Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Southwest Airlines Incident...How did PFD do?

Last Saturday a Southwest Airlines flight from New Orleans to Orlando had an engine issue and had to make an emergency landing at Pensacola Regional Airport.

The plane landed safely and no one was injured.

This is a perfect opportunity to assess how the ARFF and PFD did in responding to a real world issue.

I have discussed this before.

You see, at any point in time, the Airport fire department is manned by 2 people.  2 Trucks, 2 people.

The Mayor says "But that doesn't take into account Station 3 and Station 6 at each end of the runway."  He is right.  That adds 3 men on 2 engines to the response.

So a Boeing 737 declares an engine emergency with 105 lives on board and is forced to make a emergency landing at Pensacola Regional Airport and PFD sends a MAXIMUM of:

  • 8 firefighters
  • 2 ARFF trucks
  • 2 regular engines
What if Engine 6 is out at a car wreck at I-10 and Scenic.  Strike 1 engine and 3 firefighters.
What is Engine 3 is at the Roger Scott soccer game.  Strike 1 more engine and 3 more firefighters.

So a MINIMUM immediate response of 2 firefighters and 2 trucks.

Another question.  Have every firefighter at Stations 3 and 6 been trained in aviation accident responses?

So I have made a public records request so we can assess just how our PFD responded.

Record Requested: Southwest Airlines Emergency Landing at PNS on August 27, 2016 

I request:
  • the Fire engines that responded, 
  • manpower on each responding engine,
  • ARFF units responding and manpower on each responding engine. 
  • response times, 
  • incident report, 
  • time on scene, 
  • equipment dispatch logs for the entire PFD for 2 hrs prior to the incident and 2 hours after the incident. 
  • The name of the on scene commander and his entire training history. 
  • In addition, I request training summaries for each person responding to the scene in aircraft fire techniques and procedures.
Lets see how the PFD under Mayor Hayward, Automatic Aid Olson and Chief Allen responded.


CJ Lewis said...

When I met two weeks ago with the two union reps Nate Elder and Dusty Merritt, we touched on the issues at the airport. In our two hours, we barely scratched the surface of what I think are chronic shortfalls in the Pensacola Fire Department that, in fairness, began long before Ashton Hayward became the Mayor. In truth, I blame the City Council for ignoring them. I asked to meet with the union again for detailed briefings on all of the department's shortfalls so I could come up with a budget plan to fix them. I was told that Chief Allen was working on a plan to brief to the Council but I heard no mention of it during the recent budget workshop. I have some experience in aviation having been a flight student at NAS Whiting Field (T-28B Trojan) to include also some flights in a UH-1 and SH-60 helicopter. I also flew on a UH-1 cross-county to Washington DC to run the Marine Corps Marathon. I was in the landing pattern at Brewton a few aircraft ahead of LCDR Rainey when her aircraft stalled on final approach killing her and her student. I went to NAS Meridian to fly the T-2C Buckeye where, sadly for me, I twice failed my carrier qualification check flight. During a cross-country T-2C trip to California, my clever flight instructor logged that we executed a "Practice" Precautionary Emergency Landing. In truth, it was a real emergency owing to unexpected headwinds at 34,000 feet (the T-2C was a fuel hog with short legs) and we landed on fumes after he refused my multiple pleas to suck it up, declare an emergency aloud and divert to the closet airfield we could reach. When we came to a stop, he told me we had at best 2-3 minutes of fuel left. When I was temporarily put in charge of an operation at 29 Palms, not 2-3 hours into my new command an AV-8B Harrier blew a tire and ran off into the sand. No one was hurt and the A/C only suffered minimal damage. In sum, I have at least some experience with airfield and aircraft emergencies. Military firefighters have very specialized expertise requiring a "lot" of training. In addition to my view that we have too few firefighters "on" the Airport, I am worried that the alleged person remotely in charge - a Captain "not" at the Airport - may not have the necessary training and expertise to do the job. Further, it seems to be that the senior firefighter at the Airport should be a important key advisor to the Airport Director. I wonder if Airport Director Dan Flynn even knows at any given moment which person is tasked to oversee an emergency response at the Airport.

Anonymous said...

FYI- The 2 Airport Crash Trucks were enough for this situation, Who ever was in Charged that day OVER USE the Resourses, I know this because of my 30 plus years in Aviation!!! So yes there was NO need for that many units to respond..Must have been someone in training that was in Charged that day..����

Anonymous said...

Haha!! PFD fools!!! This is more of that "putting public safety first" bs Hayward beats his chest about. Let's see how much better off you are with the Allen and Wu endorsements.

Anonymous said...

Here's another story you should write about.....


The Southwest plane landed at our airport around 10:00 AM on Saturday morning. This came very close to being a major international disaster. By Saturday evening the story was the headline on all NATIONAL TV networks. Even Channel 3 sent a reporter out to the South's only intergalactic space port to cover the story. If you wanted to read more about the incident, especially detailed reports taken from the local angle, where would you expect to find that information? Some of you turned to the Sunday morning edition of the Pensacola News Journal and here is what you found on the front page..........NADA!!! The Pensacola News Journal can hardly call itself a "news" paper if it doesn't report a major story like this one. Oh, yeah, there was a short blurb about the incident copied off the wire service and buried on Page 6. But no one at the News Journal cares. If it ain't about Bubba's candy store or Quint's apartment building in ain't news anyway....!

Anonymous said...

You must have either failed the academy or failed the polygraph. I'm sorry buddy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe PC will look into this situation. You know he is always so insightful and makes such impactful decisions and contributions which make a difference for his constituents. (Sarcasm) I don't know where we would be without PC Wu, but I sure hope that we find out!!! Sorry...back on topic now.

Wasn't the reduced staffing at the airport fire station done to cut costs? But, according to Rick Outzen's reports cost to operate the City have never been higher.

Anonymous said...

Certainly not everything requested in the public records request, but here is the air traffic control conversation leading up to the plane landing safely at PNS.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons the ARFF was so expensive was that the PFD staffed it mostly with people ready to retire so they were at the top of the pay scale. Then when they retired the Airport was stuck paying for all the leave they had accumulated even though the majority of it was not gained working at the ARFF. Another one of Barker's tricks to shift costs from the General Fund to an Enterprise fund.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous PFD fool 1:16 PM - Believe it or not everybody doesn't want to be a fireman and I feel sorry for you because Hayward trashes you every time he gets a chance. Anyway good luck!