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After engine shuts down mid-flight, SmartWings 737-800 crew continued on for another 2 hours and 20 minutes to Prague on remaining engine

On 22 August, a SmartWings Boeing 737-800 (OK-TVO) operated flight QS-1125 from Samos, Greece to Prague, Czech Republic with 170 passengers on board. The aircraft was flying at 36,000 feet over the Aegean Sea about 100nm northeast of Athens, Greece when the crew drifted the aircraft down to 24,000 feet and continued to Prague at that level for a landing without further incident about 2:20 hours later. ( More...

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bbabis 23
Once again, experience and hours do not make a safe pilot. Safety is between the ears. This captain is clearly unsafe.

Any engine that fails for “unknown reason” must have the suspicion of fuel contamination. That issue rarely only affects one side. It must be considered an impending issue for any other operating engines. Continuing 2+ hrs and overflying very suitable airports is unconscionable.
airuphere 13
Totally.. I really think the PIC being Director of Flight Ops had a big factor here. Instead of analyzing as a pilot - he was analyzing as a exec.
Sam Hernandez 2
I bet you're right - too many hats and therefore lacking objectivity.
patrick baker 14
this was not a ETOPS flight where he was compelled to continue, or look for the preprogramed early landing spot. The captain gets to decide many things, some of them on the spot, but i would have had harsh words for him when we got to the ground. There were suitable runways( long enough, with service equipment, fuel and mechanics) so he had other factors to make him drive on. i disagree with him , even after reading the commments here below. I would not knowingly fly with him in command or with any airline dumb enough to engage him. I have flown with two guys like him, and he would never be the third
Tim Eichman 1
Looking at the flight track for this flight (, by the time they had dropped to FL24, they were 25 nm from Thessaloniki (SKG/LGTS) [two 8,000' runways]... even after continuing as they tried to restart it, they passed within minutes of the St. Paul the Apostle (OHD/LWOH), Macedonia [8,366'] and Sofia (SOF/LBSF), Bulgaria [11,811'] most likely well after they gave up hope of restarting...
patrick baker 17
it is not a question if you or i would have continued the flight, for both of us could be idiots just like the captain. It is written that if one engine is disabled, come and land immediately at the closest airport. The airline accountants are overjoyed that the flight continued, passengers and regulators less so. Future smartwings passengers are forewarned..... safety does not come first here...,..
30west 18
Patrick, its actually the nearest "suitable" airport, not closest airport. Suitable takes into account more than just suffficient runway length. Severity of the problem (raging engine fire that can't be controlled or a simple engine shutdown), weather, availability of Fire-Rescue crews, ability to safely deplane pax after a normal landing, etc.

The use of Captain's Authority to determine the nearest suitable airport places that decision squarely on him. It must be a defensible decision when it's time to answer the inevitable questions that follow after a two hour and twenty minute continuation to desination. Continiung for 2+ hours overflying major international airports is hard, in my opinion, to justify as a good decision.
Cibrut Turbic 4
Yeah, money, money, money. What an stupid ecuse! No single ATC was informed about that. What if ATC would need quickly maneuver to elsevhere, thinking about crippled aircraft as aircraft in perfect condition? Or if second engine would went out too? Aviation savety is ONLY possible thanks to all those "ifs" are taken into account when certyfing i.e. new aircraft or if making flying rules better or up to date. So why such "if" didn't apply here?
airuphere 2
like 30west said.. suitable airport and where they were - geographical/political factors might of come into play when the company was sorting it out with the flight deck. Granted capt’s decision.. but who know ho it was handled from the ground. I’m guessing here that the captain might of been persuaded from company on where they wanted the a/c.. now it is his call, I’m just saying he was probably under company pressure on the com.
Sam Hernandez 1
Just mark the engine as inoperable and continue. You've got 2. (Just Kidding!)
john kilcher 1
Hardly funny, and I ain't kidding.
MSU Sparty 4
The airline should be renamed DumbWings
airuphere 4
Sorry to post comment again but I had to leave this... from PPRuNe I was lead to a AV Herald article and..

The PIC is also the Director of Flight Ops for the airline... soooo lol
ToddBaldwin3 9
So he can have harsh words with himself and write up his own counseling form.
airuphere 2
airuphere 3
In the article A controller working that day said they were not informed about the EO either. They were only told of a technical issue.. he went on to say “tells us a lot about the airline”
They might need to rename to #DumbWings after this
airuphere 2
It’s absolutely nuts..
I get that these planes are designed to fly with 1 engine, etc. but shouldn't it be, one engine down, get your ass on the ground? (ok, maybe some issues where the destiation airport is x minutes different than the emergency landing) over 2h on one engine? no.
LarryQB 3
Remember the Eastern 1011 that lost
Or shut down 2 of 3 engines due to loss of oil pressure? Turned out the mechanic didn’t install a necessary seal. If one engine fails get it on the ground and then trouble shoot. Even on a 4-engine plane you don’t know if there’s a common problem.
sparkie624 1
Remember that one well.
The "Broken Plane, but please get it back to base to save us money" tactic
Jesse Carroll 1
Maybe he used his Smart Phone to tell him what to do! I would never fly with him or her whichever it is. I agree with the "One Down, put it on the Ground" thing!
SkyAware123 1
With all his 'experience' it should be even more reason to fire the pompous ass and ban him from flying any airplane ever. wtf.
I don't see any evidence that anyone who is rushing to condemn this pilot knows the facts regarding the shut down. If the engine was shut down for a simple, identifiable, cautionary reason that clearly did not involve possible fuel contamination, risk of fire, etc., then the crew's decision to continue to their home base may not have been as negligent as everyone assumes. Another factor is that the pilot may have been more comfortable making a SE approach to a familiar runway.
sparkie624 1
With an engine out... Standard procedure in every flight ops manual is to proceed to nearest suitable airport... Over 2 hours away, I am sure there was a suitable airport. The crew made a decision for what ever reason... but either way.. they broke the rules... this time they got away with it... Hope they are as lucky the next!
duncan green 1
Will the one working engine pull the plane to the side? Does the rudder help?
Everyone's posts to an article like this is very educational for those of us in the back. It's why I follow this forum. Thanks as always for the insight
yikes! although it is the captains discretion to make decisions with regard to emergency landing etcetera,according to the article, he did not advise atc towers that he had an issue,and continued to fly on the extra two and one half hours to his destination..i am guessing he did not advise the flight attendants nor the passengers if an issue either!i would not think, company pressure to keep flying or be on time,should or would be relevant to the lives and safety of 170 people...
brownbearwolf 1
Well single engine operations in twin, is just that. Company policy's, Point of No Return or Critical Point having been , or not been reached or passed. Determines the continued operation of a flight to a planed destination. Oftern a internation flight will divert to an airport in a country they the company has landing rights to, than fly to the nearest suitable airport. Very easy to direct assumptions on a small sample of information.
Declan Spring 1
Will not ever fly with SmartWings after this disgrace.
Will never fly on a 737-Max after all its design flaws.Fixing a fix wont solve the aerodynamic and cente of gravity problem.Putting the engine in the wrong place was incredible. Mark my words.
duncan green 1
Will the one working engine pull the plane to the side? Does the rudder help?
Jeff Coghill 1
Sure it was safe. But it was really, really not smart.
paul gilpin 1
yes i know this is an aviation blog, however, anyone who has ever watch youtube videos of eastern european car accidents can readily tell "these" are a different breed.
roll a car three or four times. get out walk away. nothing unusual about that.
run into three of four cars. get out. ask one of the victims for a light for your cigarette.
run into three of four cars. drive away.
yes. i know. this is an aviation blog.
sparkie624 1
I fail to understand this here... The a/c did what it was supposed to do, continued flying on one engine... what is so special... It is designed that way! The big question here, did they continue to the nearest suitable airport or continue to destination or somewhere else... If not nearest suitable, they they violated policy
SkyAware123 1
Did you even read the article? Apparently not. They went on to there destination. Over 2 hours which means many airports were closer by than that.
Mark Weiser 0
With all the noise about etops etc. Why do you think there is so much outrage that they continued, I thought the 737-800 is quite capable of performing normally on a single engine. Barring any other issues, why does the group seem to favor the huge disruptions, clearly the PIC felt they were ok, Is it his decision or not?
John D 1
While this comparison may not be the best, I liken it to having several light bulbs in a fixture and one burns out, it's common for the other one to burn out a short time later.
British Airways lost 1 on a 747 just after takeoff in LAX and continued across the Atlantic to London. NOT SAFE because no one on the plane knew WHY the engine failed and what effect it might have had on the structure or other systems. If fuel contamination, the other engines will shortly follow. If hydraulics are compromised, you compromise the ability to fly. So why continue? The European passenger bill of rights which guarantees compensation to the passengers if the plane doesn't make its destination. As the PIC was also an exec, you can bet this entered his head when he decided to overfly multiple suitable options in a crippled airplane.
patrick baker 0
love it when someone in the peanut gallery lectures about the meaning of "suitable runway" to us all, included at least one who has lost one of two engines, without debating much more than the closest, longest runway usable. If it be a short field, remember a lighter than usual takeoff will use less runway after the repairs, so length is less a concern.
sharon bias -4
The question is, was the pilot incompetent, didn't believe the rules applied to him, was following management's guidelines, or just didn't care? No matter what the answer, this was extremely dangerous. If allowed to fly in the future, he should be assigned to those prop jobs that land in fields in Africa. Wasn't there a recent posting about a plane that killed wildebeests on landing.


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