SQ321 London-Singapore encountered severe turbulence one passenger killed

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 40 total)

  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    This is breaking news and media reports are being updated.

    But it appears it was last night’s SQ321 out of Heathrow.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c8889d7x8j4o


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Inquisitive
    Participant

    Very sad incident indeed.

    Normally pilots pre-warn about severe turbulence, so crew normally ensure all are strapped in seat belts. This one could be very sudden, presume details will come out.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AndrewinHK
    Participant

    Anecdotally I flew SQ this week from Singapore to Hong Kong. A Cathay service also to Hong Kong departed about 8 minutes in front of my SQ flight. I was watching on flight radar as I often do mid flight, SQ flew through weather about 45 minutes prior to arrival in Hong Kong, the CX flight/s close by my flight (flights from Singapore & KL) which had been on the same track deviated around, the weather we passed through resulted in the crew being asked to suspend service and be seated. We ended up landing just ahead of the CX flight.

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    I believe that Andrews post say a lot re airline ethos and training.

    SIA fired 95% of their European pilots and trainers re the pandemic.

    From AV Herald (the much respected industry board)
    From the playback – multiple flights deviated around the area before and after of SIA321’s route.
    ‘it would seem they potentially flew through some convective activity that everyone else was avoiding, both before and after the incident.
    At first pass this does not look good for SIA or the piloting skills of the pilots
    My point is not to unduly criticise SIA rather to illustrate that you get what you pay for and quality normally costs more.

    Andrew mentions above his recent Cathay flight and how the CX pilots managed a tricky but unusual situation re potential storm turbulence.
    I am given to understand by local pilot friends Cathay NOW employ about 80% European expat pilots and many mixed race HK locals.
    ( Hong Kong Express employs many Brazilian and Filipino pilots as well as expats and locals.)

    I mention this merely to illustrate that CX has always had a strong commitment to employing the best available pilots although the additional cost to the airline is very substantial.
    i.e. Hong Kong housing allowance of up to US$14K per month for captains – education allowance of US$15K pm for each child – free comprehensive medical and dental care for the whole family -free family tickets for trips back home etc etc.

    Perhaps also to point out that there is no world wide actual pilot shortage however the availability of well trained experienced pilots from Europe, Australasia, Canada and the US is both difficult and costly. Very fortunately Cathay have been able to attract back to HK over 300 of the more senior pilots that left during the pandemic or were dismissed when Dragon Air was forced by the pandemic to be closed. There more coming having singed to join CX from the company’s recent road show around Australasia.

    Our youngest boy just left the Australian International school and he and two class mates(all European locals) have joined Cathay also three of my second eldest boys class mates from AIS are already Cathay captains at thirty three.

    The unfortunate death of a passenger on the flight though could very well have little to do with the turbulent conditions it seems to me as according to IATA figures over 1000 passengers die aboard of heart attacks per year.

    9 users thanked author for this post.

    AndrewinHK
    Participant

    Incidentally Cwoodward the pilot of my recent SQ flight had a Russian sounding name and accent.


    FDOS
    Participant

    It’s getting towards the monsoon season and the Bay of Bengal is notorious for huge thunderstorms at this time of year.

    We flew through that airspace at the end of Feb and it was as calm as a mill pond, RIP to the passenger.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    MartinJ
    Participant

    I agree that commercial pressure invites poor decision-making, prioritising economy over safety, but please let’s remember that clear-air turbulence (CAT) is difficult to detect even for experienced pilots as it usually lacks visual cues. Advanced optical instruments are required and I don’t think aircraft are currently equipped with those. While I cannot rule out that human error was involved in this incident we simply don’t know enough to make a judgement. What I have learned, however, is to keep buckled up at all times, something I have neglected recently.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    @MartinJ
    Even a glance at the weather maps shows that this incident was no any form of clear-air turbulence (CAT) the aircraft was flown through
    intense convective activity that everyone else was avoiding.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    I find that interesting Andrew as it seems that SIA are now seemingly short of experienced senior pilots as well as cabin crew.

    Over the past 2 months the airline has cancelled over 200 flights due I am told mostly because of not enough cabin crew available to man the flights.
    Since the wholesale change of the experienced (but ageing) Senior Management about 3 years ago SIA is not a happy ship. (remember the
    meal in the cardboard box) many staff have left particularly cabin crew who say that they are overworked and underpaid with now unpleasant working conditions and management practices. (there are some good reports in the Straits Times)

    According to reports many crew are/have migrated to airlines offering better pay and conditions anecdotally including CX.

    All large organisations go through this sort of management upheaval once in a while but the better ones get things sorted fast.

    I see Mr Goh Choon Phong, CEO, Singapore Airlines, issued a very sanitised statement of apology a few hours ago that seemed to misrepresent the weather conditions prevalent at the time of the turbulence.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    AndrewinHK
    Participant

    Cwoodward I haven’t heard stories of staff migrating, SQ seems ‘headline’ wise anyway to be rewarding staff, paying large bonuses, the latest being 8 months salary, currently CX has offered nothing close to this, though I expect they will at some stage. I have recently been flying SQ more frequently as they offered a status match and I found the onboard staff to be generally very good. My experience of flying through weather may have just been a coincidence, I don’t have enough data to conclude, but it does raise questions of how SQ deals with such things, SQ operates in a highly convective area of the world, and perhaps the pilots are desensitized to such things versus airlines based in other areas?


    DerekVH
    Participant

    I always keep my seat belt fasted unless going to the loo, is it time to make this a mandatory requirement or is that a bit of a knee jerk reaction?

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    esselle
    Participant

    I’m assuming the FDR will yield some facts about what happened. Media reports of the aircraft “plunging 6000 feet in seconds/a few minutes” all sound a bit hysterical.

    Some perspective on how the cockpit crew responded and the sequence of events that followed would be of interest.

    It will do nothing to alleviate the trauma all on board suffered, either mental or physical, but there needs to be more clarity around this in my view.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    Andrew in HK – you may not have caught up with the current SIA problems re shortage of staff and flight cancellations but a glance at the (government supported) Straits Times newspaper or any S’pore reliable news website will reveal the very real problems.
    I have no idea what SIA remuneration levels only that pre pandemic CX generally paid more.
    Certainly the news articles imply (actually clearly say) SIA cabin crew pay and conditions are poor when compared to other Asian airlines.


    LetsFlyNow
    Participant

    Indeed i read about the staff shortages at the SIA group but to my knowledge this was mostly at LCC Scoot. Reports said that Scoot was severely understaffed and crew was calling in sick. Many have left Scoot for CX.

    3 users thanked author for this post.
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