Monday, February 09, 2009

The photos Air New Zealand didn't want you to see...

Well, not quite. But they may as well have been. From the NZ Herald;

Passengers see fuel pour from plane

Rattled passengers were told not to take photos as fuel streamed out of the wings of an Air New Zealand jet bound for Los Angeles.

Flight NZ6, with 365 people on board, was forced to turn back about 20 minutes after leaving Auckland on Saturday night when the pilots were unable to retract the landing gear.

In the 1993 David and I were on a 747 bound for Japan from Auckland. About 30-40 minutes into the flight I said to David, "We have been in a very shallow right hand turn for the past few minutes. Wonder what's going on." A radio announcement shortly followed. It was explained that the Captain's cockpit window had developed a 'bubble' and we were returning to Auckland for a precautionary landing. But before we could land we would be dumping fuel and what to expect visually.

Nobody instructed us not to take photos, albeit these were the days before widespread digital image communication. As I recall on the flight I was on, there was more a sense of curiosity than fear. Instructing people not to take photos would have fostered a sense of alarm. Perhaps they were simply trying to minimise bad publicity.

So if you wanted to know what you missed, that's what tonnes of fuel being jettisoned off the East Coast of Northern New Zealand looks like.


PM of NZ said...

Used to be common to see Hercs dumping as they came into Whenuapai over the North Shore. Now I suspect they do it out to sea well out of sight.

Anonymous said...

If a airliner has to return to the airport soon after taking off it normal practice to dump most of the fuel, the reason is a plane with a full load of fuel on board is too heavy for the undercarriage to cope with the weight of the plane on landing.