Saturday, December 16, 2006

Triple-7 gets all choked up over pilot's retirement

Sometimes well-intentioned acts just go terribly wrong. Take a recent incident at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC as an example.

A United Airlines captain had just landed a B777 aircraft, completing his final trip before retirement. Firetrucks were stationed to meet the aircraft and provide a water cannon 'salute' for the retiring pilot. Inexplicably, the plane was sprayed with fire retardant foam instead of water. The foam was ingested into the aircrafts engines.

Here's how the Aero-News Network told the story:
What was supposed to be a salutation this week to a retiring United Airlines captain ended with a Boeing 777 in the repair shop... and a mess on the ramp.

Media reports state the United Airlines 777-200 had just arrived at Washington Dulles from Paris, and was taxiing to the gate when it took a slight detour... so fire trucks stationed on either side of the jetway could spray the time-honored "water cannon salute" given to retiring pilots, and sometimes aircraft. In this case, the 777's pilot was making his last flight.

United Airlines won't confirm what happened next. Sources say, however, the fire trucks blasted foam fire retardant at the airliner, instead of water.

For the most part, foam will sluice off the fuselage without causing damage... but it's quite another matter when it is ingested into the engines.

"We are conducting a full investigation and are currently looking at the aircraft to ascertain damage," said an unidentified United spokeswoman.
Now both of the aircraft's engines will have to be overhauled before they can be returned to service.

Source: Water Cannon Salute Damages United Airlines 777 -

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