Japan Airlines flight bursts into flames at Tokyo's Haneda airport (video)

Originally published at: Japan Airlines flight bursts into flames at Tokyo's Haneda airport (video) - Boing Boing

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Japan is not having a good year so far… :grimacing:


I don’t mean to sound like I’m joking, but DO READ the evacuation instructions on the aircraft you are flying on immediately and pay attention to the demonstration. Count the number of rows between your seat and the two nearest exits so you can find them in the dark. Scan the card again just before landing.

Yes I understand that I have no idea how many of the passengers read the cards or watched the demo.


Yikes. There have been so many close calls lately, this was bound to happen. A bit of a miracle only 5 people died.

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A testament to the professionalism of the crew on the airliner who got it down and then ensured an effective evacuation; and to the people at Airbus who designed and built a plane that was able keep them safe so they could get out.

But against that, we have an absolute tragedy for the crew on the Coast Guard plane and their families.


The airport looks to be open again but the affected runway is still closed. ADSB shows the incident aircraft location in the same place. The picture of the aircraft has already been updated (it pulls from an aircraft-spotting site)

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The nose landing gear collapsed, there was a huge fireball and clouds of black smoke followed from the aircraft sliding down the runway. Passenger video shows that fire was visible clearly from the cabin, which was filling with smoke. The crew were without intercom, and appear to have followed their training once the evacuation started, for which 5 of the 8 exits were not usable.

To be clear: I’m not directing this observation at the crew or directing any blame at them. It is to their immense credit that nobody was seriously injured.

This event feels like it should trigger a review of procedures for Japan Airlines. How is it that the pilot didn’t call for evacuation more promptly, ultimately leaving the purser to make that decision after a substantial delay? The standard for evacuation is 90 seconds; 18 minutes to clear the aircraft seems far too long even with the adverse conditions.

A comparison that comes to mind is the Air France 358 crash in Toronto in 2005, which was an Airbus 340. The accident was similarly without warning, occurring immediately after landing in awful weather, far too far along the runway. The crew saw a fire as the aircraft stopped in a gully and immediately started an evacuation. Two exits were unavailable due to the fire, two slides were not available on the remaining exits. The crew cleared “over 300 passengers” from that aircraft in 90 seconds.

According to the airline, despite the bumpy landing and loss of landing gear, they were unaware there was a fire aboard the aircraft or that there was need to urgently evacuate.

to be clear I am also not judging the crew

The pilots have to first make sure that the aircraft is safe to evacuate or if the evacuation would put the passengers in danger. Almost every evacuation causes injury to passengers.

Some videos show the starboard engine could not be shut off which would endanger anyone coming off the right wing exits. The pilots would have seen this in the cockpit via the instruments and I expect focused on that somewhat.

Assuming that the the cockpit door was closed (should be) they may not have been aware that they were on fire, even though the cockpit was getting smoky. They may have been struggling to put on oxygen masks so that they could continue the safe shutdown. I expect that the instruments were throwing various conflicting signals that they had to sort through too to decide whether it was safe to evacuate.

The tower audio is not yet available. The crew may have been in contact with the tower to determine whether they were ablaze, or if it was just the smaller aircraft that caught fire.

It looks to me like the crew made the correct decisions in the absence of guidance from the cockpit.

Another note: the collapsed nose gear would make it difficult to evacuate using the slides on the forward doors. The rear slides may also be off the ground, and when that happens they can flap in the wind making the evacuation more difficult.


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