Fly2HMO
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Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:58 pm

Are today's, or yesterday's cockpits designed to withstand, say, coffee, water, etc... on the instruments? What would happen in a modern glass cockpit or in an older analog cockpit?

I know they're not 100% waterproof, but it makes sense to me that this is taken into consideration when a cockpit is designed. You never know when you could puddle the FMC with coffee because of severe clear air turbulence. Embarrassment

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XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:10 pm

Ive dumped two packets of powerdered creamer over the FMS before in a moment of stupidty. Seemed to work fine, haha. That FMS makes a pretty good looking ski slope.
Chicks dig winglets.
 
L-188
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Thu Apr 15, 2004 3:07 pm

There is a very popular family of buisness jets that have a circut breaker panel in the sidewall.

Mechanics hated them, because the manufacturer molded two cupholders in the top of that panel.

OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Thu Apr 15, 2004 7:00 pm

An airline I used to regularly jumpseat on had a custom:
Drinks (coffee, tea, soda) were handed to the pilots NOT through the middle, over the centre pedestal, but around the outside, along the windows, over the flight bags. Makes sense!
I´ve seen enough audio panels and com panels suffering of the "Pepsi-syndrome"

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
tokolosh
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Thu Apr 15, 2004 7:52 pm

Decaff is OK, the plane doesn't get too worked up.

What about paper clips? Those are fatal for some computer keyboards.


Did the chicken or the egg get laid first?
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:57 pm

Sounds like you guys have never owned an IBM Thinkpad (qualifier, a model built for travel like the 600, the T series or the X series). A colleague of mine spilled coffee with milk all over his keyb while in Virgin Upper Class. He calmly removed a small screwdriver from his bag (blunt one ok for post-9/11 flying), flipped the Thinkpad and unscrewed the keyboard. He then washed it off in the bathroom and allowed it to dry for two hours. That was a year ago and he's still using it. No problem...

As for paperclips, that's why Thinkpads have the lip around the screen. It protects against penetration by paperclip.


This goes to prove that it IS possible to build sturdy, spill-proof electronics.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
wing
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Fri Apr 16, 2004 12:26 am

"An airline I used to regularly jumpseat on had a custom:
Drinks (coffee, tea, soda) were handed to the pilots NOT through the middle, over the centre pedestal, but around the outside, along the windows, over the flight bags. Makes sense!"


Thats what we do when beverages served to us in cockpit.Although I had coffee spilled over me twice during my frlights I have menaged to keep the centre padestal and the FMC clean until today.One of the captains I flew told me a cup of cofee spilled over the radios caused one to mulfunction during the days he flew 727.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Fri Apr 16, 2004 12:43 am

For me coffe / drinks spilled over the instruments and dirt (food left-overs) around the seats are a BIG pet peeve, same as rubbish in the sun shade boxes and around the seats. The cleaners are not allowed to enter the cockpits except for changing rubbish bags, so we have to clean up the mess. Sometimes I think the houses of the pilots must look the same.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
SkyGuy11
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Fri Apr 16, 2004 1:11 am

Ha, I accidentally put my cell phone in the washing machine the other day. The darn thing went through an entire cycle and worked just fine the next day. I'd like to think airline instruments are at least as durable as my phone  Smile
.
 
avioniker
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Sat Apr 17, 2004 6:14 am

Airline instruments are just as durable as your cell phone. They are NOT, however, as lucky (normally).
Few things can find nooks, crannies, or cracks as well as Coke or Sugared coffee. And the Sugar is an excellent conductor.
I don't care how well sealed a panel is the wet stuff will find its way into the display and circuits eventually.
I worked for a company that banned liquids forward of the seat backs. It didn't matter. We still changed panels regularly for liquid intrusion.
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
ba299
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:45 am

Trust me the MFD on the 777 are a good place where to put cups...  Nuts
 
bsergonomics
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Mon Apr 19, 2004 7:31 am

The specs that we usually deal with require environmental qualification for a whole host of undesirable situations. However, most of them quote mist tests (i.e., being sprayed with a liquid) rather than waterproof tests (being immersed in a liquid). This means that spraying a liquid (for example, when the Captain tells you the story about that woman in Bankok in 1974, while you are sipping your coffee) is OK, because it's only a spray and it won't penetrate the covers. On the other hand, if you leave a standing liquid (for example, when the Captain tells you the story of that woman in Bankok and her mother in 1975, making you drop your coffee on the FMS), it may well soak through the covers, into the electronics. At which point either the FMS directs you to Bankok or doesn't let you leave.

Once more, it comes down to economics and risk assessments. The qualification requirements are (obviously) far more stringent and taxing for waterproof equipment than for water resistant equipment. Since the risk of a malfunction and its associated costs are small, the manufacturer (directed by the FAA/CAA/other governing body) only uses the water resistant tests.

Just out of curiosity, were you thinking of coffee with or without sugar and with or without milk? Each variable will have an effect. Sugared coffee, for example, will have a significantly greater effect on a mechanical control or instrument than unsugared.
The definition of a 'Pessimist': an Optimist with experience...
 
airplay
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Mon Apr 19, 2004 12:36 pm

Newer avionics are much more tolerant then older equipment. I remember habitually removing LRN-85 CDUs for repair after even the slightest splash of sugary coffee made the keys stick.

As these systems evolve, so to the quality of the keys and displays. I wouldn't however recommend bathing them regularly in coffee or tea.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:55 pm

Handing the drinks around the outboard side of the pilot seats is called the "check airman pass" around here. It is really a good idea because the center pedestal is probably most vulnerable to spills.

Not likely that anyone will set a drink cup on the glareshield. It has quite a slope. Have seen pilots do it though, set the coffee down far enough forward that the top is held by the slope of the windshield. Won't work for a full cup. Makes me uncomfortable. Spilling coffee on the boot surrounding the Airbus sidestick is another goof worthy of a thorough cleanup.

I have no personal experience with coffee's effects on airplanes, but having dropped a very expensive video camera in Utah's Virgin River I'm guessing it would be a bad thing.

Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
Mr Spaceman
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Wed Apr 21, 2004 9:04 am

Hi guys.

Regarding setting drinks up on the glareshield as mentioned by SlamClick, it appears that Convair had this taken care of. It looks like Cup Holders were an option on some of their CV-440's & 340's.


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aviopic
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Thu Apr 22, 2004 6:36 am

Liquid will not cause a short circuit as long as we are talking about 28V systems, will be a problem with 115V systems though.
Years ago we had a big modification program which involved taping all the covers of the control panels mounted in the pedestal because those pilots don't use there cup holders underneath the window but the pedestal instead with the obvious results of course.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
airplay
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Thu Apr 22, 2004 7:08 am

Liquid will not cause a short circuit as long as we are talking about 28V systems, will be a problem with 115V systems though.

Not true. Any alternate current path is considered a "short circuit". The magnitude of the resistance of the path doesn't enter in to the classic definition of the term.

The effects of conducting liquid in proximity to eletronic devices can be damaging no matter what the supply voltage.

[Edited 2004-04-22 00:08:34]
 
MEGAPTERA
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RE: Coffee Spilled Over The Instruments, Oops!

Sun Apr 25, 2004 11:59 pm

I know it's going slightly off topic but not long after it opened, the new high tech computer controlled signalling centre that looked after train movements in and out of London's Paddington station ground to a halt when the cursor ball became jammed and prevented any movements being made. The cause of the jam was revealed to be a build-up of toast crumbs.

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