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Old 21st Dec 2011, 10:14   #1 (permalink)
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BA Flight LHR - GLA Returned due to both pilots becoming lightheaded and dizzy

I was on the LHR to GLA flight yesterday BA1486 an A321 (20th Dec), departed LHR at 4 pm ish got airborne, at approx 20 mins into flight a very abrupt and panicked message came over the PA from the pilot " senior flight attendant to the flightdeck", at this point there were defined worried faces across all off attendants, next thing was an o2 cylinder and mask taken forward and we were heading back to LHR at great speed. No announcement for a long time then the expected technical problem line was posted to all. We landed no problem but were met by a full fire service turn out, including local authority fire service and engineers etc etc.
Still being fed the tech fault line but the first on board were paramedics.?? It later transpires that both pilots became lightheaded/dizzy/unwell at the same time, in my book thats serious ....right, anybody care to shed any light on this one
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 10:26   #2 (permalink)
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A problem which releases fumes into the cabin IS a tech fault - no lie there.

The fire service turnout is standard for any urgent return - they spend all day at the airport, and the practise is good training under real conditions.

The O2 cylinder and mask is also a standard first aid response, and the cabin crew training would have prompted it - although it probably wasn't used as the pilot masks can provide fume protection and 100% O2, which a cylinder cannot.

As the flight concluded safely, then it shows the pilots acted in good time to make a safe return before either of them were affected to an extent which would have jeopardised the aircraft - that sounds like a good result to me.
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 10:29   #3 (permalink)
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Will be interesting to see what the AAIB make of it, if a report is made. If both felt nauseous it would perhaps point to a fumes/bleed air issue, a la BAe 146, perhaps?
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 12:47   #4 (permalink)
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Well that's good news but it was tech enough to not keep going to Glasgow and to have us met by the entire crew of Londond Burning, then treat the Tech problem with Paramedics, 1 pilot going tech is pants but 2 at the same time simply makes my bum hole pucker. Would be nice to get feedback of some sort. I fly all over the world so its inevitable I will encounter some pipes and drums but facts are always reassuring (I hope)
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 13:31   #5 (permalink)
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Batboy, please elaborate on "very abrupt and panicked message" - especially your definition of "panicked".

"senior flight attendant to the flightdeck" seems a fairly normal message to me.
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 13:46   #6 (permalink)
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Perhaps to flyers it seems normal, especially in the sim! But for SLF who may only hear that phrase once in their lives, it could well seem abrupt.
Old 21st Dec 2011, 13:48   #7 (permalink)
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Groundloop, it was just that, a panocked and urgent message, there was no courtesy with it it was a definite message of concern, she wasn't after a cup of tea, she didn't use the internal comms system she went straight on to PA and passed the message that was not a standard request for all to hear. She has a problem at the sharp end, this became apparent as written above.

Please let me clarify, this is not a dig at the pilot, she was brilliant and did a wonderful job, one she got her sh*t together she did everything you could ask for
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 13:49   #8 (permalink)
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The standard BA Alert Call, i.e. the call the pilots make to alert the crew that there is an issue that may modify onboard service and require (possibly) some cabin crew action is "Will the Senior Cabin Crew Member report to the Flight Deck immediately." This is not a panicked call but a well practised one made in the sim numerous times by all pilots. The immediate response from CC is for the SCCM and nearest other crew member to go into the FD, often they will take a portable O2 with them in case it is an incapacitation issue. Seems like everyone did as they were trained to do and no great drama unfolded.. A potentially difficult situation well dealt with by all crew
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 15:20   #9 (permalink)

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Forgive me for venturing into a pros forum, and if this is a silly question im sorry, but why would the flight crew request the cabin crew to bring a oxygen cylinder to them when they have a supply themselves on the flight deck?
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 15:28   #10 (permalink)
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Was answered on post #12, + , it is easier to attach a mask standing in the entry of the cockpit using a handheld bottle, than faffing around with a "quick donning" mask stowed in most aircraft on the outboard of the pilot, often a bit buried, which will then require you to check whether it is on EMERG/100% or whatever.
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 15:30   #11 (permalink)

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Thank you, i should have paid more attention to the thread.
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 16:04   #12 (permalink)
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From my medical background sounds like one of the crew may have become unwell, supplying O2 is the first line of response in a first aid situation, the re breath bag with the o2 cylinder is more beneficial to the 'patient' then the drop down o2 masks in the deck as these require the person to be spontaneously breathing

If the aircraft is back in service today seems like can't be much wrong with it and with the paras first on board it seems to back up my theory
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 17:41   #13 (permalink)
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If I'd heard that PA message as a passenger, I'd have been curious but not a bit alarmed. If the flight had thereafter continued routinely, I'd probably have forgotten all about it by the time we landed. But a nervous passenger can link the routine call to a turnback and suddenly it becomes "a panicked PA call." The exaggeration is unfortunate but understandable, in the circumstances.

I do wonder, though, how on earth he knew they were "heading back to LHR at great speed." Carrying his own pitot/static system?

Last edited by stepwilk; 21st Dec 2011 at 18:11.
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 17:45   #14 (permalink)

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a very abrupt and panicked message came over the PA from the pilot " senior flight attendant to the flightdeck",
I may be wrong but surely the flight deck can communicate with the SFA by intercom without broadcasting it to the entire aircraft? (Unless all the FAs are occupied eslewhere)
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 18:03   #15 (permalink)
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Use of the PA alerts all the cabin crew to a potential problem - and the senior member may well be out with the trolley
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 18:36   #16 (permalink)
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Have I missed something here?

Batboy 1970 states with some confidence that:

"It later transpires that both pilots became lightheaded/dizzy/unwell".

Who told you that? Someone from BA?
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 19:55   #17 (permalink)
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Step wilk, I knew we were returning because the vdu screens were down, so the turn around was easy as we started drawing circles on the screen, the speed is also displayed on this screen and the numbers went up considerably so I didn't need any telemetery just basic maths did the trick, plus it took us 20 mins to get where we were and approx 15 to return .....

JW it was a member of the crew who confirmed this
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 19:58   #18 (permalink)
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Who cares if it was a "panicked" call from the pointy end. The correct choices were made and it all worked out.

I'll admit my voice has raised a couple of octaves initially during the few emergencies I've had, but the facts were that I knew what the hell I was doing and the decisions made were based on the safest and the most conservative choices made at the time with all the available information.

It was a non-event if you look at the whole picture, anything else is fodder for the tabloids.
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Old 21st Dec 2011, 21:16   #19 (permalink)
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Aaaggghhhhh - the internet is great, until it's used for this sort of melodramatic hype, which is then reported in 'the press' as fact. The only facts that the OP knows is that the alert call was made - and I'd bet a month's wages that it did not use the words he quotes, thereby calling into question his recollection of even the basic facts - and that the aircraft returned to LHR. The rest is supposition and hypothesis. Return flt was quicker - about 65 kts out of the north at the moment, so might that explain it?

Tell your mates, but please don't spread ill-informed rumour and speculation, there's a good chap.

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Old 21st Dec 2011, 22:43   #20 (permalink)
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Just the facts?

Is it me, or was the OP only looking to try to look for reasons why his flight returned? He isn't owed an explanation, but if he has half a brain he will check AAIB bulletins over the coming months, if the event merits one.

Condescending responses like "There's a good chap" only reinforce those who aspire to, or aim to be, "old school".

Bet you wouldn't diss him if he brought a missing cowling or wing panel to your attention though.
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british airways, rtb, tech fault

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