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Did Gordon Crash The BA 777?

British Airways Boeing 777-236/ER (G-YMMM (cn 30314/342)), flight BA038 from Beijing (PEK) to London Heathrow (LHR), landed short of runway 27L at LHR - January 17th, 2008

Air Accidents Investigation Branch: Accident to Boeing 777-236, G-YMMM, at Heathrow Airport on 17 January 2008 - Initial Report Update

As previously reported, whilst the aircraft was stabilised on an ILS approach with the autopilot engaged, the autothrust system commanded an increase in thrust from both engines. The engines both initially responded but after about 3 seconds the thrust of the right engine reduced. Some eight seconds later the thrust reduced on the left engine to a similar level. The engines did not shut down and both engines continued to produce thrust at an engine speed above flight idle, but less than the commanded thrust.

Recorded data indicates that an adequate fuel quantity was on board the aircraft and that the autothrottle and engine control commands were performing as expected prior to, and after, the reduction in thrust.

All possible scenarios that could explain the thrust reduction and continued lack of response of the engines to throttle lever inputs are being examined, in close cooperation with Boeing, Rolls Royce and British Airways. This work includes a detailed analysis and examination of the complete fuel flow path from the aircraft tanks to the engine fuel nozzles.

Further factual information will be released as and when available.

The latest official report still has no more explanation of what caused the crash.

But there is a rumour out there which I have checked with people who know about these sort of things, the sort of people who fly into Kandahar and Baghdad, and they think it rings true...

From the Aero Farm Forum

So what caused the engines to fail to produce enough thrust on the final
approach? The engines were still operating (though at idle) when crash crews
attended. The thrust levers were at full (or may be go round) position. So
what might have happened? Given the aircraft had fuel, it was not
contaminated and the engines were operating...?

I have had reports that at the time as the aircraft passed over a perimeter
road, (by an extra-ordinary coincidence) it passed low and directly overhead
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's car detail; delivering Brown and his
entourage to Heathrow. This cavalcade apparently travels with a significant
and powerful electronic counter measures (ECM) package to jam (fry) roadside
IED's, deflect and avoid incoming missiles and so on. Here is one Vendor
http://www.netline.co.il/page/index.aspx of this technology.

Did the PM's ECM package interfere with the engine management controls
(called FADEC) on the B777. FADEC has been in operation for decades - first
operated on the B767 and the B777. It has had millions of miles of trouble
free motoring and is apparently extremely robust in an operational sense.

FADEC power plant operation provides for independent engine operations,
therefore any FADEC problem would not normally lead to a double engine
failure. Unless of course, the problem existed in the parameters and/or the
engine control information provided to the FADEC due a malfunction [or
possibly ice] or maybe after being subjected to extremely high intensity
electromagnetic radiation from a nearby source.

Given ice has been ruled out - and there was a double malfunction; could an
ECM response have contributed?

So far all reports about this crash have covered the outstanding airmanship
by the crew to limp the stricken aircraft at a very low altitude and low
speed over the perimeter fence and crash land with no loss of life (or
serious injuries) AND the complete bafflement as to what caused this
aircraft to crash - given the fabulous operational record to date its type.

Perhaps there will be no conclusion entered? If Brown's security measures
contributed will that fact ever see the light of day?


So if ECM packages are capable of bringing down Boeing 777s - why do terrorists bother boarding planes at all? Why not buy the kit and operate out of a transit van at City Airport?

Seriously, if Gordon Brown's car can accidently "bring down" a 777 as you suggest, why are we not running scared from those that could employ the same tactics on purpose?

Well as it happens I know about this sort of thing as well, and I'm afraid it does NOT ring true. There are many reasons why not - if you have the time, read the 46 pags of this lot. http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=314143 (Some is bollocks - most is reasonably informed)

However, as a first estimate, do this: Read the height at which the engine response froze (see AAIB report) then use trig to work backwards from the runway threshold at the 3 degree glideslope angle. Then use that horizontal distance to plot on a map how far from the perimeter road it was that the aircraft experienced its problems. You'll see that many other aircraft will have been within the radius, so why would only one be affected?

(And this is based on the assumption that the PM's convoy actually *does* have a system exactly as described. We'd never be told, but I really doubt it. (If it did, its presence would be evident in other ways - mobiles not working, etc)

Rev Spooner

Why is anyone even looking for a technological explanation?

Surely just passing over the Great Scots Jonah himself was enough....?

The other dead-giveaway is that both engines didn't lose thrust simultaneously, but eight seconds apart.

I concur with the comments above - the story sounds plausible to start with, until the lack of ANY other interference is factored in.

Passing unchecked rumour around the net is to be deplored. It is a dodgy thing to do. I should know...

maybe you would be interested in this? http://ba038.terapad.com/

This comment is subject to further scrutiny.

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