American Airlines has taken one of its Boeing 777s out of service following a problem yesterday (28 February) with the autothrottles.
The aircraft, operating as Flight 299 from Miami to Los Angeles and carrying 170 passengers and 12 crew, encountered slow response difficulties from its autothrottle 2,000ft (610m) prior to landing but American insists ”this was a very different event to that experienced by BA038.”
That ”event” was the British Airways incident in January when one of the airline”s 777s landed short of London Heathrow”s runway 27L. All 136 passengers and 16 crew managed to evacuate with only minor injuries although the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said it was looking at why neither BA engine responded to throttle lever inputs during final approach.
An American Airlines statement said: ”The aircraft has been taken out of service and an internal investigation is underway. A preliminary analysis by Rolls-Royce of the information recorded of the incident by the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) indicates that this was a very different event to that experienced by BA038."
The US Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines flight crew, has also expressed a view however, with the union noting: ”AA Flight 229 had the left engine hang up on approach to LAX at approximately 2,000ft. The auto throttles were on and the left engine hung at approach idle as the right engine accelerated normally.
”It is believed that the left engine would not respond to throttle inputs for 10-15 seconds before finally responding and accelerating to the commanded thrust. The right engine performed normally.”
No further information is available from the AAIB concerning the BA 777 ” the airline alone has 42 ” but this incident is bound to cause speculation. One aspect that the AAIB did rule out with the BA aircraft was insufficient fuel on board.