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Swiss Airbus A330 Turns 5 Hours In the Air Before Returning to Zurich

Following a technical problem at the left engine, an Airbus A330 from Swiss International Air Lines, which took off from Zurich for Newark, the United States, had to return to its departure airport quickly. But the passengers had to wait five hours before landing. ( More...

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Ryan Lawrence 5
They couldn't cross the ocean on one engine, and that particular A330 didn't have the fuel dumping option, so they had to fly around to burn off excess fuel to lighten the load on the airframe when they touched back down in Zurich. That plane took off with enough fuel to fly to the east coast of the US, 6+ hours away plus a reserve.
Must not have been much of an "emergency" if they could circle for five hours...
21voyageur 3
The incident turned out to be an accountant's nightmare!
21voyageur 3
5 hours of generally turning in the same direction, , , , hope all had strong stomachs!
Mike Williams 3
I did not do the work to see how many left turns /right turns that plane did.

If there were enough left turns the pilots/drivers might qualify to be a round track car driver?
One of Airbus's MAJOR design flaws.... NO ability to dump fuel. Experienced this ourselves after departing KHNL for West Coast and had a serious lightning strike right above the cockpit at FL26.5. Thank God were in a Boeing and did not have to circle for multiple hours just to dump fuel! Seen this many times with Airbus products....
Rob Palmer 4
Probably the grandmotherly European Union doesn't want any fuel vapors to reach the ground, where someone might inhale them. Europe can (and does) do what it wants to, but I hate to see their standards affect our standard of living; E.G. most electronic techs in North America avoid use of their lead-free solder, but we must use it to meet their import standards. The Lead-free solder is so miserable it makes electronic circuit boards less reliable for everyone. Therefore more waste in landfills, thanks to the EU.
James Simms 0
That was my first thought, trying not to upset the European enviro-wackos
not all boeing aircraft have the ability to dump fuel
Tony Perez 3
The ones that don't are already below the max landing weight with full fuel tanks.
belzybob 3
A single generator failure will do that.
Gordon King 3
I flew Swiss last month. Zurich to Cape Town. Awful flight. Very old ,very well used 330 with a $10 paint job. Grumpy crew serving maxed out seating capacity and charging for wine! Their website was only available in Swiss. Delays and chaotic boarding procedures! Bye, Swiss, never again.
This was a design feature of the older A310s, A300s and the very early A330s. As far as I can remember they were certified to land at maximum takeoff weight - in case of an emergency. This of course subject to structural & overweight checks being conducted thereafter. Vertical gradient <360ft/m
Ashok Malik 1
So they were in a 5 hour holding pattern, not one continuous 5 hour turn. The article it stated the length was to burn fuel. why couldn't they do a fuel dump?
Ryan Lawrence 7
not every A330 has the dump option, it's was an optional accessory for that model from Airbus. The A350 has it standard. the turns were uniform and repetitive indicating an air traffic control holding pattern out of the way of other jet traffic, the engine was functional but had issues where if they went across the pond and then had a problem with the second engine, their flight would become a cruise.
Thanks. I remember watching a video of a Swiss Air flight on an A340 that had engine trouble, so they did the shudown sequence, and fuel dump to return to the airport. Since the A330 is essentially the twin engine version of the A340 I would have thought it had dump capability too.

but if it's only an option, that would explain the fuel burn then.
James Simms 1
Yea, well, we’re coming up on the 106th Anniversary of the first & only competitive meet of the RMS Titanic Swim Club
21voyageur -1
If you take a peek at the flightpath, certainly appears to be one heck of a lot of one direction turns which would also reflect an engine issue on one side.
Tony Perez 1
Holding patterns are typically right turns unless otherwise published or directed by ATC.
21voyageur -3
Ouch. Zero for two Supercool.
Zero for two?
21voyageur -3
wrong on the fuel dump assumption, wrong on the consistency in turns.
more like 0/0?

I asked why a fuel dump wasn't possible. 2 reasons, fuel dump system damaged, or fuel dump system not actually installed on aircraft. i know not all aircraft have dump systems. so i was unsure about the 330.

and i can sorta give you something for holding. i guess industry standard terminology for holding pattern is a single oval shape. here the plane did several holding patterns at various locations. so my use of holding pattern was a general, fly in some area for 5 hours this includes turns and straight segments.
21voyageur -7
homework helps. let's move along . . . . . . . .
Owen Plowman 1
This article is an example of "waste of time" news. It's not news at all.
From some grammatical irregularities, it reads as if written by someone for whom English was not their first language.
dee9bee -1
I have to assume the engine problem wasn't that serious.
dee9bee 4
P.S. I just checked another site. The word is that the situation wasn't very serious. They simply couldn't cross the Atlantic in that condition.
RECOR10 -1
Quad engine coulda.......and probably woulda....
belzybob 4
That's stating the obvious, but the accountants probably wouldn't agree on using them.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

belzybob 10
I think you need to find a more suitable forum.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Grahame Budd 17
I'm all for fossil fuels being regarded as solar if you can fix the supply chain problem. Currently the re-order time - millions of years - is a little too long.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

chalet 7
Calm down, man, and rest a bit.
How do we prevent such occurencies tomorrow?


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