Thursday, 06 December 2007 19:15
Hi Capt Lim,
I am so glad to find your very informative website. It helps me tremendously in alleviating some of my fears.
I have just booked a family vacation from San Francisco to Hawaii 2 week from now and purposely chose Boeing 777 because of safety reason. According to the flight schedule, the flight time will be approximately 5 hours. However, I am very nervous when I see on the map that there is no single island or airport between San Francisco and Honolulu.
What happen when the 777 has to land during emergency? And what kind of options the pilot has in this type of flight over the ocean (returning to originating airport, ditching to the ocean)? Please kindly explain.
Thank you very much for your time,
In my earlier FAQ concerning a similar topic, I have mentioned that there is nothing to worry about. The Boeing 777 has been certified to fly on one engine for more than three hours. In the beginning, when 2-engined commercial airplanes were introduced, most of them were restricted to fly not more than one hour away from an emergency airport.
Today with very reliable engines, the Boeing 777 has been approved by the FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) to fly across the Pacific Ocean provided they are within 3 hours away from any suitable airports. Since Honolulu is only 5 hours flight from San Francisco, assuming that there are no suitable airports or islands between them, at mid-point, a Boeing 777 is never more than two and a half hours away to return to the original, or proceed to the destination airport for a safe landing during an emergency.