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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 188295
Last updated: 5 May 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B741 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 747-136
Owner/operator:British Airways
Registration: G-AWNJ
MSN: 20272/183
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 341
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:London Heathrow Airport, Hounslow, Middlesex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:London Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL)
Destination airport:John F Kennedy Airport, New York (JFK/KJFK)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Substantially damaged 6-12-1997 by a suspected bird strike, during initial climb out from London Heathrow Airport: No 2 engine damaged beyond economic repair, nacelle components fell from aircraft. No injuries sustained by the 341 persons on board (18 crew and 323 passengers). According to the following excerpt from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"The aircraft was cleared to take off at 14:46 hours and the initial part of the take off run was normal. At a speed between V1 and VR the commander saw a large bird ahead of the aircraft flying from right to left. He called "Rotate" at the correct speed, at which point the bird was on the left side of the aircraft but it then appeared to veer back and upwards towards the aircraft.

All three crew members felt a pronounced 'thump' at about 100 feet agl, at which time the speed was estimated to
be 165 Knots IAS. Almost immediately the Exhaust Gas Temperature for the No 2 engine rose rapidly, exceeding the maximum limit, and the crew noted that the other engine parameters for the No 2 engine also indicated damage to that engine. None of the other engines showed any unusual indications and the First Officer encountered no significant handling problems in controlling the aircraft.

The crew of another aircraft which had been cleared for take off at 14:47:10 hours saw debris fall from the inboard left engine of the incident aircraft and informed ATC whilst electing to remain at the holding point.

The gear was selected up and the aircraft was climbed straight ahead as the crew confirmed the engine failure. Once above 400 feet agl the drill for 'Engine fire, severe damage or separation' was initiated for the No 2 engine and the First Officer transmitted a 'PAN' call at 14:47:40 hrs informing ATC of the engine failure; this call was acknowledged by the controller. The First Officer engaged the autopilot, the commander took control of the radio and upon reaching 4,000 feet they were given radar vectors towards the south coast.

They were offered a discrete frequency, but declined because the frequency they were then operating was very quiet. The flight engineer confirmed that the Checklist items for an 'Engine fire, severe failure or separation' had been completed and then carried out the associated drills followed by the after take off checks. Once the No 2 engine had been shut down, the thrust lever became locked in position, and the related 'Rev Unlock' amber light illuminated. The cabin services director had already reported to the flight deck that the cabin crew had witnessed significant damage to the No 2 engine.

The aircraft was levelled at FL120 (12,000 feet) over the sea to the south of the Seaford VOR and 50,000 kg of fuel was jettisoned to reduce the aircraft weight to the maximum for landing. When the jettison drill had been completed, the flight engineer went back into the passenger cabin to conduct a visual inspection of the No 2 engine and noted that the intake nose cowl and the fan cowls were missing; he did not observe any related damage to the airframe.

Although there were no apparent hydraulic or flap/slat problems, the crew decided that they would reduce the speed early at every stage of the subsequent approach, in order to detect any handling problems as soon as possible. Whilst in the holding pattern, which was flown at 260 Knots IAS in the clean configuration, there was noticeable airframe vibration. The vibration level increased as speed was reduced and flap progressively extended and was most marked at 205 Knots IAS with flaps 5. However, the level of vibration did not affect the operation of the aircraft and the crew did not experience any difficulty in reading the flight deck instruments.

The commander positioned the aircraft for an ILS approach to Runway 27L with flap 25 selected; the approach and landing were normal with full reverse selected on the outboard engines after touchdown; the aircraft landed at 15:54 hours. Once clear of the runway, a visual inspection was conducted by the Airport Fire Service crews who then followed the aircraft as it taxied to the allocated stand."


2. CAA:

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


British Airways Boeing 747-136; G-AWNJ at London Heathrow (LHR) in April 1978: British Airways Boeing 747-136; G-AWNJ@LHR, April 1978 (5888949960)


Photo of G-AWNJ courtesy

London - Heathrow (EGLL / LHR)
5 January 1998; (c) Leslie Snelleman

Revision history:

21-Jun-2016 21:08 Dr.John Smith Added
21-Jun-2016 21:10 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
21-Jun-2016 21:10 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
21-Jun-2016 21:11 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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