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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

"Glider Operations At Heathrow"

Boeing 777 - A Modern Miracle

On The Scene at Heathrow, UK

Feature Date: Jan. 17, 2008

Event Date: Feb. 3, 2008

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"Explorer Ship Down" - M/V Explorer - Nov. 2007

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"A Day A The Beach - M/V APL Panama - Jan. 2006

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M/V OOCL America - Feb. 2000

M/V APL China - world's greatest container disaster - Nov. 1998

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.....See Them All ....The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss


"Glider Operations At Heathrow"

Boeing 777 - A Modern Miracle

On The Scene At

Heathrow, UK

A Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

The Date: Jan. 17, 2008

The Time: 1243 Hours

The Place: Heathrow Int'l Airport, UK


Boeing 777 In The Service of British Air

The Tripple 7 In Better Days - Never Before A Crash

The Flight of BA038 Is Going To Be One of The Aviation Stories of All Time.


Overall length - 209 ft 1 in (63.7 m)

Tail Height - 60 ft 9 in (18.5 m)

Fuselage Width - 20 ft 4 in (6.19 m)

Maximum cabin width - 19 ft 3 in (5.86 m)

Cargo Capacity - 5,302 ft©¯ (150 m©¯)

Seating Capacity - 301 (3-class) / 400 (2-class)

Wingspan (geometric) - 199 ft 11 in (60.9 m)

Wing Sweep In Degrees - 31.64

On This - Flight BA 038 - Jan. 17 2008:

Registration - Tail Number G-YMMM

Passengers: 136 - 9 injured - 1 serious

Crew: 16 - 4 injured


Engines - Rolls-Royce - 2 Trent 895

Engine Thrust Range (x2) - RR: 95,000 lbf (420 kN)

Cruising Speed - 0.84 Mach (560 mph, 905 km/h / 490 knots) at 35,000 ft cruise altitude

Maximum Cruise Speed - 0.89 Mach (587 mph, 945 km/h, 510 knots) at 35,000 ft cruise altitude

Maximum Payload Range - 5,800 nm (10,740 km)

Maximum Range - 7,700 nm (14,260 km)

Takeoff run at MTOW ISA+15 MSL - 11,600 ft (3,536 m)

Service Ceiling - 43,100 ft (13,140 m)


Empty Weight - 315,000 lb (142,900 kg)

Maximum Takeoff Weight - 656,000 lb (297,560 kg)

Maximum Fuel Capacity - 45,220 US gal (171,160 L)

The Boeing 777 - First Incident

PROLOG >> There never has been a crash of a Boeing 777 -- the American long-range, wide-body twin-engine airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The world's largest twinjet and commonly referred to as the Triple Seven, she can carry between 301 and 368 passengers in a 3-class configuration and has a range from 5,235 to 9,450 nautical miles (9,695 to 17,500 km). She has the largest diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft in history -- and has given distinguished service since 1995. She is the first twin engine craft licensed for trans-Atlantic flights.

The 777 was the first commercial aircraft to be designed entirely on computer.

In Oct. 1990, United Airlines became the launch customer.

The 777's first commercial flight took place on June 7, 1995 from London's Heathrow Airport to Washington Dulles Airport for United Airlines.

The 777 record has been unblemished for over 11 years.

No 777 had ever crashed -- until January 17 2008.

The 777 began career at Heathrow Airport -- and suffered her first crash --also at Heathrow Airport on January 17 2008 --

Flight BA 038 -- Jan. 17 2008 -- Following an uneventful flight from Beijing, China, the Boeing 777 aircraft -- Tail Number G-YMMM-- was established on an ILS approach to Runway 27L at London Heathrow. Initially the approach progressed normally, with the Autopilot and Autothrottle engaged, until the aircraft was at a height of approximately 600 ft and 2 miles from touch down. The aircraft then descended rapidly and struck the ground, some 1,000 ft short of the paved runway surface, just inside the airfield boundary fence. The aircraft stopped on the very beginning of the paved surface of Runway 27L.

During the short ground roll the right main landing gear separated from the wing and the left main landing gear was pushed up through the wing root. A significant amount of fuel leaked from the aircraft but there was no fire. An emergency evacuation via the slides was supervised by the cabin crew and all occupants left the aircraft, some receiving minor injuries.

The UK Dept. of Transport, Air Accident Investigations Branch and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will now flush out the many rumored causes -- such as fuel starvation & computer error. Why did Flight BA038 suddenly drop from the sky?

As for me, there have been many content hours spent aboard the Boeing 777. Mr. Boeing's airplanes have been protecting the flying public for about 80 years and there will be many happy years to come.

Great thanaks & praise for First Officer John Coward of British Airways. The Flight of BA038 Is Going To Be One of The Aviation Stories of All Time. A miracle.

Michael S. McDaniel - Your Editor

Emergency Services Sprayed Tail Number G-YMMM With Special Foam To Stop Outbreak of Fire.

The B-777 Has "Landed" Well Short of The Airport

UK Department of Transport - Air Accident Investigations Branch - Jan. 18 2008
The AAIB was notified of the accident within a few minutes and a team of Inspectors including engineers, pilots and a flight recorder specialist deployed to Heathrow. In accordance with the established international arrangements the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the USA, representing the State of Design and Manufacture of the aircraft, was informed of the event. The NTSB appointed an Accredited Representative to lead a team from the USA made up of investigators from the NTSB, the FAA and Boeing. A Boeing investigator already in the UK joined the investigation on the evening of the event, the remainder of the team arrived in the UK on Friday 18th January. Rolls-Royce, the engine manufacturer is also supporting the investigation, an investigator having joined the AAIB team.

Activity at the accident scene was coordinated with the Airport Fire and Rescue Service, the Police, the British Airports Authority and British Airways to ensure the recovery of all relevant evidence, to facilitate the removal of the aircraft and the reinstatement of airport operations.

The flight crew were interviewed on the evening of the event by an AAIB Operations Inspector and the Flight Data Recorder (FDR), Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Quick Access Recorder (QAR) were removed for replay. The CVR and FDR have been successfully downloaded at the AAIB laboratories at Farnborough and both records cover the critical final stages of the flight. The QAR was downloaded with the assistance of British Airways and the equipment manufacturer. All of the downloaded information is now the subject of detailed analysis.

Examination of the aircraft systems and engines is ongoing.

Initial indications from the interviews and Flight Recorder analyses show the flight and approach to have progressed normally until the aircraft was established on late finals for Runway 27L. At approximately 600 ft & 2 miles from touch down, the Autothrottle demanded an increase in thrust from the two engines but the engines did not respond. Following further demands for increased thrust from the Autothrottle, and subsequently the flight crew moving the throttle levers, the engines similarly failed to respond. The aircraft speed reduced and the aircraft descended onto the grass short of the paved runway surface.

The investigation is now focussed on more detailed analysis of the Flight Recorder information, collecting further recorded information from various system modules and examining the range of aircraft systems that could influence engine operation. 

The Flight of BA038 Is Going To Be One of The Aviation Stories of All Time.

Tail Number G-YMMM -- "Lands" Well Short of Heathrow

Co-pilot John Coward, who had the controls at the time of the accident, said in an interview with Sky News that he had tried everything he could to keep the plane in a straight line and said he "feared catastrophe."

Coward said the landing "wasn't just one thud but a series of thuds." The emergency landing was followed by "an eery silence," Sky News cited Coward as saying. Then, he heard the Cabin crew evacuating passengers as panic set in.

Remarkable Job By First Officer John Coward

Pilot Peter Burkill said Coward did "a remarkable job" landing the plane. Burkill, speaking at a news conference Jan. 18 before the investigation report was released, declined to talk about the cause. He credited his crew and passengers for clearing the plane quickly and limiting injuries, saying travelers showed "calmness and good sense."

As the Boeing Co. 777 aircraft made its final landing approach, "the autothrottle demanded an increase in thrust from the two engines, but the engines did not respond," the investigating agency said Jan. 18. Information from the flight data and voice recorders showed that attempts by the pilots to increase power manually also failed.

The power failure occurred "at about 600 feet and two miles from touch down," the agency said. "The investigation is now focused on more detailed analysis of the flight recorder information," as well as examination of aircraft systems and the plane's two Trent 895 engines, manufactured by Rolls-Royce Group Plc.

The weather at Heathrow was wind 220° at 16kt (30km/h), broken cloud at 1,400ft and 2,000ft, temperature 11°C, dew point 9°C, with a warning that the wind might vary temporarily to 240° at 20kt gusting to 32kt. The visibility was greater than 10km (6.2 miles).

Sources at Heathrow say the crew had declared an emergency early on final approach but did not have time to be specific about the problem. Almost all the passengers who have commented since the accident say the approach felt normal and the crew did not provide any warnings, but many did not realise they had "crashed" until the cabin crew ordered the evacuation. There was no fire.

Only Because of First Officer John Coward & Mr. Boeing -- Did Anyone Walk Away

This Plane Did Not Land On A Runway

The Boeing 777's computer system has in the past caused a few scares. In 2005, it decided to suddenly reduce a Malaysia Airlines aircraft's speed from 270 knots to 158 knots and put it into a 3,000ft climb. The pilot, Capt. Peter Burkill prevented a disasterous stall by turning off the autopilot and pushing the nose down. Over the Atlantic last year, another aircraft was suddenly thrown to the right by the computer, again obliging the pilot to disengage the autopilot.
All 136 passengers and 16 crew escaped from the British Airways flight BA038 from Beijing. Eighteen people have been taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The Boeing 777 pilot -- Capt. Peter Burkill, 43, said they had lost all power and had to glide the plane in to land -- all the electronics had also failed. Modern controls: NONE
The Boeing 777 Lost Landing Gear & Her Belly Cargo Was Ripped From The Keel of the Aircraft
How Anyone Survived Is A Miracle
Flight BA038 Was 6,000 Feet To Ground -- As A Glider 

The Boeing 777 Was Not Designed As A Glider 

This Was 656,000 lbs -- 328 tons -- Dropping Like Dead Weight With Limited Glide

 The Power Loss Occured Two miles From Touch Down

First Officer John Coward Used His Machine For All She Was Worth

The Jan. 17 Crash Is The First On Either Landing Or Takeoff At Heathrow Int'l Since 1972.

The Issue of Building Another Runway At Heathrow Airport Raises Fears Among Some That Increasing The Number of Aircraft Landing And Taking Off Will Have An Effect On Safety.

Photographs show the ram air turbine (RAT) just behind and below the wing trailing edge on the starboard lower fuselage, but it is not certain whether this had been deployed or not. The RAT would deploy automatically on electric or hydraulic failure or can be deployed manually by the crew.  

Nine Injured - A Flat Out -- 100% Miracle 

The Plane's Undercarriage Gave Way When She Hit The Grassy Land And Got Detached.

Eyewitnesses described how the aircraft, on arrival from Beijing, landed short of the airport's southern runway, just inside the perimeter fence and only yards from a busy dual expressway. The aircraft then skidded across the grass and tarmac before coming to rest at the end of the runway.

 This Would Be The Last Flight for Tail Number G-YMMM

There is Massive Damage To The Wing Root 

Tail Number G-YMMM Has Her Last Flight -- All Safe.

The Flight of BA038 Is Going To Be One of The Aviation Stories of All Time.

Tail Number G-YMMM Is Dragged Away By Crane.

A Career Cut Short

Cranes Were Moved into Place Around The Wreckage of The Plane.

Giant Airbags Were Placed Under G-YMMM So She Could Be Dragged Into A Hangar.

The 777, registration G-YMMM, was built in 2001 and is one of 43 in the British Airways fleet. It had logged 23,476 flying hours as of Dec. 31, 2006, according to U.K. Civil Aviation Authority data.

The Flight of BA038 Is Going To Be One of The Aviation Stories of All Time.

First Officer John Coward of BA Will Be Remembered.

Passengers Were Injured -- But All Survived.

This Was A Miracle.

The British AAIB (Aircraft Accident Investigation Board) & Boeing Are Going To Have An Interesting Time With This.

In the aftermath of the accident, a number of theories emerged as to why the dramatic accident occurred. Aviation experts commented that possible causes included mechanical or electronic failure of the aircraft, pilot error, or a birdstrike.

An airport worker at Heathrow told the BBC that in the aftermath of the accident, Captain Peter Burkill told him that he had "lost power" as he came into land. Other sources were suggesting that the engines had failed on the aircraft. Both BA and the British Airports Authority (BAA), which operates Heathrow, refused to speculate about possible causes of the accident. Spokesmen from both the airline and the airport said comments regarding the crash should be left to the AAIB. The AAIB added that they have appointed Robin Tydeman, a former Royal Air Force and commercial pilot, as the investigator in charge.

 The Boeing 777 Has Many Million Safe Miles To Go

Comment From Our Reader - Dec. 4 2009

I have just stumbled across your webpage in which you describe the BA38, the crash, the outcome etc. I have to say you have done a good job except you let yourself down on some points.

Can I ask why all your attention and praise is on First Officer John Coward? You mention Pilot Peter Burkill at the beginning, I think you mean Captain Peter Burkill.

Also whilst John was doing a fantastic job gliding the aircraft in, he was not the only pilot in the flight deck. You will find that Peter chose to let his first officer "fly" the plane whilst he could do what he was trained to do as Captain, and that is to diagnose and attempt to fix the problem. Peter realised that if he didn't do something to help the situation they would impact into the homes/factories/petrol station and railway at Hatton Cross. John had to keep his calm and glide the plane as best as he could but if Peter hadn't moved the flaps on the aircraft, John would have glided into these buildings.

The flight deck is a place for team work and it took both of them to keep their cool and work together that day to produce the result that came about. I feel insulted that someone who could search for and attempt to give an articulate piece of literature could fail a pilot in this way. It is quite obvious that you have tried your best to produce information that is factual and relevant but to write it as though only one pilot was involved is a disgrace.

I am sure you take a pride in your writing and research so I would suggest that if you don't amend your page now you will find you have egg on your face when the final AAIB report is released and you discover what exactly the implications were of changing the flaps. There will be no denying the usefulness and skills of Peter then.

Maria Burkill

Editor Note

Dear Ms. Burkill
Your insights & opinions are greatly appreciated. Our object is accuracy. To this goal we hope the final AAIB report will honor the contribution of Captain Peter Burkill, as we do here.

We have posted your direct comments to the page titled "Glider Operations At Heathrow" -- B-777 Crash - Jan. 2008.

Our goal is to be accurate.

The heroism & skill Captain Peter Burkill are to be well noted. We thought this point had been made clear.

Michael McDaniel

Shippers Must Have Quality Cargo Insurance For Air Cargo ........ Because......... "Ship Happens! ©"

If We Have Ever Provided A Cautionary Tale In Support of Cargo Insurance -- This Is It!

Shipping International Air Cargo Is A Risky Business -- Anything Can Happen

To Repeat -- No Matter How Careful You Are -- Or Who You Hire ....... "Ship Happens! ©"


"Ship Happens! ©"

The Dedication of This Feature Is Simple: To First Officer John Coward of BAO38 And To The Employees of British Airways-- And To The Families. Boeing currently produces around half of the world's jet airliners. Boeing -- the world leader in aircraft .
"It's a miracle. The man deserves a medal as big as a frying pan."

Paul Venter, passenger Flight BA038

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker.  It's dangerous out there.

INDEX TO OUR "Glider Operations At Heathrow" PAGE SPECIAL FEATURES:

The Boeing 777 Family
Technical Information

777-200/-200ER Technical Characteristics


Typical 3-Class Seating Layout


B-777 The Book

B-777 Takeofff's -- worth watching to the end

The Scene

Heathrow: The World's Busiest International Airport


British Airways

British Airways Virtual

British Airways Museum

Our Daily Vessel Casualties - stay informed

Other Ocean Related Features From The Cargo Letter- these are just examples

The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss - For All The Air & Ocean Features - a few examples below

"Explorer Ship Down" - M/V Explorer - Nov. 2007

"Kwanyang Crane Kaboom" - Nov. 2007

"Den Den Done" - M/V Denden - Sept. 2007

"For The "L" of It" - M/V Action Alpha - August 2007

"Stack Attack!" - M/V Ital Florida - July 2007

"Riding Down The Marquis" - M/V Rickmars Dalian - June 2007

"Carrying Coal To Newcastle" - M/V Pasha Bulker - June 2007

"Between A Yacht & A Hard Place" - M/V Madame Butterfly - May 2007

"Boxing Up The Rhine" - M/V Excelsior - April 2007

"Best Worst Laid Plans?" - M/V Republica di Genoa - March 2007

"Crack'n On The Sidmouth" - M/V MSC Napoli - Jan. 2007

"Operation Jumbo Drop" - M/V Jumbo Challenger - March 2007

"Wrong Way Agulhas?" - M/V Safmarine Agulhas - Jan. 2007

"Full Speed Ahead" - M/V Alva Star - Nov. 2006

"Where The Trade Winds Blew" - Oct. 2006

"Maersk Montevideo Melee!" - M/V Leda Maersk - Oct. 2006

"Laying Down On The Job" - M/V Cargo Ace - Aug. 2006 The Marty Johnson Project Continues

"A Day A The Beach - M/V APL Panama - Jan. 2006

"Great Misfortune"- M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006

"Unstacked - Overboard With Dr. Beach" - Oct. 2004

"Columbia River Round Up" - June 2003

"Halifax Hash"--M/V Maersk Carolina - Jan. 2003

"Piñata" - breaking the box - Jan. 2003

"T-E-U Bar-Be-Cue" - aftermath of the M/V Pennsylvania Loss - Nov. 2002

"Container Pool" - a mystery - May 2002

"Dropping In On The Trucker" -happened again - April 2002

"Meals: Ready To Explode" - Navy Barbecue at Guam June 2001

"M/V Ville D' Orion" - Bad L.A. Stack Disaster! April 2001 -- UPDATED - May 2002

"Pier Review" - Sept. 2001

"Singles Only" - visit our individual moments of transport crisis for more.

The Greatest Container Losses Of All Time - these are the grand fathers -

M/V OOCL America

M/V APL China

......... The Above Disasters Are Just A Start ......The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss - For All The Air & Ocean Features

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker. 

It's very dangerous out there.

Thanks To Our Contributors For The"Glider Operations At Heathrow" Feature

Our Contributors for this feature are:
Ashley Black

Our Doc - anonymous expert who supplies glue to this Website

Charles Emberton

Christoph Wahner, Esq. -- The Cargo Letter

The Cargo Letter appreciates the continuing efforts of these valued contributors. Thanks Pals!

NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD

* NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  

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