1982 the lives of 263 people were at risk when all four engines on a British passenger plane flamed out, smearing the windscreen

2022-05-03 0 By

On June 24, 1982, a Boeing 747 took off from Heathrow airport in London, England, bound for Auckland International Airport in New Zealand.The accident happened at 20:40 Jakarta time as the plane was flying over the Indian Ocean.There was a sudden blue flame under the plane’s wings, and in an instant all four engines stopped.As the engines stopped, the plane plunged 10, 000 meters into the sky, closing in on its 263 passengers and crew.What fate awaits them?On June 24, 1982, British Airways Flight 9 (BA009) flew over Indonesia. Within hours, 263 people on board (248 passengers and 15 crew) would arrive safely at Australia’s transit airport.Flight 9 was a Boeing 747-236B aircraft with registration number G-BDXH.It was a literal voyage, with stops at airports in four countries: Mumbai, India; Chiang Rai, Thailand; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Perth and Melbourne, Australia.That’s why, at 7 p.m. on June 24, when Flight 9 landed at Kuala Lumpur airport, it had a “backup” pilot.The crew of British Airways Flight 9 was Captain Eric Moody, 41.The co-pilot was Roger Greaves, 32.Flight engineer BarryTownley-Freeman, 40.Captain Moody’s resume makes him look like he was born for aviation. He has been gliding since the age of 16. He is also one of the first 747 pilots to be trained to fly.Co-pilot Kevin, also a veteran pilot with six years and 5,800 flying hours, was on his first flight with Captain Moody.After Flight 9 passed over Jakarta, Captain Moody carefully checked the weather radar, which showed clear weather for the rest of the 400-kilometre journey before the next stop, Australia.Seeing nothing wrong, Captain Moody got up and went to the bathroom.Most of the passengers on the plane have been sitting for more than 20 hours of the plane, appear very tired, some closed their eyes, some sleepy, some have snored like thunder.No one could have imagined that a disaster was approaching them.A few minutes later, the captain came out of the bathroom, vaguely smelling a pungent smell in the cabin air.Could one of the passengers have accidentally lit a tinder?Or a passenger smoking a cigarette?He immediately became alert and began to search everywhere.To know that the plane is in the air, there is no emergency access, any small accident, will let people face disaster.Especially since smoking was not banned on airplanes at that time, there were frequent fires caused by smoking on airplanes.Around that time, a passenger was smoking a cigarette on board an Il-18 from the Lanzhou Municipal Administration in China, and his cigarette butt dropped on something flammable. The plane caught fire as it landed at Guangzhou baiyun Airport, killing 25 of the 69 people on board and injuring 37.Therefore, as a “battle-hardened” captain, he was always extra careful.The captain looked around and couldn’t find anything unusual.When he finally looked up at the ceiling of the plane, his head hit: there, at the northwest corner, was a cloud of smoke.No one smokes. Where does this smoke come from?At the same time, in the cockpit of the co-pilot Roger, also noticed this strange phenomenon, and he in the cockpit windshield, blue light.For a moment he panicked and gave the captain an inquiring look in surprise.Captain Moody, after all, had seen a lot of things and seemed to understand what was happening. He calmly told Roger, “This is St. Elmo’s Fire. It’s a coron-discharge phenomenon that occurs in severe weather during thunderstorms, on the tops of ships’ masts and even on the horns of cattle and sheep on the prairie.””Of course, this also happens when aircraft pass through lightning.”Roger opened his eyes wide. “But captain, it’s a beautiful day with no clouds in the sky. What’s the matter?”Lost for words, Captain Moody said, “Yeah, that’s weird, what the hell.”As they talked, the blue dots spread rapidly, enveloping the plane from all sides.Roger cried, “Oh, I’m blindfolded. I can’t see anything.”The front windshield of the plane became a blur.”Oh my God,” exclaimed flight engineer Barry Trefriman, “could it be the UFO, aliens?”Captain Moody smiled. “If aliens are going to attack us, why would they do it in such an old-fashioned way?We could have lost our radar, our engines, but now the radar is normal.”As they guessed, the smell in the air grew stronger and stronger, and everyone could smell what it was — sulfur.By this time, the cabin had been filled with the smell, all the passengers were in a panic, confusion, and the flight attendants tried to comfort them, but they could not find the right words.Before that, the flight attendants had made up a story to reassure passengers that the plane was now in the atmosphere, rubbing air to create some electrical sparks, which would disappear in a few minutes.But after a few minutes, the smell was still there, and it got stronger and stronger, and the flight attendant couldn’t justify it any more.Just as the flight attendant was wondering what reason to comfort the passengers, the plane began to shake violently, like an epileptic.Then a passenger pointed out and screamed, “Look, the plane is on fire!”The passengers followed his finger and saw that, sure enough, a fire had started on the wing.The pilot, Roger, shouted to the captain, “Captain, the engine is not working properly. It’s revving too fast.”Captain Moody made a quick adjustment, and the engine slowed down.After dozens of seconds, the pilot Roger shouted again: “Captain, the instrument is too slow, no, it has completely stopped!”The crew’s scalp was tingling and the air in the cabin was freezing.Then something even scarier happened — one of the engines began to burn.A few minutes later, the other three engines flamed.A plane without power, no longer able to maintain proper altitude, is no different from a glider.The tail of the plane dragged a long flame, terror, despair in the spread of the passengers, all people understand that the plane encountered a disaster, death is coming to them step by step, life into the countdown.The pilot Roger told the captain, “Captain, according to the data from the instruments, the plane will lose about 900 meters for every 14 kilometers. At this rate, we will glide another 140 kilometers before the plane crashes into the ocean. What should we do?”As he said this, his voice shook and his clothes were soaked with sweat.Captain Moody was unhurried and strangely calm, as if what was happening had nothing to do with him.He tells himself that the lives of the plane and its passengers are in his hands.If you mess up, we’re all screwed.Unperturbed, he put on headphones, adjusted the microphone, and contacted air traffic control on the ground again and again.The plane’s emergency power supply enabled the captain to communicate with the control tower on the ground in Jakarta.After the ground control in Jakarta learned the news, it immediately carried out emergency consultations and decided to arrange for the take-off and landing of flight 009 to land at the Jakarta airport.A moment later, pilot Roger shook his head to the captain and said, “No, at the current glide speed, if we can’t reach the airport, the plane will hit the ground.”The captain stumped, but he told himself to be calm. He gestured for Roger to get up and got into the driver’s seat.Captain Moody calmly turned the plane around and tried to restart the engine. Once the plane regained power, everyone would be safe.However, after several attempts, his efforts failed and the engine did not respond.At the same time, the plane was losing altitude and, to make matters worse, slowing down as it lost power.Captain Moody remained outwardly calm, but his palms began to sweat and he was shaking slightly.He tried to Angle the plane, to balance it, to pull the nose up, but all his efforts failed.After the plane’s engines stalled, the power system in the cabin stopped working, and the airspeed indicator failed completely.The pilot’s own experience in judging what the speed is, is obviously not reliable.At this time of the plane, become a broken kite, the plane as airflow and non-stop fluctuations, the captain’s forehead constantly out of cold sweat.Things were worse in the cabin, with the cries of children and the screams of women and old men.As the engine stalled and the system ran out of power, oxygen masks could not be ejected from the roof of the cabin, so flight attendants had to immediately remove them manually.The flight attendant then patiently explained how to put on the oxygen mask.In fact, the flight attendants knew that the oxygen masks were useless because the plane had lost power and its oxygen system had failed.But for now, teaching people to wear oxygen masks will at least provide comfort, calm people down and make them less fearful.Captain Moody, now drenched and on the verge of collapse, saw the pilot, Roger, take out a pen and paper and start writing a suicide note.After listening for a moment he looked up and asked the captain, “If you want to say something, I’ll write it for you.”The captain said to Roger, “Dear Jenny, take care of yourself and our baby.And be kind to my old mother.”Speaking of mother, Captain Moody’s strength came, as if he were a changed man.Father died in World War II, when they married for two years, mother put up with all kinds of hardships to raise herself, without him, mother would be lonely in her old age.At the same time, he thought and blamed himself. There were so many passengers on the plane. They had sons and mothers.No, I have to live and save the passengers, Captain Moody told himself.He pulled himself together like a new man and began to try again and again to restart the engine.Based on the approximate time when the plane hit the ground, the plane had up to seven chances to restart.After six restarts, the engine still wouldn’t budge.The captain told the pilot: “Tell the flight attendants, give the passengers life jackets, inform the passengers, tell them not to panic, get prepared, the plane is about to crash land in the sea.”Having said that, the captain did not give up and was making his last effort.What if the miracle doesn’t happen, the engines don’t restart, the last hope of landing on the sea is extinguished, and the plane will crash into the ocean at high speed, killing everyone?It’s just a beautiful imagination.With this in mind, Captain Moody made a final attempt to restart the plane’s engines.With all his might and gritted teeth, the captain pressed the ignition button. Five seconds later, the plane shuddered and the pilot, Roger, exclaimed, “Captain, the engines are starting.”He hugged the pilot from behind.Soon, one by one, the other engines returned to normal.”Ladies and gentlemen,” she said, sobbing and her voice shaking, “the plane’s engines are running normally. We apologize for causing you any distress.”With that, a cheer broke out in the cabin and the passengers, whether they knew each other or not, hugged each other.Once the plane was in normal operation, the captain quickly climbed the plane to an altitude of 5,000 meters and headed for Jakarta airport.When he landed at the airport, the front windshield of the cabin had been coated with something that made it impossible to see anything. Captain Moody had to slow down, look through a thin crack in the side, and finally land the plane safely on the runway under the control of the tower.The doors opened, the passengers disembarked one by one, and the flight attendants counted them. No one was missing, and everyone was safe.It was several minutes before Captain Moody was helped down the gangway by pilot Roger. The landing had exhausted all his strength.When the plane landed, he collapsed in the cockpit, unable to get up.All the passengers lined up on the tarmac to pay tribute to the heroic Captain Moody.News of flight 9’s narrow escape was quickly captured by the media, and speculation about what went wrong was rife.There was no hijacking, no lightning, why did all four engines fail at the same time?Soon, a joint investigation team of Boeing engineers and airlines was formed, and after careful investigation, they came to a surprising conclusion: volcanic ash was the culprit.Led by Indonesian authorities, they were working overtime to clean up the ash from mount Galungaon, in western Java, shortly after it erupted.The resulting ash was blown about 13,000 meters into the air and rubbed against the fuselage for a long time, resulting in the electrical discharge.To make matters worse, the plane’s engines also sucked in ash, causing temperatures inside to soar.Volcanic ash also found its way into the fuel tank, eventually blocking the pipeline and shutting down the engine.Why did the engine come back on?It turned out that after the aircraft lost power, the altitude kept falling, the engine stopped working, the internal temperature naturally decreased, and a large amount of ash attached to the fuselage was also blown away by the airflow, and gradually fell off.With the unremitting efforts of the captain, the plane’s engines finally started, and we saved the day.This incident has also brought a profound lesson to the world’s airlines, we began to beware of volcanic ash this invisible killer, aircraft before taking off along the route there is no volcanic eruption and ash, also become the first issue airlines consider.The brave captain who saved the plane and its passengers was rewarded by the airline and kept his record of safe flying until his retirement.