 1408 engine failure (14-SEP-2006)


#1

I was on US AIR 1408 from SFO to CLT
on Thursday, September 14th, 2006.

We were diverted to Vegas when we lost
one of the engines over western Nevada.
(it was an Airbus A321)

This link below very clearly shows
the timeline and the path that our aircraft
followed going into Vegas.
flightaware.com/live/flight/USA1 … /KSFO/KCLT

This other web site lists all of the A321’s
operated by US Airways:
airfleets.net/flottecie/US%2 … e-a321.htm

Is there any way to determine the particular
A321 that was used for this particular flight?
I can’t seem to find an on-line database that
will show the registration number of the
actual equipment used for a particular flight.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.


#2

Easiest way is to just look at the tail number but can’t really do that now…


#3

There must be a database somewhere which logs tail numbers and/or in-flight incidents of this kind.


#4

From spotters.

Results for US1408 for the 14th of September 2006

N188US logged @ 07:26 GMT **1(615)

Key
615 = Denver - CO, USA ] (1)

Sub Key
1 = ACARS Report
2 = SelCal Report
3 = Visual Report
4 = Radar/Flight Plan
5 = Website
6 = SBS-1
NOTE - SBS Data is NOT 100% accurate and discrepancies
DO occur. If different data is listed from an SBS source
and a Non-SBS source, take the non-SBS source as the more
accurate of the two.


#5

I’ve used spotters many times but it has let me down a few times when I forget to get the tail number.


#6

How do you mean? Given a flight number and date, Spotters gives the Tail number as output.


#7

Sorry worded that a bit funny…

I took a few pics in flight and I forgot to get the tail number. So I tried their website and they didn’t have anything for that specific flight.


#8

I’ve always wondered how much the crew tells the passengers when something like this happens. Did everyone notice when one of the engines was shut down? How long after the event did the make an announcement, and did they just say they were diverting to Vegas without a reason or did they say they were flying on one engine?


#9

Let’s play “GUESS THAT ANSWER!!”

The general public? I don’t think most of the people I’ve ever flown with would know what was happening if one of the engines was ON FIRE; flames, smoke, and all. Perception seems to be a lost ability in modern times.

How long after the event did the make an announcement,

Probably as soon as the PIC caught his breath enough to speak, I’m guessing.

and did they just say they were diverting to Vegas without a reason or did they say they were flying on one engine?

I imagine it was something like "Folks, this is the captain speaking…We’ve got a liiiiiittttle teeny glitch going on, so we’re just gonna play it safe and land in Las Vegas, just to be safe. Nothing to worry about. [By the way, does anyone know how to fly a *crippled plane?]

Okay, so I was kidding in that last [sentence], but I’ll bet his words were quite similar to those leading up to that. I don’t think the crew would want the pax to know that they’re flying on 1 engine. Common sense and the ability to keep a “cool head” went out the window with perception, y’know. :wink:


#10

I don’t think most of the people I’ve ever flown with would know what was happening if one of the engines was ON FIRE; flames, smoke, and all. Perception seems to be a lost ability in modern times.

The cabin attendants will ask everyone to lower the window shades – either to allow passengers to sleep more peacefully or to get better contrast on the projection of the in-flight movie. :laughing:


#11

Well,

It sounds like some of you would like to know a bit more about the flight.

We took off out of SFO and began heading east over the mountains. Our pilot was actually one of the more talkative lot. He gave us a complete rundown of the various statistics associated with our flight. Very amusing and informative. The statistic about getting 2.3 gallons to the mile was the most memorable. The cabin crew were also quite experienced and professional.

Anyway, as you can see from the data on this web site, we ran into a bit of trouble at around 4:45 EST. I was sitting in seat 9F, right next to the exit door over the wing and right across from a “jump seat” used by a member of the cabin crew during takeoff and landing. I’m pretty certain that I heard the engine shut down…kind of hard to describe the sound, but sort of like the sound you would hear if you stuck a broom stick into a ceiling fan and gradually slowed it to a stop.

Immediately after whatever it was that I heard, the in-flight movie froze and soon after that, the cabin crew was told to stop beverage service. Folks around me asked the crew what was up, but they claimed not to know.

About 10 minutes later, our cheerful pilot announced quite bluntly that we had lost the number 2 engine and that we were going to land in Vegas. (Perhaps somebody can verify for me that when you are in seat 9F, you are next to the number 2 engine…I have no idea which engine is number 2, but it sure sounded to me like it was the engine right outside my window that was the one which quit.)

We then began our long slow descent down to Vegas over miles and miles of pretty much empty desert. People (including me) were a bit tense…I could see some folks breaking out in a sweat. One of the cabin crewmembers strapped into the jumpseat across from me to prepare for landing. Over the next 30 minutes, the crewmember told us stories about previous experiences with engine losses on earlier model airplanes from their earlier career and also that engine loss happens about once a week somewhere in the wide world of aviation. Don’t know if these stories were true or not, but they had a calming affect on the nearby passengers.

We flew over Vegas and then down south of Vegas where there is a lot of nothing. I assume that we dumped fuel at this point. The pilot then did a long slow 180 degree turn back towards Vegas and executed a perfect landing. The entire fire crew was there to greet us. The passengers applauded and pretty much everybody shook hands with one of the pilots on the way off the plane. The entire crew did a great job of handling the situation, and there was no panic or anything on the part of the passengers. Just grave concern.

I would say the only real difference flying with one engine rather than two is that whenever the plane encountered turbulence, there was a lot more side-to-side movement. Also, the long slow 180 turn near the end of the flight was subject to a bit more “shimmying back and forth” than normal. The airframe complained a bit during landing…I’m guessing there’s a bit more assymmetry in the forces it experiences during a single engine landing as opposed to a dual engine landing.

The only other difference flying with one engine is that you spend the rest of your flight really hoping and praying the other engine is having a good day.

That’s about it.


#12

So there wasn’t the sterotypical, “Put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye” kind of thing? I’m very dissapointed!
Interesting story fdalton, thanks.


#13

Eventualy you may be able to get the tail number from the NTSB site. Its usually a few weeks before they post the incidents.

ntsb.gov/ntsb/query.asp#query_start


#14

Engines are numbered from the left as you face the front of the aircraft. Seat 9F in the A321 would be next to the number 2 engine.

It’s great to be able to read a narrative like that provided by fdalton. What I’m about to write has no sarcasm in it whatsoever - it’s fantastic to be able to read a fairly long piece that has correct grammar, spelling, and whole sentences!


#15

Correct if you’re IN the aircraft facing forward, wrong if you’re outside the aircraft looking at it head-on!

Which did you mean?


#16

Good point. If you are inside the aircraft looking forward, the engines are numbered from the left to right.


#17

I responded but it got lost in cyberspace.

JHEM has a good point. I should have clarified that if you are inside the aircraft looking forward then engine 1 is on the left and the numbers get higher as you go to the right.


#18

demiross wrote:

it’s fantastic to be able to read a fairly long piece that has correct grammar, spelling, and whole sentences!

My 10th grade English teacher was an evil but very effective instructor.


#19

So,

Just noticed that our flight appears to have taken us just east of Area 51.

I guess the aliens didn’t give us clearance to land so we had
to head on to Vegas instead.

flightaware.com/live/flight/USA1 … S/tracklog

It also appears the aliens were jamming our transponder signal…

time LAT LONG SPEED ALTITUDE
04:57PM 38.32 -116.08 445 26300 descending
04:58PM 38.20 -116.05 396 24000 descending
05:19PM 36.32 -115.37 341 11900 descending
05:19PM 36.30 -115.35 340 11600 descending

…note how there is no data for the 20 minutes as we were passing by Area 51.


#20

Thanks for the interesting narrative, fdalton! I’m surprised it took 'em 10 minutes to announce the outage, but then I guess the crew has a lot to do when an engine quits. I guess they have to try a series of restart procedures, discuss a few “Plan B” scenarios, contact company dispatch and have a round of talks, and of course - not to mention - fly the plane.

I guess you have to be absolutely sure you’ve definitely lost your engine before freakin’-out the passengers by telling them that you’ve lost an engine, and I imagine it’s always good to let them know the flight’s gonna end a little bit early and they might be a little bit late in getting to where they’re going.

Interesting fact to know. I would think that this would lead to possible deadly confusion in maintenance and dispatching of the aircraft. Guy in cockpit says, “Starting number one,” while guy on the ground in front of his number two says, “OK!” and gets sucked in… :open_mouth: I guess you learn that stuff in “Baggage-Handling 101”.