aa87
Topic Author
Posts: 282
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Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:42 pm

On NK524 today (A321, FLL-EWR) I made a complete fool of myself and probably risked a federal charge. Curious ?

Completely normal and brisk taxi to 10L. Held for about 10 min. for 3 inbounds. Weather was great, overcast about 70 degrees. Seconds before we roll to take the active, suddenly a huge amount of white smoke starts pumping from the side vents, in a pulsating manner. Dissipated then even more smoke, and by now we were rolling onto the active. I was with my wife and small kids, me on the aisle (Row 19). No one at all seemed to notice or be concerned, and I had about 2 seconds to decide if it was condensation or an ACM overheat and possible fire. I jumped up took a few steps towards the back and yelled at the FAs "we have smoke coming from the vents !". They yelled at me to sit down, which I did. A pax 2 rows back (a rabbi, irrelevant but comic relief) said to me " its OK, its just condensation". As we continued to roll it dissipated and stopped. After t/o, an FA came on and said that was condensation and no need for concern.

In 40 years I've never seen that. 35 years ago on an AA DC-10 I did see an in flight ACM overheat, and same exact thing - white smoke billowing from side vents. And an FA running towards the front with a fire extinguisher.

So, every other pax thought I was nuts or a nervous flier. I've never done anything like that before. More than feeling silly, I regretted possibly causing concern from other PAX and I have no criticism of the crew (NK crew are all amazing in my experience). If we'd been in taxi or line up, I would have pushed the call button. But w a few seconds to choose to act or do nothing, I acted. I wanted to be certain the FAs saw this (I couldn't see the FAs up front). My rabbi friend assumed or possibly knew better than me, but I remember Swissair 111 in particular and quite a few other tragedies (Air Canada in CVG, ValueJet, which departed FLL with fire already active in the cargo bay) that might have had a better outcome if someone yelled something sooner.

Well, better to be a public idiot for a day than wonder why I didn't say anything as smoke fills the cabin on climbout.

Finally, my $64K question - how many of you could tell the difference between condensation vapor and white smoke from an ACM overheat ? In my seat, would you have just assumed (like all other pax, apparently) that it was harmless condensation, not white smoke ?
 
reltney
Posts: 481
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:51 pm

What is a NK?
Knives don't kill people. People with knives kill people.
OUTLAW KNIVES.

I am a pilot, therefore I envy no one...
 
YYZatcboy
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:02 pm

You did the right thing. Bringing up a possible safety concern is perfectly acceptable, and once the FA's confirmed it was fine you sat down. Sounds like the right thing to me.
DH1/3/4 MD11/88 L1011 A319/20/21/30/50/80 717 727 735/6/7/8/9 744 762/3 77E/W 788/789 E40/75/90 CRJ/700/705 CC150
J/S DH8D 736/7/8 763
 
BENAir01
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:03 pm

I would have said that it wasn't the right thing to do, standing up like that, but if you were rolling onto the active then I can't blame you.
Why is flying so expensive? And why is flying well so much more?
 
BENAir01
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:03 pm

reltney wrote:
What is a NK?

Spirit Airlines.
Why is flying so expensive? And why is flying well so much more?
 
arielpeinado
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:10 pm

aa87 wrote:
Finally, my $64K question - how many of you could tell the difference between condensation vapor and white smoke from an ACM overheat ? In my seat, would you have just assumed (like all other pax, apparently) that it was harmless condensation, not white smoke ?


My personal rule of thumb is if it smells, it's definitely not water vapor. Also, if the cloud doesn't turn clear/translucent near the edges as it grows (for example, stays white or gray) it's not water vapor.

You did make a fool of yourself, but I do think you did the right thing. If people have a credible fear of something going wrong, they should be heard. Today it was just condensation, but tomorrow it could actually be a real threat. If people get afraid of being prosecuted for this things, they might not warn the crew during a real danger situation as they could be facing charges if proven a false alarm. It's just a matter of common sense.
 
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ual747den
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:11 pm

I don't really think that it was wrong since you sit down and followed commands after told to. I would imagine that this happens pretty frequently, however, I have never seen it in all my flights! I have seen the condensation coming out of the vents many many times and if it doesn't smell like a fire and the "smoke" goes away right after you see it come from the vents I would imagine that you will be okay. It never hurts to let someone know what you are seeing though!

Hopefully they let you fly back home!!!
Frontier Airlines - Low Fares Done Right
 
Flow2706
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:23 pm

This white vapor is pretty common on A320s in warm temperatures on the ground. We see it very often in the cockpit and cabin (its really moist, if you put some paper in front of the vent it will get wet). If it doesn't smell burnt etc. its pretty normal. If you have a real safety concern you should obviously alert the cabin crew, but as long as its "only" vapor (no smell or other things) I wouldn't worry.
 
ridgid727
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:30 pm

Reminds me of an incident with Continental Airlines in SLC a number of years ago, when they got their new 737-300's. Flight was at the gate and experienced a hot start, and flames came out of one of the engines, and a passenger thinking the a/c was on fire, jumped up ran to the back and pulled the emergency handle on the door, and activated an emergency slide and broke both legs getting off the aricraft.
 
deebee278
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:11 am

You may have overreacted but I can't blame you. As a previous poster mentioned, water vapor won't smell. Many years ago, I was the F/O on a Metroliner taking off on a humid morning in Arkansas. Shortly after takeoff, I hear screaming from the back of the cabin, even through my Dave Clark headphones. I look back (no cockpit door) and see a lady in the back up to her neck in condensation, sort of like a disco circa 1977. Fast forward to where I was an MD80 Captain climbing out of DFW. The vapor almost looked the same but it had a strange, sweet smell to it. We declared an emergency and landed. Oil from the APU had wandered into the air conditioning.
 
santi319
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:24 am

YYZatcboy wrote:
You did the right thing. Bringing up a possible safety concern is perfectly acceptable, and once the FA's confirmed it was fine you sat down. Sounds like the right thing to me.


Ditto on this - You did the right thing, and the fact that you posted here willing to laugh at yourself speaks loads of what a humble and intelligent person you are. I am glad you have reproduced and I hope your children learn from you.

Sidenote this may explain - NK is a lowcost and I believe their policy is to shut the APU when turning the plane, they also taxi with one engine only (and pack 50-60 more people than a regular airline) so that may have to do with the extra warm cabin and condensation...
 
KFLLCFII
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:24 am

Every time I've flown on an A320-series out of FLL, visible water vapor came out of the side vents exactly as described while on the ground.

South Florida just tends to be a high relative-humidity environment most months out of the year.
"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
 
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pwm2txlhopper
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:25 am

I’ve seen this is tropical and humid climates plenty of times. At FLLonboard A320s, twice.

IAlways get amusement watching the inevitable passenger freakin’ because they think it’s smoke. Smoke stinks. Water vapor doesn’t.

I’ve never seen anybody actually jump up and make a scene.
Last edited by pwm2txlhopper on Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
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PPVLC
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:33 am

Smell is the key, smells are a clear indicator that something is not ok. I had a few passengers scared of condensation but curiously no one paid attention to burning smells on the occasion of the two fires I had on board, I'm glad my nose is a fine smoke detector.
Cabin crew L188 707 727 737 767 A300 DC10 MD11 777 747
 
CATIIIevery5yrs
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:40 am

Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:37 am

aa87 wrote:
On NK524 today (A321, FLL-EWR) I made a complete fool of myself and probably risked a federal charge. Curious ?

Completely normal and brisk taxi to 10L. Held for about 10 min. for 3 inbounds. Weather was great, overcast about 70 degrees. Seconds before we roll to take the active, suddenly a huge amount of white smoke starts pumping from the side vents, in a pulsating manner. Dissipated then even more smoke, and by now we were rolling onto the active. I was with my wife and small kids, me on the aisle (Row 19). No one at all seemed to notice or be concerned, and I had about 2 seconds to decide if it was condensation or an ACM overheat and possible fire. I jumped up took a few steps towards the back and yelled at the FAs "we have smoke coming from the vents !". They yelled at me to sit down, which I did. A pax 2 rows back (a rabbi, irrelevant but comic relief) said to me " its OK, its just condensation". As we continued to roll it dissipated and stopped. After t/o, an FA came on and said that was condensation and no need for concern.

In 40 years I've never seen that. 35 years ago on an AA DC-10 I did see an in flight ACM overheat, and same exact thing - white smoke billowing from side vents. And an FA running towards the front with a fire extinguisher.

So, every other pax thought I was nuts or a nervous flier. I've never done anything like that before. More than feeling silly, I regretted possibly causing concern from other PAX and I have no criticism of the crew (NK crew are all amazing in my experience). If we'd been in taxi or line up, I would have pushed the call button. But w a few seconds to choose to act or do nothing, I acted. I wanted to be certain the FAs saw this (I couldn't see the FAs up front). My rabbi friend assumed or possibly knew better than me, but I remember Swissair 111 in particular and quite a few other tragedies (Air Canada in CVG, ValueJet, which departed FLL with fire already active in the cargo bay) that might have had a better outcome if someone yelled something sooner.

Well, better to be a public idiot for a day than wonder why I didn't say anything as smoke fills the cabin on climbout.

Finally, my $64K question - how many of you could tell the difference between condensation vapor and white smoke from an ACM overheat ? In my seat, would you have just assumed (like all other pax, apparently) that it was harmless condensation, not white smoke ?


Regarding your last two paragraphs, just so you know there’s numerous different bells and whistles that would be going off in the flight deck if the what you saw was anything to be concerned with. The pilots would be working the issue by the time you jumped up to say something. They definitely would not be rolling down the runway headed to EWR.

Always a tough call to say something as a pax. Most pilots don’t want to hear it. Unless it’s a screw or something that’s unmistakably missing, you’re usually just not understanding how things work. Which is understandable. Just make sure you accept and trust the explanation provided by the crew, which you did.
 
rssgvegas
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:46 am

Like most posters have said, that's pretty common on those Airbuses, esp in Florida, but better safe than sorry I guess!
 
aa87
Topic Author
Posts: 282
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:32 am

Thanks for replies. I appreciate the validation from many of you, though right afterwards I was thinking "WTF did I just do ?". I also forgot to mention that a friends cousin is an Airbus pilot for Frontier and just recently he told me the Airbus is so easy there are only two things he fears: loss of AI and fire. So that was partly in the back of my mind.

deebee278 wrote:
Fast forward to where I was an MD80 Captain climbing out of DFW. The vapor almost looked the same but it had a strange, sweet smell to it. We declared an emergency and landed. Oil from the APU had wandered into the air conditioning.
. Thank you ! Yes that's exactly the kind of thing I was worried about. And I have poor sense of smell and it wasn't near me, so no way to know. And it really was a lot of vapor that appeared suddenly.

santi319 wrote:
Sidenote this may explain - NK is a lowcost and I believe their policy is to shut the APU when turning the plane, they also taxi with one engine only (and pack 50-60 more people than a regular airline) so that may have to do with the extra warm cabin and condensation...
. Yes this also occurred to me since it started moments before taking the active. They clearly were starting no. 2, but again I had about 5 seconds to decide to jump up or do nothing. And I know modern Airbus and Boeings have warning sensors for everything, but that didn't help Swissair 111. Maybe I just know too much, but not enough ...
 
CATIIIevery5yrs
Posts: 124
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:59 am

The Swiss Air pilots knew they had a fire and delayed landing. I’ll dig up the TSBC report, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t an issue with any warnings or sensors not working properly that hid the severity of the event to the pilots.
 
aa87
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:53 am

CATIIIevery5yrs wrote:
The Swiss Air pilots knew they had a fire and delayed landing. I’ll dig up the TSBC report, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t an issue with any warnings or sensors not working properly that hid the severity of the event to the pilots.


All correct, but my point is none of the warnings or sensors helped. IIRC pilots first noticed an odor, then soon after sw smoke. Rare example of following procedure leading to tragedy; by shutting off AC, they let the fire spread forward to the cockpit. Pilots had no way to know that, and no idea what, if anything, was visible in the forward cabin at the onset. That's why smoke that may or may not be pure water vapor is a little unsettling ...
 
SkyVoice
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:51 am

aa87, you did just fine! I'm posting this late at night, but I hope that you are having a good night's sleep. You deserve it. Now, just be glad that you weren't traveling down South during the summer on one of the old Soviet-era Tupolev, Ilyushin, or Yakovlev airliners that Cubana used to fly exclusively. Here's why . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VyWU-9GhMY
"Your talents may take you where your character can not keep you." - Terry Nelson
 
VapourTrails
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Re: Please tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:13 am

CATIIIevery5yrs wrote:
aa87 wrote:
No one at all seemed to notice or be concerned, and I had about 2 seconds to decide if it was condensation or an ACM overheat and possible fire. I jumped up took a few steps towards the back and yelled at the FAs "we have smoke coming from the vents!" They yelled at me to sit down, which I did.

So, every other pax thought I was nuts or a nervous flier. I've never done anything like that before.


Regarding your last two paragraphs, just so you know there’s numerous different bells and whistles that would be going off in the flight deck if the what you saw was anything to be concerned with. The pilots would be working the issue by the time you jumped up to say something. They definitely would not be rolling down the runway headed to EWR.

Always a tough call to say something as a pax. Most pilots don’t want to hear it. Unless it’s a screw or something that’s unmistakably missing, you’re usually just not understanding how things work. Which is understandable. Just make sure you accept and trust the explanation provided by the crew, which you did.


I saw a similar thing once on a 717 but in the area of the engine outside during taxi out at MEL, noticing it while stationary on the taxiway. Not a lot of condensation, but enough to stare at it for a good short while. I got nervous, but let it go as normal or not dangerous, albeit not knowing what it was. I was trusting the system, plus my own passiveness not to say something that wasn’t a definitive emergency like a visible fire, in my scenario.

I think you definitely were right to say something, and there is always hindsight, as to how you may have reacted differently, but sometimes you have to go with your strongest feeling at the time. It is a good discussion here about the two issues, the condensation, and reactions of seeing something unusual onboard and how pax could react to a situation.

Thank you.

PS. The only time I’ve smelt smoke in the air, is from forest fires, it’s a bit eerie. Flight crew would usually say something on the PA if it was really strong. I know QF would, they announce anything unusual or not routine or timely, in my experience, nowadays.
 
flymia
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:00 pm

Yea, while you certainly made a fool of yourself, there is nothing wrong. When in doubt say something. Overall, if it does not smells and goes away, its water vapor.

As a side note, Valujet 592 left from MIA not FLL.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
RamblinMan
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:06 pm

You're not the first person to stand up during taxi/takeoff on NK. They're packed to the gills with people who simply don't know any better. If they arrested everybody for that sort of thing it would be an hourly occurrence, so don't sweat it. The FAs are quite used to having to tell people to sit down.

Just don't do that on United. Better crash than what they'll do to you for causing a scene.
 
EricAY05
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:04 pm

No big deal. Standing up even during the take-off roll or actual take-off will definitely not kill you, but an in-flight fire might kill both you and everyone else. Well done, since you obviously have flown enough not to simply panic.
 
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AirbusA343
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:40 pm

I've experienced the same on a TK A321 two years ago. It was like I was the only one that noticed. I just ignored it and said nothing because if it was bad I'm sure the FAs/other pax would have noticed.
 
aa87
Topic Author
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:26 pm

AirbusA343 wrote:
I just ignored it and said nothing because if it was bad I'm sure the FAs/other pax would have noticed.


Well, I was hoping this thread was over, and in general the replies made me feel a little better. Now you made me feel like an idiot all over again; but at least I didn't do this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctHltBauGc8
 
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AirbusA343
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Re: Someone ... anyone ... pls tell me I did the right thing today on NK

Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:01 pm

aa87 wrote:
AirbusA343 wrote:
I just ignored it and said nothing because if it was bad I'm sure the FAs/other pax would have noticed.


Well, I was hoping this thread was over, and in general the replies made me feel a little better. Now you made me feel like an idiot all over again; but at least I didn't do this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctHltBauGc8

I'm genuinely sorry for making you feel that way :( . You're not an idiot, people have different comfort zones, therefore they react differently to different situations :) .

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