British Airways B772 over Atlantic on Dec 2nd 2012, smoke in cabin
Last Update: November 11, 2013 / 17:27:42 GMT/Zulu time
The AAIU reported that while enroute over the Atlantic the crew experienced three smoke encounters. The captain (pilot monitoring) described the third smoke event as "quite bad" prompting the commander to instruct the first officer (pilot flying) to don his oxygen mask, the captain declared Mayday and instructed the aircraft to descend to FL150. The captain did not don his oxygen mask considering this would impair radio communication. The aircraft diverted to Shannon at FL150, while enroute to Shannon the crew actioned the relevant smoke checklists and cleared the smoke. The crew therefore downgraded the Mayday to PAN about 30 minutes after declaring Mayday reporting that the diversion to Shannon was still necessary due to the higher fuel burn at FL150, after working the checklists and following diagnosis the right hand equipment cooling fan had failed. The aircraft landed safely on Shannon's runway 24 118 minutes after declaring Mayday.
Maintenance disabled the right hand cooling supply fan in accordance with the aircraft maintenance manual and released the aircraft under minimum equipment list requirements to return to London. The aircraft was ferried to London.
Examination of the fan showed that the front bearing race had collapsed, a common fault. Due to the contact of rotating parts with stationary parts overheating occurred, internal protecting logic shut down the fan and activated the left hand cooling fan.
All fan bearings of the faulty fan were replaced and the rotor balanced.
The AAIU commented: "This occurrence, which developed in mid-Atlantic, was operationally well handled by the flight crew who, when faced with the threat of smoke on the flightdeck, made the prudent decision to declare an emergency, to make an early descent and to set course for the nearest diversion airport. The AAIU is aware of several similar occurrences with other operatorâ€™s aircraft, which have necessitated diversions into Irish airports. The Operator is working towards the installation of vibration monitors, which should result in early detection of fan issues and thus lead to a reduction in the number of fan failures leading to in-flight smoke events."
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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