Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
Member since 28 Sep 2011
Total posts 302
UA emergency at SYD. Why does a 747 with one or two blown tyres declare an emergency, dump 50 tons of fuel and back up the whole airport while it returns? Excuse my ignorance, but wouldn't the tyre situation be the same on arrival at LAX - why not complete the flight and land there?
Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards
Member since 24 Aug 2011
Total posts 384
If something else goes wrong with the plane enroute, and it has to land at a minor airport in the Pacific - that minor airport might not have the facilities to put the fire out in the undercarraige upon landing or deal with any other calamity that might ensue. The safest option for all onboard was to return to SYD which has the facilities to cope with the situation. And I'm sure the passengers didn't want to sit there for 15 hours wondering if they were going to land safely in the US (!).
Member since 02 Jul 2011
Total posts 835
What happened if they got to LAX and it was closed, had to divert.
Also small risk that blown tyre might cause other problems, so better to get it down as quickly and safely as you can.
Member since 21 Apr 2012
Total posts 2,058
wilsoni, shouldn't the question be "Why is Sydney airport so inept in dealing with emergencies to the extent that so many people are adversely impacted?" if in effect the shut down of the runway has caused that much drama?
Member since 12 Jun 2013
Total posts 216
Apart from what tronixstuff and moa999 mentioned: apparently (according to one flyertalker's account of the captain's in-flight announcement) they couldn't raise the landing gear with the tyre blown.
Not sure if it wouldn't fit properly with the saggy rubber or whether there's just some safety reason not to do so. But in any case, not enough fuel to fly across the Pacific with the wheels hanging out.
Member since 10 Mar 2011
Total posts 137
There is always a risk that the debris from the blown tyre may have caused other damage to the aircraft which may not be immediately known. There might have been damage to the underside of the plane, or damage to the wings or engines from the debris. From a safety standpoint, dumping fuel and returning to Sydney is the only option.
Sydney airport would have to ensure that there was no debris anywhere near the runway that might damage other planes (remember the Concorde disaster in Paris....). It takes time to visually inspect the runways so I don't consider Sydney Airport as being inept rather they are putting safety first and ensuring there are no other repercussions from the UA flight. Hardly something I would be complaining about as a delayed passenger!
All very valid points. Many thanks.
Member since 23 Apr 2013
Total posts 14
Dont know about some peoples' thinking. Have been in a flight years ago that "we think we blew a tyre on takeoff in Singapore but we will carry on to Sydney regardless". That was the longest most anxious 7 hours of my life. Get it down NOW is my thinking! Who knows what else could happen on the way..yikes.....As far as ineptitude in Sydney..my God...the plane had an emergency landing...3 tonnes of debris in the runway...gouges out of the runway etc....I would want them to go over the runway with a vacuum cleaner picking up any nuts and bolts and bits of rubber before any other plane got within cooee of the place. They all did the safest thing...no one hurt, just people not being able to travel in an hour what it took people 100 years ago 3 weeks to do! Better safe than sorry I reckon.
Member since 04 Sep 2012
Total posts 70
This photo answers the question: some associated damage to the aircraft
Hi Guest, join in the discussion on
UA emergency at SYD.
Already have an ET account? Log in below.
Signing up with Executive Traveller only takes a second and lets you
interact with our community. It's completely free and we'll never pass your information on to
Didn’t receive an activation email? Resend one to yourself here.
If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address
below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.
If you have not received the activation email, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email containing the activation link.
Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter to get the latest premium travel news, exclusives and inspiration right to your inbox.