back to article Ice in fuel feed caused Heathrow 777 crash

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has presented further evidence to confirm its findings last September that "ice within the fuel feed system" caused the 17 January 2008 crash-landing of a Boeing 777 at Heathrow. BA038 (G-YMMM), following an uneventful flight from Beijing, suffered reduced thrust in both engines …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    A likely story

    It was the classified anti terrorist counter measures deployed by Gordon Browns convoy. The automated anti RPG system detected a large object approaching at speed and countered with a targeted EMP shutting down the aircraft completely. Ice is just a convenient cover story, something to blame that would leave no physical evidence !

    oh and a few more for good measure.












  2. Alistair

    Told ya so!

    Obvious really

  3. Gabriel Vistica

    Re: AC

    Or maybe you're just a conspiracy theorist!




  4. Nicholas EGF Berry


    One flight from Beijing, one from Shanghai - I suspect melamine in the fuel.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wretched ice.

    Hello AC#1,

    We were going to come and get you in the black helicopters ready for a spell in Gitmo, but unfortunately its EMP test day in Cheltenham so we can't take off for a bit. Please march yourself around to the nearest police station for re-education.

    all the best,


  6. Anonymous Coward

    Melamine? Noo, way too expensive......

    Your all missing the obvious one here, Ice in the fuel? Noo, was simply mixed with water!

    Before you all call me a stupid twat because as everyone knows fuel and water can't be mixed go look up Orimulsion (bitumen and water mixed into an emulsion) If they can make emulsions with tar I'm sure it's possible to emulsify aviation fuel and water and get that bit of extra volume in your fuel sale.

    170'000 litres of fuel per load with 5% water = a lot of profit.

    Rightee, let the flames begin!!




  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Uncommanded rollback", eh?

    Sounds like ammo for the pro-circumcision lobby

  8. John Smith Gold badge
    Thumb Down


    7, 8 decades of commercial air travel and this is still a problem?

    Shock news. It's cold at high altitudes. A lot below 0c.

    Water seperation methods have been know for decades. Settling tanks (not the ones in the aircraft wings) are probably simplest but oil rigs use pulsed DC between electrodes to break down emulsions and make the water seperate out.

    Electrical heater tapes wrapped round the pipe should be able to keep them >0c.

    Tapping heat from the engines

    Survival wise. It could have been much worse. But creating the conditions that lead to this. Major fail.

  9. garbo

    Freezing points?

    These planes use Jet A-1 (freezing point -47C). Even over the equator at 10,000 m. the outside temp's usually below -50 C, which would freeze fuel, not to mention water. So fuel tanks and delivery systems are insulated/heated. Sumping tanks and on-ground storage facilities to remove water is (supposedly) routine. I'll guess lack of routine sumping at departure point...but let's wait for final report.

  10. Kanhef

    re: Staggering

    Aircraft tanks tend to fill with highly flammable vapors as the fuel level goes down. Anything that could cause sparks is a Bad Thing.

  11. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    Typical Chinese

    You fill up with Chinese A1 Jet Fuel and an hour later you are already running on empty!

  12. baswell

    @ac: water does naturally occur

    When the fuel level in a tank goes down, the space is filled up with (humid) air. When temperatures drop, this causes condensation and water droplets get into the tank.

    Water is heavier than fuel and sinks to the bottom, so it won't re-evaporate when the temperature goes up again as it is no longer in contact with the air. And of course tanks drain from the bottom, so you do the math...

    In small planes, we drain a bit of fuel from the lowest point every morning to see if we have water. (and if we do, keep draining until we don't) Airliners have some more sophisticated ways, but it is an expected problem.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Water separators are commonly found in the fuel systems of those most hi-tech of machines, the narrowboat.

    Note to self: make sure it's an Airbus next time. At least they float.

  14. TeeCee Gold badge


    Too true, look up TWA-800 for details (just ignore the usual selection of bullshit outpourings from the conspiracy theorists).

    (I shall come back later to see if the laws of irony have been satisfied by a post responding to this with an outpouring of conspiracy bullshit about the TWA-800 disaster.....)

  15. Anonymous Coward


    Please grow a brain..

    several points:

    1) around the pipes means outside the pipe not in contact not that it matters because

    2) heater tapes dont spark! neither does tapping engine heat??

    3) the 'highly flamable' vapours are in the void not oxygen which is required for combustion hence not a problem.....

    4) the fuel gauge sender in your cars petrol tank has bare exposed electrical wires! whats more theres more than likely air in your car tank as well as vapour... its still not a problem!

  16. Marky W


    Nope. You should have chosen Paris for that comment.

    On all Airbus/Boeing types (and probably all other modern passenger aircraft) there's NO insulation or heating in any of the tanks (aside from minimal excess heat from fuel pumps), or on any of the pipes. The risk of hot things in contact with flammable vapour is somewhat frowned upon by the airworthiness authorities, especially after TWA800 came down (centre tank explosion). Failure mode testing of fuel pumps in particular is now *very* extensive.

    Travelling at Mach 0.8 plus provides a moderate heating effect (meaning total air temperature - TAT - is several degrees higher than ambient). That said, aircraft still have to descend to warmer air on occasion, although this is quite rare and mostly on very long sectors.

    Finally, draining water sumps is only done every few weeks (up to a month in some cases). The thermal mass of remaining fuel and of the airframe means that accumulated water usually remains frozen during a turnaround, and of course many parts of the world are below freezing for months at a time. Airlines in these regions have to put aircraft into a (warm) hanger for hours to drain water effectively. The operators find this to be a pain in the arse, as you might expect.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It ran out of fuel. End of. Bye.

  18. Jonathan Richards


    I wonder whether they've also registered G-YMMV?

This topic is closed for new posts.