TransAsia A320 enroute on Jul 24th 2016, scorching water

Last Update: December 12, 2017 / 19:19:47 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 24, 2016

Classification
Incident

Flight number
GE-367

Destination
Macau, China

Aircraft Registration
B-22317

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

A Transasia Airbus A320-200, registration B-22317 performing flight GE-367 from Taichung (Taiwan) to Macau (China) with 99 passengers and 8 crew, was enroute when smoke emanated from the aft galley. Cabin crew shut the galley power down, identified the water heater as source of the smoke and discharged a Halon fire extinguisher. After verifying that there was no further trace of smoke, heat or fire the flight crew decided to continue the flight to Macau where the aircraft landed safely about 70 minutes after departure from Shalu.

The aircraft remained on the ground for 22 hours, then resumed service.

Taiwan's ASC opened an investigation requesting FDR, CVR recordings, crew statements and the water heater from the airline.

In July 2017 the ASC released their final report in Chinese concluding the probable causes of the incident were:

The water heater emanating smoke was primarily caused by the thin external conductors of the water heater printed circuit board PCB resulting in a higher resistance and heat generation, and manually correction of the misaligned Faston connectors after wave soldering process may make flawed connection. The combination of higher resistance and flawed connection could have made the PCB accumulating high temperature then resulting in heat damage and smoke under normal operation.

The ASC reported following safety action was taken: "The water heater manufacturer, B/E Aerospace Inc., released a service information letter, No. H0212-25-0245, on February 28, 2017, with title of "ADDITIONAL INSPECTION INSTRUCTION FOR POWER MODULE ASSEMBLY". The letter indicated if the bad contact occurred at some specific connectors on power module assembly, this could cause arcing and possible overheating. All applicable units including the occurrence water heater type DR4101, the power module assembly must be examined at the next available shop visit. If the discolored marks are found, the power module must be replaced according to component maintenance manual."

On Dec 12th 2017 the Dutch Safety Board (Onderzoeksraad, DSB) reported, that they joined the investigation led by the ASC because the water heater in question was Dutch manufacture and stated:

The Airbus A320, with a crew of eight and 99 passengers on board, was flying from Taichung International Airport (Taiwan) to Macau International Airport (Macau). During the climb a water heater in the rear galley began to dissipate smoke and a burning smell. The cabin crew switched off power to the galley and used a halon fire extinguisher on the area they suspected that the smoke was coming from. They then pulled all of the galley equipment circuit breakers. The smoke stopped and the burning smell disappeared. The crew decided to continue their flight towards their destination, where the aircraft made an uneventful landing.

An investigation carried out by the manufacturer of the water heater revealed that the smoke had been generated by thin external conductors on the printed circuit board (PCB), which had increased their electrical resistance and consequently generated more heat. They also discovered that a Faston connector had been incorrectly aligned for soldering during fabrication process and had later been modified by hand. It is possible that this connector did not make a good connection. The combination of the increased resistance and poor connection made it possible that a high temperature developed on the PCB, coupled with smoke emission and a burning smell.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 24, 2016

Classification
Incident

Flight number
GE-367

Destination
Macau, China

Aircraft Registration
B-22317

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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