Gonzalo
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:23 pm

The last time was AB's Airbus 330 D-ALPI in September. Now the smelly aircraft forced to divert was D-ALPE, also an Air Berlin A330 aircraft.

http://www.avherald.com/h?article=4477d21b&opt=0

We discussed this in a previous thread ( Serious Incident With Toxic Fumes On AB 332 (by Gonzalo Oct 4 2011 in Civil Aviation) , now archived ), and in that opportunity Medical services contacted via radio refused service arguing the oil fumes event was "political" because of the involved TCP ("TriCresyl Phosphate") problems.

The political problem is becoming a serious PRACTICAL problem for this airline. Three times in less than 60 days one of its heavy aircraft had to divert ( and obviously disrupt the operations of the airline ).

What is the official position of Airbus and the regulators ( and authorities ) about this issue ???

Rgds.

G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
roseflyer
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:34 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):


The political problem is becoming a serious PRACTICAL problem for this airline. Three times in less than 60 days one of its heavy aircraft had to divert ( and obviously disrupt the operations of the airline ).

What is the official position of Airbus and the regulators ( and authorities ) about this issue ???

It is known that oil and hydraulic fumes can get into the cabin of commercial aircraft due to the bleed air system. Obviously having 3 events requiring diversions on a single plane is going to get the regulators attention. Likely it will not be publicly shared, but EASA (or whoever their regulator is) is going to be all over Air Berlin's maintenance and engineering programs. Mechanical diversions are a big deal and a strong indicator of the safety of an airline. High diversion counts mean that maintenance can be improved. The next time Air Berlin asks for a maintenance interval extension or updates their maintenance program, their regulatory authority is going to be less forgiving and want extensive justifications and technical data supporting it.

Problems like chronic aircraft problems do happen. The airplane gets put on a watch list for the maintenance controllers and when problems are reported, the airplane receives more attention since it is known that a quit deferral or circuit breaker reset is not going to fix the problem.

In reality most likely there is a broken valve or a line leak somewhere that has yet to be found. Maintenance thinks they find the problem, replace a part, and dispatch the airplane. Sometimes they are wrong and the actual problem part is very difficult to find. I've chased a problem for 6 months before trying to find the root cause before getting it right. There always seem to be nuisance problems that mask the real problem or other damaged parts that realistically seem like they could be causing the problem.

In this case the problem appears to be an engine oil leak. Finding it has been a problem and it is made worse by the fact that it is getting into the bleed air system. It is Air Berlin's responsibility to find it and do a check to verify they have found the problem. The problem is oil leaks take a while to confirm if they are fixed and require a lengthy engine run. That's expensive, time consuming and requires mechanics and a location where they can do it. None of those are easy.

[Edited 2011-12-11 12:55:15]
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
Gonzalo
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:59 pm

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 1):
Obviously having 3 events requiring diversions on a single plane is going to get the regulators attention. Likely it will not be publicly shared, but EASA (or whoever their regulator is) is going to be all over Air Berlin's maintenance and engineering programs. Mechanical diversions are a big deal and a strong indicator of the safety of an airline. High diversion counts mean that maintenance can be improved.

Indeed. D-ALPI is 4.7 years old, and D-ALPE is an older frame, around 9 years, but both frames are relatively young, and apparently either Airbus or P&W are at fault here since there are dozens of A330 with P&W engines and only the Air Berlin frames are affected. But smelly aircraft diverting and causing upset to hundreds of passengers is not exactly a good PR for Airbus. They should be involved assisting the airline to fix the problem IMHO.

Rgds.

G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
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notaxonrotax
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:03 pm

There was an interesting thread about "monday morning" or "friday afternoon" airframes, recently.
Basically it came down to "big headache-aircraft", no matter what you do; something always seems to go belly up on them!
Would this be an example? I imagined they took corrective action on this frame after the first 2 incident$$$!??!

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roseflyer
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:10 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 2):
Indeed. D-ALPI is 4.7 years old, and D-ALPE is an older frame, around 9 years, but both frames are relatively young, and apparently either Airbus or P&W are at fault here since there are dozens of A330 with P&W engines and only the Air Berlin frames are affected.

Airbus and PW can help if there is a design problem that lead to the oil leak. However after 3 years it is pretty much something that the airline has to deal with. Parts break. That's why maintenance is done. Finding the problem is up to Air Berlin and they can communicate with Airbus/PW and other airlines to see if it is a chronic problem, but usually things like this don't turn into a problem that requires that level of work. It likely is a busted line somewhere.

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 2):
But smelly aircraft diverting and causing upset to hundreds of passengers is not exactly a good PR for Airbus. They should be involved assisting the airline to fix the problem IMHO.

Airbus likely has direct support staff on site at Air Berlin and the engineers can always ask for help. Mechanical problems happen every day, so I think it is just unlucky that it has received this much press.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
rjm777ual
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:54 pm

Haha that title is pretty funny! I didn't even know that there was a first incident! Do they know what the smell was caused by? smoke?
Greetings from Dulles!
 
trijetsonly
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:07 pm

This problem is not only with AB and the PW4164-Engines of the 330. Other Airlines have these problems, too. Every two weeks a LH aircraft diverts due to Oil Smell in cabin. Most affected aircraft is the A321 with V2500 engines. Number two goes to the A330 with RB211-Trent700 engines, hardly in front of the 380 with its Trent900 engines.
Happy Landings
 
loggat
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:13 am

US Airways had a high profile return to gate of a 767 in CLT within the last two years for a toxic fume event. I believe quite a few passengers got sick and an FA passed out. Anyone else remember this?
There are 3 types of people in this world, those that can count, and those that can't.
 
neutronstar73
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:29 am

Are you serious? If this aircraft or family of aircraft is prone to this, you would think someone would have fixed it by now.
 
Gonzalo
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:53 am

Quoting rjm777ual (Reply 5):
Do they know what the smell was caused by? smoke?

Well, there is some discussion about, but the TCP is apparently the main cause.
A brief description of TCP :
http://chemicalland21.com/industrial...sticizer/TRICRESYL%20PHOSPHATE.htm

Quoting Trijetsonly (Reply 6):
This problem is not only with AB and the PW4164-Engines of the 330.

Sorry for being so picky but the aircraft involved use P&W 4168A engines   

Quoting Trijetsonly (Reply 6):
Other Airlines have these problems, too. Every two weeks a LH aircraft diverts due to Oil Smell in cabin. Most affected aircraft is the A321 with V2500 engines. Number two goes to the A330 with RB211-Trent700 engines, hardly in front of the 380 with its Trent900 engines.

Thanks for that info, I didn't know that.

Rgds.

G.
Gear Up!!: DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20-21 / B732 / B763 / B789
 
roseflyer
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Another AB A330 diverts due to toxic fumes in cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:03 am

Quoting neutronstar73 (Reply 8):
Are you serious? If this aircraft or family of aircraft is prone to this, you would think someone would have fixed it by now.

Things are always being "uncovered" and design improvements happening. Even the venerable 737 has multiple service bulletins coming out every week.

This could be a poor design on a line or a control valve to that is prone to leaking. It might fail once every 500,000 flight hours, but Air Berlin got unlucky in this case.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
USAirALB
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RE: Another AB A330 Diverts Due To Toxic Fumes In Cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:20 am

Quoting loggat (Reply 7):
US Airways had a high profile return to gate of a 767 in CLT within the last two years for a toxic fume event. I believe quite a few passengers got sick and an FA passed out. Anyone else remember this?

Yup. It happened a couple of times on 767 #0251 on Caribbean flights out of CLT, flight crews sued ST Aerospace over this.

http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/16-US...ys-crew-members-sue-119796624.html
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prebennorholm
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RE: Another AB A330 Diverts Due To Toxic Fumes In Cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:47 am

The thread headline is wrong. The avherald link nowhere mentions "toxic fumes". It mentions "unidentifiable odour".

If the crew had had any suspicion that it could have been toxic fumes, then no way would they have turned around and then spent two hours and forty minutes on flying back to JFK. They would have landed at nearest suitable airport way up in Canada.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
wingscrubber
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RE: Another AB A330 Diverts Due To Toxic Fumes In Cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:21 am

The BAe 146 has been fairly notable for fume events;

http://www.aerotoxic.org/news-and-articles/fume-event-incident-reports

Folks like Aerotoxic.org and Flyers rights love to point to the fact that the 787 should be impervious to the problem as it uses no bleed air for cabin pressurization, so no path for engine oil fumes to enter the cabin, because of this it's become their favourite airplane.

When I'm flying I always notice the most fumes and odors on the ground when the airplane is taxiing, a lot of diesel fumes get into the cabin taxiing behind other jets with their engines running, but that doesn't seem to bother people so much, I guess because it's a familiar smell.
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something
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RE: Another AB A330 Diverts Due To Toxic Fumes In Cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:25 am

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 13):
When I'm flying I always notice the most fumes and odors on the ground when the airplane is taxiing, a lot of diesel fumes get into the cabin taxiing behind other jets with their engines running, but that doesn't seem to bother people so much, I guess because it's a familiar smell.

I quite like the smell, but have always wondered about how much of a health risk this is, not for me so much personally, but for crew who are exposed to this on a daily basis.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
737tdi
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RE: Another AB A330 Diverts Due To Toxic Fumes In Cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:15 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 10):
Things are always being "uncovered" and design improvements happening. Even the venerable 737 has multiple service bulletins coming out every week.



Absolutely true.

The 737NG had a fairly minor modification a few years back due to skydrol getting into the bleed air system and contaminating the cabin with fumes. It involved the unit that pressurizes the hyd. reservoirs. It was failing and allowing skydrol into the bleed air prior to the air conditioning packs. Boeing designed a new system and we removed and replaced it, problem solved. Took us about 8 to 10 hours to do.

I also wanted to clarify a statement about an engine oil leak for any interested. It is not a leak like you see dripping on the ramp like most. It is oil that is leaking past the engine bearings and into the air upstream of where the customer air is bled off from. Not something you can see visually. I know I'm preaching to the choir for some but others may not have understood.
 
LTU330
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RE: Another AB A330 Diverts Due To Toxic Fumes In Cabin

Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:21 am

This is more common than you would think. The 757 had a history of this due to over filling the Engine Oil. At British Airways we had a Tech Letter to never fill to full. I seem to remember we filled it to one Quart below full to prevent this problem. We had one Pilot who was forever complaining of oil fumes on our small 737-500 fleet. We could never replicate it, and other Pilots never mentioned it in the Tech Log. We also had certain routes with the 747 that had a remarkably high return to stand level, even after take-off sometimes. Most of the reported "defects" could not be replicated, or did not justify dumping 30 tons of fuel or more. I am sure that if Aviation Herald reported on every diversion due to fumes in the aircraft then there would be no space for anything more unusual.

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