When dealing with problem solving and decision making, there are tools that allow to gather all options, assess associated risks and determine the best course of action based on the corresponding analysis and thinking process.
In case of multiple problems, it is good to run as many FORDECs as necessary to deal with them all.
In short, make sure to identify the real problem comprehensively.
One good thing can be to retrace all courses of action, including yours, which led you to the present situation and to determine in case of failure what you have left to backup.
The FORDEC process is still helpful in that regard.
It includes in particular assigning the tasks to the right people in order to demonstrate synergy in troubleshooting the problem.
Let's consider the following map to set up our situation:
You are on a flight from mainland Europe to Tenerife South GCTS.
As you happen to be flying above the Atlantic (at the red pointer on the map), you are facing a sudden engine flame-out with no indication of structural damage.
A quick check shows that you still have fuel which could have powered this engine and there are no environmental causes which could have set off a flame-out.
You performed the checklist which relates to engine failure in cruise, and you are now flying at a lower flight level as you could not maintain your cruising altitude on a single engine.
You are now at an altitude allowing for the relight of your engine, and the remaining engine of the aircraft is taking care of all the systems (electrics, hydraulics...)
Some available airports are highlighted in orange on the map. They can all accommodate your aircraft and here is some information about them:
- GCTS and GCFV: they are the furthest away from your position with GCFV being a bit closer than GCTS; the weather is CAVOK and wind is calm.
- GMMX and GMMN: they come second in terms of distance to reach them but the weather is stormy with frequent CBs in the area passing over the various airfields, disrupting the operations.
- LPPS: It is as close as LPMA but your airline highlighted that this airfield should only be used in case of distress as a last resort given the fact that there is very little assistance available to commercial airliners.
- LPMA: It is as close as LPPS but neither you nor your Captain/First Officer was ever rated to operate to Madeira.
We have suffered an engine flame-out while we were cruising. There was no indication of an incoming failure before the event, and subsequently there seems to be no structural damage.
We performed the checklist, secured our engine, drifted down to our single-engine cruising altitude.
We now need to determine whether we continue to our destination, do we divert and do we attempt to restart our engine?
A quick look at the map shows us the three following options:
- A: Diverting to the Azores which are the closest available airfields
- B: Diverting to Moroccan airfields which present with the closest commercial airports in the area providing good assistance without requiring additional qualifications.
- C: Continuing toward Canary Islands with the original flightplan requiring therefore less adaptation and allowing to reach commercial airports that are served regularly and offering the best commercial assistance.
Option A will lead us to either:
- attempt to land on an airfield where crews are required to be rated specifically to operate;
- land on an airfield where very limited assistance is offered and may not be the most convenient choice in case of forced landing;
Option B will lead the aircraft into a stormy area, facing adverse weather conditions while operating in single-engine conditions.
The difficulties that may arise in case of single-engine go-around as well as in case of secondary failures appearing due to weather must be taken into account.
Option C requires to fly longer and further on only one engine with no airfield in-between. However it is still possible to reduce the distance to be flown by diverting to GCFV instead of GCTS.
Given the risks created by options A and B, the decision is to continue inbound the Canary Islands and reduce track miles by diverting to Fuerteventura GCFV.
As Pilot Flying, I would like to proceed this way:
- I will transfer the flight controls to the Pilot Monitoring so I can focus on communicating our intentions to the Air Traffic Controller
- I will then insert into the Flight Management Computer the data to divert and approach to Fuerteventura
- I will ask the cabin manager to come to the flight deck so I can brief her about our whereabouts.
- I will finally make a quick public address to inform our passengers about where we are standing.
We can imagine that once you have made your PA call, you make sure the aircraft status has not changed. You will also update yourself on the aerodrome status of Fuerteventura and Tenerife South to make sure they remain perfectly suitable.
- VID 200696 - Creation
DATE OF SUBMISSION
- 02:26, 13 November 2019
- This documentation is copyrighted as part of the intellectual property of the International Virtual Aviation Organisation.
- The content of this documentation is intended for aviation simulation only and must not be used for real aviation operations.