|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : zzzz.airport|
|Altitude||msl single value : 29500|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||B747-400|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||cruise : level|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
observation : company check pilot
oversight : pic
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 150|
flight time total : 18500
flight time type : 1200
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
|Independent Detector||aircraft equipment other aircraft equipment : oil quantity gauge|
other flight crewa
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
Flight Crew Human Performance
ATC Human Performance
Shortly after takeoff we noticed that the #4 engine oil quantity was low and decreasing. We consulted with maintenance control and we were told to monitor oil temperature and pressure and not to worry too much about the quantity. About an hour after departure we noticed that although the temperature was normal we were losing oil pressure slowly. While all other engines were over 200 psi; #4 was just over 100 psi. We contacted maintenance control again and asked them when the EICAS would illuminate a warning; as the aircraft manual does not recommend action until an EICAS is issued. We were told that the EICAS would illuminate at 75 psi. The maintenance controller asked us to throttle the #4 engine to idle. When we complied with the request the psi dropped from 100 psi to 75 psi; the EICAS illuminated and I shut down the engine via the flight manual procedure. We declared a pan pan pan and told the controller that we had shut down the #4 engine and needed a return to ZZZZ. The controllers were very difficult to understand and do not have a command of the english language or have the ability to handle anything but routine communications. This made an irregular operation much more taxing than was necessary. I was asked the same questions over and over. My request to dump fuel was delayed over an hour while I was vectored to a prescribed point some 80 mi west of ZZZZ. I was radar vectored in what seemed like a holding pattern about 40 mi long. We were instructed to start dumping at approximately 80 mi from xx and to stop dumping at approximately 40 mi from yy. At that point we were told to climb and turn 180 degrees outbound. At about 80 mi we were told to descend; turn 180 degrees and commence another dump. Between both the controller and our crew asking each other to repeat instructions; climbing; descending; dumping; running checklists; and dealing with dispatch (who needed to know where and when we were dumping) as well as cabin issues we were close to task saturation. After dumping to landing weight we received clearance to land without incident. I later received a telephone call from maintenance control asking if the oil pressure #4 engine had gone below 70 psi which is their limit for the engine and requires engine removal and overhaul. I replied that we did not go below 70 psi. In the future I will shut down the engine earlier and not get so close to this limit. If EICAS is tipped at 75 psi and the crew is unaware of a problem; there is not enough time to get the book out and commence an engine shutdown before engine damage. Also if the ATC had a designated holding pattern for dumping at a single altitude it would go a long way to make fuel dumping easier and less taxing on a potentially busy crew.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: B747-400 EXPERIENCES LOSS OF OIL QUANTITY AND PRESSURE FROM NO 4 ENGINE ON DEPARTURE. LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES MAKE FUEL DUMPING AND RETURN TO DEP ARPT DIFFICULT.
Narrative: SHORTLY AFTER TKOF WE NOTICED THAT THE #4 ENG OIL QUANTITY WAS LOW AND DECREASING. WE CONSULTED WITH MAINT CTL AND WE WERE TOLD TO MONITOR OIL TEMP AND PRESSURE AND NOT TO WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT THE QUANTITY. ABOUT AN HR AFTER DEP WE NOTICED THAT ALTHOUGH THE TEMP WAS NORMAL WE WERE LOSING OIL PRESSURE SLOWLY. WHILE ALL OTHER ENGS WERE OVER 200 PSI; #4 WAS JUST OVER 100 PSI. WE CONTACTED MAINT CTL AGAIN AND ASKED THEM WHEN THE EICAS WOULD ILLUMINATE A WARNING; AS THE ACFT MANUAL DOES NOT RECOMMEND ACTION UNTIL AN EICAS IS ISSUED. WE WERE TOLD THAT THE EICAS WOULD ILLUMINATE AT 75 PSI. THE MAINT CTLR ASKED US TO THROTTLE THE #4 ENG TO IDLE. WHEN WE COMPLIED WITH THE REQUEST THE PSI DROPPED FROM 100 PSI TO 75 PSI; THE EICAS ILLUMINATED AND I SHUT DOWN THE ENG VIA THE FLT MANUAL PROC. WE DECLARED A PAN PAN PAN AND TOLD THE CTLR THAT WE HAD SHUT DOWN THE #4 ENG AND NEEDED A RETURN TO ZZZZ. THE CTLRS WERE VERY DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND AND DO NOT HAVE A COMMAND OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE OR HAVE THE ABILITY TO HANDLE ANYTHING BUT ROUTINE COMS. THIS MADE AN IRREGULAR OP MUCH MORE TAXING THAN WAS NECESSARY. I WAS ASKED THE SAME QUESTIONS OVER AND OVER. MY REQUEST TO DUMP FUEL WAS DELAYED OVER AN HR WHILE I WAS VECTORED TO A PRESCRIBED POINT SOME 80 MI W OF ZZZZ. I WAS RADAR VECTORED IN WHAT SEEMED LIKE A HOLDING PATTERN ABOUT 40 MI LONG. WE WERE INSTRUCTED TO START DUMPING AT APPROX 80 MI FROM XX AND TO STOP DUMPING AT APPROX 40 MI FROM YY. AT THAT POINT WE WERE TOLD TO CLB AND TURN 180 DEGS OUTBOUND. AT ABOUT 80 MI WE WERE TOLD TO DSND; TURN 180 DEGS AND COMMENCE ANOTHER DUMP. BTWN BOTH THE CTLR AND OUR CREW ASKING EACH OTHER TO REPEAT INSTRUCTIONS; CLBING; DSNDING; DUMPING; RUNNING CHKLISTS; AND DEALING WITH DISPATCH (WHO NEEDED TO KNOW WHERE AND WHEN WE WERE DUMPING) AS WELL AS CABIN ISSUES WE WERE CLOSE TO TASK SATURATION. AFTER DUMPING TO LNDG WT WE RECEIVED CLRNC TO LAND WITHOUT INCIDENT. I LATER RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL FROM MAINT CTL ASKING IF THE OIL PRESSURE #4 ENG HAD GONE BELOW 70 PSI WHICH IS THEIR LIMIT FOR THE ENG AND REQUIRES ENG REMOVAL AND OVERHAUL. I REPLIED THAT WE DID NOT GO BELOW 70 PSI. IN THE FUTURE I WILL SHUT DOWN THE ENG EARLIER AND NOT GET SO CLOSE TO THIS LIMIT. IF EICAS IS TIPPED AT 75 PSI AND THE CREW IS UNAWARE OF A PROB; THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO GET THE BOOK OUT AND COMMENCE AN ENG SHUTDOWN BEFORE ENG DAMAGE. ALSO IF THE ATC HAD A DESIGNATED HOLDING PATTERN FOR DUMPING AT A SINGLE ALT IT WOULD GO A LONG WAY TO MAKE FUEL DUMPING EASIER AND LESS TAXING ON A POTENTIALLY BUSY CREW.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of January 2009 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.