AirWillie6475
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Smoke In The Cockpit

Mon May 22, 2006 4:21 pm

I think pilots will agree that if there is anything worse than an engine failure it's smoke/fire in the cockpit/cabin. How are pilots trained to deal with this? I was looking at the FAA incident reports and I found that smoke in cockpit is not that uncommon, not to mention Swissair 111.
 
bri2k1
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Mon May 22, 2006 7:51 pm

Any fire scares me a lot more than the engine conking out, and I only have one engine. After mucho practico, I'm highly confident I would walk away from an airplane that could be flown again if the rubber band up front broke. A fire isn't the same story.

In the 172, the procedure for smoke/fire in the cabin is to kill the source of the fire, then kill the fire's food. That is, turn off the master switch to kill all electrical power, then close all windows and vents to starve the fire of air. It says something about a fire extinguisher, but I've never flown a plane with one on board.

An engine (or fuel-related) fire is similar; kill the gas via the mixture control and fuel selector valve. This one has the side effect of shutting down the engine, so an emergency landing is in order. In either case, I'd be wanting to get on the ground ASAP.

It takes a lot longer to descend from 30,000 AGL than 3,000 AGL, so I'm curious to learn the different procedures for "big iron."
Position and hold
 
SlamClick
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Mon May 22, 2006 11:38 pm

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 1):
It takes a lot longer to descend from 30,000 AGL than 3,000 AGL, so I'm curious to learn the different procedures for "big iron."

Truly!! If you just sawed the power off to idle and descended normally it would likely take fifteen minutes or more. You might not want to take that much time.

There are three basic types of fire that could cause smoke in the cockpit. An ordinary trash fire in the lav or galley - least serious and will probably be fixed by dumping the coffee pot over it. Quicker and handier than the fire extinguisher and won't ground you at the next stop if a replacement cannot be found.

The next two are more serious:

Air conditioning smoke.
Electrical smoke.

They start with the same checklist and only diverge after saying:

LAND IMMEDIATELY

"Accomplish the following as time permits..."


I know of one 727 crew that actually declined clearances to descend and land until they'd run the entire checklist and stopped the smoke. Now I ask you; what are the odds you could, through random crew bidding, end up with THREE judgementally-challenged pilots on the same flight deck at the same time? Anyway the company amended the checklist immediately to include the warning above.

Wouldn't you rather let the airport fire department deal with the problem?

Air conditioning smoke usually means you are going to lose a pack.

Electrical smoke, if you were far out over the ocean involves a lengthy checklist where you isolate various segments of the electrical supply and distribution system in turn, waiting for the smoke to stop. Toward the end it gets pretty scary. Of course subsequent landing checklists would be different for each case. May you never find yourself out one of the branches of these checklists.

Several earlier jetliners like DC-9 or B-737 had the generator relays on the flight deck, behind the circuit breaker panels. So you have a cable as big as your thumb feeding 115 volt, 400 cycle three-phase AC electrical power in quantities sufficient for arc welding from each generator to a place just aft of your seat. I've had one of these relays cook itself, fortunately on the ground and we just taxiied back to the gate. Problem over. That smoke is really acrid and burns your eyes. About the second inhalation and you begin wondering what kind of carcinogens you are breathing.

Should also mention that these checklists will be run with oxygen mask and smoke goggles on. Not fun!

In general though, I'd agree with Bri2k1 that it is potentialy more serious than an engine failure. The Swissair 111 crash was one of the scariest events to come along during my career.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
2H4
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Mon May 22, 2006 11:57 pm




Quoting SlamClick (Reply 2):

Wouldn't you rather let the airport fire department deal with the problem?

Exactly!

I had electrical smoke in the cockpit once after departure, about 7 or 8 miles away from the airport. I immediately turned back, advised tower I'd be making a straight-in approach, and asked them to roll the trucks.

I ended up beating the trucks to the runway, despite requesting them from 7-8 miles out and flying a 172. I was rather proud of my speedy return to the airport in that particular instance.  biggrin 

Oh, and ever since that day, I never leave the landing light on for visibility...only the lower-powered taxi light...




2H4


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pilotaydin
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Tue May 23, 2006 1:12 am

i remember watching the Swiss 111 documentary and they had evidence that the F/O was alive during the last 6 mins as the plane flew into the ocean...that really upset me big time, such a tragedy...

on the -400 you can smell something burning, and you always think it's a fire or something but it's the old school ovens right behind the panel area and everytime something is heated up i can kinda smell a burn like scent...makes me nervous
The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
 
mikehobley
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Tue May 23, 2006 2:32 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 1):
It says something about a fire extinguisher, but I've never flown a plane with one on board.

rather you than me. wouldnt dream of flying without one in my PA-38.
 
3DPlanes
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Tue May 23, 2006 11:05 am

In the big iron, is there a maneuver like the "emergency descent" we have in GA? Flaps out and then spiral down at Vfe? I'm sure the pax wouldn't like the bank and the g load, but you do tend to come down in a hurry...

Of course, small planes are slow enough to -try- to land anywhere, not so sure you'd want to put an airliner down in a 1000' clearing in a forest. I suppose you could argue that it -might- beat the alternative.

-3DPlanes
"Simplicate and add lightness." - Ed Heinemann
 
September11
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Tue May 23, 2006 12:08 pm

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Thread starter):
I think pilots will agree that if there is anything worse than an engine failure it's smoke/fire in the cockpit/cabin.

Think of the pilots on ValuJet 592 -- flight attendants and pilots reported smoke in the cabin around 15 minutes before nose dive took place. Pilots declared emergency landing, then smoke continued to expand in the cabin and unfortunately entered the cockpit before pilots could make it back to the airport.

[Edited 2006-05-23 05:30:59]
Airliners.net of the Future
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Tue May 23, 2006 7:22 pm

Quoting Mikehobley (Reply 5):
It says something about a fire extinguisher, but I've never flown a plane with one on board.

Isn't there a regulatory requirement for it.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
SlamClick
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Tue May 23, 2006 10:40 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 8):
Isn't there a regulatory requirement for it.

For airliners, absolutely. Several of them and for all classes of fires. High pressure water and Halon are the common ones. There are also built-ins in the trash containers.

Quoting 3DPlanes (Reply 6):
In the big iron, is there a maneuver like the "emergency descent" we have in GA? Flaps out and then spiral down at Vfe?

Yes, and every initial checkout includes this as a demonstated maneuver. Difference is that we will descend 'clean' because there is a mach limit on flap extension that is far more restrictive than IAS limitations. Normally we just have a highest altitude for flap extension.

Then there are two basic descent modes: Extend speed brakes and maintain MMO / VMO or, if structural damage is suspected, maintain existing speed or slower. There is more to it than that, but you get the idea. And we don't normally spiral but take vectors to the nearest suitable airport.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
bri2k1
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Wed May 24, 2006 1:23 am

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 8):
Isn't there a regulatory requirement for it.

But obviously not for GA, which is what my comment was regarding. For a complex airplane under VFR Day conditions, a useful pneumonic is TOMATOFLAMES:

T - Tachometer
O - Oil pressure gauge
M - Manifold pressure gauge
A - Altimeter
T - Temperature gauge (for each liquid cooled engine)
O - Oil temperature gauge
F - Fuel gauge
L - Landing gear position indicator
A - Airspeed indicator
M - Magnetic direction indicator (compass)
E - ELT
S - Seatbelts

The list is even shorter for a non-complex plane.
Position and hold
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Wed May 24, 2006 2:26 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 10):
pneumonic

Pneumonia?  Wink Hate to nitpick such a great thread (he lied) but it's spelled "mnemonic".
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
bri2k1
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Wed May 24, 2006 5:15 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 11):
it's spelled "mnemonic"

Yes, thank you for that correction. I guess I had pneumatics on the brain.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 11):
such a great thread (he lied)

What does this mean?
Position and hold
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Wed May 24, 2006 6:31 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 12):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 11):
such a great thread (he lied)

What does this mean?

It's a mannerism I picked up from my boss. Basically it's like saying "NOT!"

"I hate do do such and such..." then, in deadpan voice "he lied" as if a narrator is commenting.

Sorry about being unclear. I was trying to be humorous and failing...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
EssentialPowr
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Wed May 24, 2006 6:31 am

The answer for me is to know the procedures, and take advantage of the training you get. Make sure the O2 mask tests properly, and that O2 levels are adequate. Most electrical fires in their early stages will extinguish when power is removed.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 3):
Oh, and ever since that day, I never leave the landing light on for visibility...only the lower-powered taxi light...

Maybe on a 172(?)...but for an airliner, arbitrarily electing to avoid using something that is designed and certified for such use eventually means that one should avoid using just about everything, b/c all systems have failures. Lower wattage doesn't on a taxi light does not decrease the probability or intensity of an electrical short, and leaving the landing light on does increase the visability of a 172, day or night...
 
2H4
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Wed May 24, 2006 6:56 am




Quoting EssentialPowr (Reply 14):
Maybe on a 172

Yes, I should have specified. It was a 172R. I didn't mean to imply it pertained to anything else.

Quoting EssentialPowr (Reply 14):
Lower wattage doesn't on a taxi light does not decrease the probability or intensity of an electrical short

I find that surprising...can you elaborate? Not that I don't believe you, I'm just interested.

In my example, it was the switch/fusable link that failed. It was explained to me by an A&P (perhaps incorrectly) that the switches themselves should act as fuses if the temperature becomes too high. If this is incorrect, I'd love to hear a proper explanation.

Quoting EssentialPowr (Reply 14):
leaving the landing light on does increase the visability of a 172, day or night

No argument, but in terms of increasing one's visibility in a 172R, the landing light is not noticably more effective than the taxi light.




2H4


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EssentialPowr
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Wed May 24, 2006 1:15 pm

2H4, do some research on thermal CBs...what you will find is that, as the current Part 121 standard, they tend to be a particular with electrical fires in older a/c, in that very slight wire abrasions (occurring over a great length of time) eventually contact typically inert (ie, insulation) components. The amperage value is fairly low, but heat is adder to the insulation or surrounding materials, and then a fire occurs, and a CB never popped...until it gets hot, but then it's too late.

This concept is the basis behind the AD behind the 737 center fuel pump issue, btw...

Newer designs of CBs will trip off as a result of an instant current rise above a set value.

cheers-
 
2H4
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Wed May 24, 2006 1:42 pm




Quoting EssentialPowr (Reply 16):
The amperage value is fairly low, but heat is adder to the insulation or surrounding materials, and then a fire occurs, and a CB never popped...until it gets hot, but then it's too late.

Interesting...that sounds exactly like my experience in the 172. I checked the Information Manual, and it isn't at all detailed when it comes to circuit breakers...




2H4


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JulianUK
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RE: Smoke In The Cockpit

Fri May 26, 2006 3:09 am

If you really want to know what happens in reality, then read this report about my friend's incident - we had a beer or two afterwards and he described it as "interesting" - but I know he was really quite concerned...as were the passengers who saw the smoke....

http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources/G-ERJG%201-06.pdf

J

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