View Full Version : AA Emergency Evacuation at LAX

5th Aug 2008, 18:06
CNN Breaking News reports:

Passengers evacuated by inflatable chutes from an American Airlines jetliner after an emergency landing in Los Angeles.

5th Aug 2008, 18:18
American Airlines Flight 81 LAX To Honalulu Emergency: Smoke In Cabin - Original News: The Post Chronicle (http://www.postchronicle.com/news/original/article_212162453.shtml)

American Airlines Flight 81 has made an emergency landing at LAX Airport after discovering smoke in the cabin.

If you have relatives who may have been onboard that flight, it was Flight 81 leaving from LAX to Honalulu.

According to the FAA and officials, the plane was discovered to have smoke in the cabin after taking off - so the pilot turned the plane around to make an emergency landing.

Passengers onboard the flight slid to their safety via an emergency chute.

The source of the smoke has not yet been revealed. Some passengers are reported to possibly have minor injuries.

5th Aug 2008, 18:32
It is american airlines flight 31 that was 1 hour out of LAX to HNL.

5th Aug 2008, 19:14
an interesting day

I just watched the track (ground track) of the plane on tv. It seemed to turn back near Santa Barbara.

If the situation were dire, there is a 6050' runway (tight but doable) at Santa barbara airport, Point Magu NAS and Vandenberg AFB were also close by with runways of 11,000' and 15000' .

The pilot elected to land downwind at KLAX to expedite the arrival...if things were that bad the above airports might have been a better option

It sounds to me like there was an air conditioning problem.

It seems to me that the slides/chutes might have been over doing it, but we simply don't know the details.

Nice to see the winglets on the 757.

5th Aug 2008, 19:16
Authorities say they received a call at about 9:27 a.m. after a smoke smell was detected in the cabin area of American Airlines flight 31, which had taken off from LAX at 8:48 a.m. and was carrying 188 passengers and six crew members.

The plane turned back and touched down around 9:45 a.m. on Runway 7, where fire crews were already on hand in anticipation of the Airbus 380 landing, said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

No injuries were reported.

5th Aug 2008, 19:23
Hang on, since when does American have A380s?

5th Aug 2008, 19:29
Hang on, since when does American have A380s?

Presumably this is the Emirates A380, on a USA tour before it goes into service.

Although why the A380 would need fire crews in attendance I have no idea :ooh:

5th Aug 2008, 19:32
I believe the A380 is the Emirates A380 doing a tour on the west coast after its debut to NY.

The fire engines were _coincidentally_ there for the A380 arrival when the AA31 had the issue, it didn't state that the A380 was the american flight that had the issue.

5th Aug 2008, 19:43
And the fire trucks for the A380 are there for salutation of course! Not every day a mammoth comes in to display her shiny new engines ;-)

5th Aug 2008, 19:59
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US plane emergency evacuation (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7543983.stm)

5th Aug 2008, 20:22
Jet makes emergency landing after smoke report

Passengers evacuated an American Airlines plane by inflatable slides Tuesday after it made an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport an hour after taking off, a fire department official said.

Having had my two daughters transiting thru LAX having just arrived from Sydney on their way to Toronto, it was quite disconcerting when I saw the above captioned headline on CNN, I was quick to investigate to make sure it was not the flight with my children onboard.

I am very happy that no one was hurt in the process and everyone is safe.

5th Aug 2008, 20:53
Presumably this is the Emirates A380, on a USA tour before it goes into service.

Although why the A380 would need fire crews in attendance I have no idea

I was at the Farnborough air show in '06, where the Engine Alliance were giving out frisbees with their logo on them. The guy at the stand kept saying "help yourselves - it's the only thing of ours that flies!"

You pays yer money, yer takes yer chance...

5th Aug 2008, 23:55
Oxygen masks

the oxygen masks/panels were shown as deployed.

help me out guys, the checklists I have don't show deploying the oxygen masks as a normal procedure for smoke in the cabin.

thoughts? (could they have dumped the cabin to get rid of smoke?P)

6th Aug 2008, 07:54
I doubt oxygen masks would be dropped. Starter, triangle of fire, O2 helps a fire to burn and something burning has smoke.

The masks "mix" the cabin air with the oxygen, so you`d get a lung fulls of smoke and anything else using the drop down oxygen system, hence smoke hoods for cabin crew, paxs heads down and if possible wet/damp cloths over nose and mouth.

6th Aug 2008, 14:29

that's my point.

but the masks were dropped and shown on tv that way by a video taken aboard the plane.

by the way, fumes/smoke etc...responsible people have asked the FAA for smoke hoods for pax, to no avail.

6th Aug 2008, 15:53
If the report is true about oxy mask deployment for cabin smoke, it comes down to good old AA training; or the lack of.:rolleyes:

6th Aug 2008, 17:47
With all the fuss of a pax slide deployment, as well as that of a manual mask deployment, it sounds like the Cpt played it safe . . . thus leaving no room for his super caution to be chewed on by the chief pilot.
I am told that each slide costs approx $13,000 to repack and re-certify. . . . All of this commotion (and many skinned fannys) for probably a simple lubrication drip on a pack ACM.

6th Aug 2008, 19:08
I don't have a 757 emergency checklist. but things are similiar with other boesing I'm sure.

I think you can "dump the cabin" (depressurise) to aid in smoke evacuation...of course at high altitude you would need oxygen masks.

if someone has the checklist, I hope they post it.

from 36000 to 10,000 takes about 5 or 6 minutes give or take.

the plane was near santa barbara, which has a 6000' runway, nearby 2 military airports with 15,000' and 11,000'.

I hope details come out.

I can just hear the captain to the chief pilot: in the sim, we always evacuate via the slides!

6th Aug 2008, 22:53
Why do you keep mentioning the fact that it was near Santa Barbara, or that there were nearby Mil airfields????, are you questioning the flight crew decision to return to LAX?
If you look at the flight details (on Flightaware) they had just reached FL360 at 09:12 and diverted, starting descent at 09:14, at 09:25 they were at 10,000 ft, and on the ground at 09:45.
Santa Barbara does have jet traffic, but not 757 size, mainly RJ's, turboprops and bizjets.

7th Aug 2008, 04:07
If they had the problem at high altitude of course they would return to LAX. You don't complicate things by landing at unfamiliar runways with minimal facilities to save a few miles flying especially if you are at cruising altitude. I don't know why the masks dropped. I haven't flown the B757 in 5 years but I had a similar smoke in cabin and cockpit emergency return to MIA and after shutting down the aux busses for electrical smoke which wasn't even a memory item then, but was after I filled out my report, landed with normal pressurisation. I recall a smoke removal check list that has you turn off the packs, one at a time, to see if it is the cause. Also bringing the cabin up to get the smoke out and manual and opening outflow valve manually if that didn't work. Maybe the cabin got above 14,000 ft and automatically dumped the masks if it got to that point. It ended up fine so good job guys.

7th Aug 2008, 08:30
I don't know why the masks droppedWouldn´t it be standard procedure to switch of bleed air from engines, if this is the likely cause for the smoke? Hence switching off the A/C packs and the cabin pressurisation, requiring to drop the masks?
Looks from the video that the pilot stopped really short, using lots of thrust reverser. Wouldn´t you limit engine power to minimum if you expect some problem with the engines? (Just thinking of the Manchester 737 accident)

7th Aug 2008, 08:47
looks like it was one of the first B767 to have the new winglets

7th Aug 2008, 10:28

I am quite familiar with santa barbara, which is why I did mention it.

going back to LAX was fine...but, if things were so bad that an evacuation on the runway using slides was needed, then why not land even sooner at one of three fields? 757's are often routinely landed on shorter runways, including orange county *KSNA. And in an emergency, why not?

Bubbers, whose posts I've respected in the past. In your smoke adventure, did you evacuate on the runway using slides?

I am very interested in this incident. I think there is more to things than meets the eye.

Landing at LAX was fine...if things had gotten much worse, a coupled approach/autoland might have saved the day if the cockpit became smoke filled. a coupled approach/autoland would not have been available at KSBA.

maybe the oxygen masks did deploy if the cabin went above 14,000'...but if there had been open flame, a bigger problem might have come about.

cutting off one pack and being at idle for a quick descent might not have provided enough air to keep the cabin below 14000.

if the flight had just returned to LAX, landed with traffic, and used stairs or jetway/jetbridge to get the pax off, the sense of urgency would have been less.

but to land wrong way, *within the rights of an emergency of course), and then to evacuate using slides risking injury raises questions about time critical situations.

7th Aug 2008, 13:37
Free Preview - WSJ.com (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121806957007518857.html?mod=googlenews_wsj)

This article claims the flight attendants deployed the evacuation slides when the captain had planned to avoid using them.

If the link doesn't work, do a search for flight attendants under fire, Wall Street Journal, Aug 6, 2008.

7th Aug 2008, 14:25

American Airlines Flight Attendants Under Fire

Some American Airlines flight attendants are under scrutiny from their
bosses for deciding, on their own, to deploy evacuation slides after a
jetliner with 194 people aboard made an emergency landing earlier this week
at Los Angeles International Airport, according to controllers, airport
officials and others familiar with the details.

The incident, which temporarily closed two of the airport's four runways and
generated nationwide TV coverage, also has prompted federal regulators to
take another look at evacuation rules and practices in such instances, and
how procedures may vary among carriers.

The Honolulu-bound jetliner returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday about an hour
after departure, because some of the 188 passengers reported smelling smoke
and seeing a haze in the cabin of the Boeing 757. News networks showed
extensive video clips of passengers sliding down inflatable chutes while the
aircraft was stopped in the middle of a runway, temporarily disrupting air
traffic during the morning rush.

The plane landed safely and there were no serious injuries. Fire crews and
federal investigators didn't find any evidence of smoke, fire or mechanical

American hasn't identified the pilots or flight attendants. But as
investigators from the company and the Federal Aviation Administration
continue to examine what happened, they are asking why one or more flight
attendants opened some doors and deployed slides -- without any command from
the captain.

On Wednesday an FAA spokeswoman said, "We're looking into all the issues
that have been raised." An airline spokesman said, "We are still gathering
information from our crew members to better understand the details of the
event" and their "decision to deploy the slides."

Unlike cabin crews at some other big airlines, American's flight attendants
have the authority to unilaterally deploy evacuation slides if they
determine there is a serious and imminent threat, according to industry and
government officials. But it's routine for them to first check with the

In this case, according to people familiar with the details, during the
emergency approach the captain didn't alert controllers or fire crews that
he planned to deploy the slides, something pilots are supposed to do if they
intend to evacuate the plane in that manner. Immediately after the Boeing
757 came to a stop -- and as firefighters rushed toward the jet -- the
captain walked toward the back of the cabin to discuss with the lead flight
attendant how the passengers would get off the aircraft. But before that
conversation took place, according to these people, the slides began

Pilots generally deploy the slides only in the most serious emergencies,
because such evacuations run the risk of injuring passengers. They also take
planes out of service, reflecting the extra time it takes to deal with the
slides. Despite estimates that reports of smoke or suspected fires result in
dozens of airliners making emergency landings across the U.S. every month,
it's rare to have emergency slides actually deployed. Even in Tuesday's
incident, some of the passengers left the aircraft using mobile stairs.

The evacuation received unusual media and FAA attention, because a bevy of
reporters, camera crews, news choppers and agency officials was on hand to
commemorate the planned arrival of the first Emirates Airlines Airbus A380
superjumbo jet to Los Angeles. The demonstration flight was put into a
holding pattern southwest of Los Angeles to accommodate the emergency, and a
planned salute by firefighters using water cannons was scrapped.


7th Aug 2008, 14:47
Sevenstrokeroll, no, I taxiied rapidly to the gate and had the passengers deplane so fire personnel could check the cabin. I did set up for an autoland in case things deteriorated. An oven which was on the aux electrical bus which I immediately turned off was the source. After my incident it was changed from a checklist item to a memory item. If things had deteriorated we would have done an autoland and evacuated on the runway if necessary.

Interesting info on the captain not commanding the evacuation. My wife is a FA at AA so I know they can initiate an evacuation on their own if deemed necessary in an emergency. What if the captain had decided to taxi clear of the runway? As you said, there must be more to this event.

7th Aug 2008, 16:02
Quote from WSJ Article:

Immediately after the Boeing
757 came to a stop -- and as firefighters rushed toward the jet -- the
captain walked toward the back of the cabin to discuss with the lead flight
attendant how the passengers would get off the aircraft.

I find that a strange time to stroll out of the cockpit for a chat with the Cabin Crew.


Dream Buster
7th Aug 2008, 16:25
Is this a good time to remind everybody of how the AAIB (Air Accident Investigation Branch) have officially reported previous aircrew reactions to fume / smoke events?

Might there be any connection?

Apologies for the length, but it's just a random selection of UK events.

Meanwhile the AAIB believe that exposure can only cause 'irritation' - how right they are, but for the wrong reason.

DB :mad:

Extracts from actual UK AAIB (Air Accident Investigation Branch) reports.

• The pilot in command, following the onset of these fumes, had difficulty in concentrating on the operation of the aircraft, and suffered from a loss of situational awareness.

• …the crew had difficulty explaining the urgency of the situation (Aircraft diverted to Paris due to fumes and a smell of oil in the flight deck) to air traffic control.

• During the first flight the purser experienced an unpleasant feeling of fainting. She told the other two cabin crew members about this and they stated they had experienced something similar. They did not recognise any special odour.

• During the subsequent flight one of the cabin attendants who was placed in the forward part of the cabin experienced an odd pressure in the head, nasal itching and ear pain. The other two colleagues in the cabin also felt discomfort and the feeling of “moon walk” while working.

• The third flight the same day was flown by the Commander. During the flight, which took place at a cruising altitude of FL 280, all three members of the cabin crew experienced similar discomfort as during the preceding two flights but more pronounced. During the first portion of the flight the pilots did not notice anything abnormal but shortly before they were to leave cruising altitude the Commander began to feel a mild dizziness.

During the approach into Malmo/Sturup airport when the aircraft was descending through FL 150 the Co Pilot suddenly became nauseous and immediately donned his oxygen mask. Then, after an estimated period of ten seconds, the Commander also became very nauseous and immediately donned his oxygen mask. After a few seconds of breathing in the oxygen mask the Co Pilot felt better and thereafter had no difficulty in performing his duties. However the Commander felt markedly dizzy and groggy for a couple of minutes.
He had difficulty with physiological motor response, simultaneity and in focussing. Finally he handed over control to the Co Pilot. After having breathed oxygen for a few minutes even the Captain began to feel better and landing on Runway 27 without problems.

This incident was caused by the pilots becoming temporarily affected by probably polluted cabin air.

• All four cabin crew members reported feeling nauseous following passenger disembarkation, but they did not realise that they all had been similarly affected during the descent until the matter was discussed between themselves after landing. In addition to nausea, they reported feeling light headed and hot, but neither the flight crew nor passengers reportedly suffered any ill effects. The aircraft was reported to have had a history of such events and, despite satisfactory ground tests after this incident, similar symptoms were reported two days later by a different cabin crew when working in the forward galley.

• During the climb, the Senior Cabin Attendant (SCA) entered the flight deck to report that two passengers towards the left rear of the cabin had informed that they had noticed an oily/petrol like smell. In addition, a cabin crew member of a Company BAe 146 positioning crew had also reported a similar smell.

He (First Officer) sat in his seat but began to feel progressively worse, although his work load was low. He felt ‘light headed’ and had difficulty concentrating. He was aware of a tingling feeling in his finger tips and his arms started shaking.

At about this time the Commander also began to feel nauseous and asked the First Officer how he felt. The First Officer replied that he “felt dreadful” and the Commander looked at him and saw his face was white and that his pupils appeared dilated.

When she (SCA) arrived, the First Officer was on 100% oxygen, his seat was well back from the aircraft controls and his hands were seen to be trembling.

The Commander was feeling progressively worse. He felt light headed and recalled considering three aspects: landing, declaring an emergency and putting on his oxygen mask. However he felt able to cope only with one decision and continued his approach.

…the Commander seemed to have ‘double vision’ and had difficulty in judging height.

The Commander noted afterwards that it was all he could do just to land the aircraft as by now he felt very light headed and tired.

He (First Officer) did not consider that being on oxygen had made him feel better only after he had left the aircraft. However, he still felt as if he was in a daze.

• The crew noticed an “oily metallic” smell on the flight deck during an outbound flight from London Heathrow to Copenhagen. The same smell was noticed on the return flight. Towards the end of the flight, on approach to Heathrow, the crew missed numerous ATC calls, which prompted the controller to ask “if everything was all right”. In addition the Commander did not reduce aircraft speed to configure the aircraft for landing until reminded by the controller when the aircraft was at 3.7 nm DME (Distance Measuring Equipment). It was only after landing that the crew considered a possible link between the smell and their performance. When the smell was first detected, the crew had discussed the use of oxygen masks, but had concluded that there were no side effects to justify their use.

Subsequently, neither crewmember experienced any further symptoms or adverse effects.

• After parking on stand, both flight crewmembers experienced headaches and eye irritation.

• .….the Commander found it very difficult to concentrate on completing the fuel check and R/T tasks. He reported that his throat was dry, that his eyes felt irritated, that he had a headache and was generally aware that all was not well. The SCA reported that she also had a ‘very dry throat and eyes’ and the other crewmembers also had headaches.

• The Commander stated that, following the incident, he developed blisters inside his mouth, around his left inner cheek, on the roof of his mouth and left lower rear gum. He also had a tight chest, sore throat and suffered from coughing. The source of fumes was subsequently traced to No 3 engine, which was replaced on the following day.

• ……when fumes entered the flight deck and reportedly caused ‘dizziness and irritation to eyes’

However the problem recurred on 22 February 2001 when an oily smell was reported to have persisted on the flight deck for the duration of the flight, causing nose, and increasing throat irritation in both pilots.

• In addition to headaches, both pilots suffered from irritation to their mouths and nasal passages. An oily film was subsequently wiped off the flight deck CRT displays and passed to the operating Company’s engineering department for analysis.

• Both flight crew were left with a metallic taste in the mouth; the Commander also experienced a tingling sensation on his lips and a sore throat for several days. The First Officer was left with minor eye irritation.

• During the climb the Commander noticed a metallic taste coupled with an increasingly strong smell. The commander began to feel light headed and “un-coordinated”. The effects were still evident after landing with some reported errors of judgement and garbled speech.

• During the turnaround, the Commander alighted the aircraft in order to breathe fresh air but, after a short time, he suffered a head ache, itchy eyes, nausea and a bad taste in his mouth. The same crew then prepared the aircraft for return sector but, when engines number 3 and 4 were started, the Commander and the cabin staff felt increasingly unwell and as a result, the flight was cancelled. The aircraft was inspected in accordance with Service Bulletin ISB 21 – 150 but this did not reveal any oil contamination. However, following an air test it was found that engine No 4 and the APU were both the source of the fumes.

• The fumes reportedly affected two cabin staff and several passengers.

• The cabin manager felt overwhelmed by these fumes, and was on the verge of passing out, when her colleagues became aware of the situation and administered oxygen to her. After 10 minutes, the cabin manager recovered but was unable to resume her normal duties. Subsequent blood tests revealed that she had been exposed to higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide. (CO).

• The crew began to feel nauseous and so donned their oxygen masks, declared a PAN and returned to Heathrow where an uneventful landing was made.

• Then he started to feel dizzy and so donned his oxygen mask.

• The co pilot was limited in his capability of acting during the approach and landing due to the effects of fumes.

The medical examination of the co pilot after the flight showed that during the flight toxic exposure took place.

The medical examination of the Commander after flight did not show any results.

• They described it as a ‘burnt’ or ‘exhaust’ smell, but it was not accompanied by any visible smoke. Soon after, both crew members began to experience symptoms of tunnel vision, loss of balance and loss of feeling in the hands and lower arms. They immediately donned their oxygen masks, breathing 100% oxygen, which improved their condition noticeably.

7th Aug 2008, 20:30
bubbers 44:

thanks for telling us about your event. it sounds like you were ahead of the power curve with the aux bus move.

I didn't want to put a negative spin on this event. But something wasn't quite right.

We can all remember the valujet/everglade thing. Certainly flames are different than odor or smoke, but the ability to get her down, fast somewhere should be in the back of our minds as pilots. that is why I mentioned santa barbara, vandenberg AFB and point magu nas. When I flew out of Santa Barbara, TRACOR used to bring DC10's into the field to work on them.

landing against traffic means time critical, emergency to me.

evacuating on the runway means emergency to me.

we shall see how this all works out.

7th Aug 2008, 20:38
It sure is looking very strange, isn't it?. No doubt everything will become clear at some point. Fire onboard is my worst nightmare.

7th Aug 2008, 21:57
yes, it is looking a bit strange.

the concepts I want to address, someday are:

1. properly reporting what really happened, how the crew responded, how mx is involved etc.

2. a reminder to all of us to at least know where the nearest piece of pavement is if you have to get down NOW.

3. to make sure the cockpit decision making is based on safety and not just $ or convenience.

4. a reminder that automatic stuff can be helpful, but doesn't take the place of a sharp mind who can : aviate, navigate, communicate.

do you fly into SBA? I used to fly out of there many many moon ago with Pacific Coast/Apollo. One of our planes was used in the opening scenes of "Moonraker" (james bond).

8th Aug 2008, 02:34
I have flown into SBA a few times. It is a fine airport and I would love to go there again. LAX handles emergencies on a daily basis. As a new captain at Aircal I had a bomb threat and had to evacuate my B737 at LAX with the slides, since no airstairs showed up when we parked in their bomb evacuation zone. They deal with these emergencies well. I would take the extra few minutes to land there and take advantage of their expertice.

My Miami landing was on 27L, now 27 because of the new runway. MIA has no CAT 3 autoland runways but in an emergency you can land on a normal CAT 1 runway if you deem it necessary. It seemed like a good back up in case cockpit visibility made it difficult to see on landing. It wasn't required so I disconnected everything on short final.

This all happened some time after Swissair 111 crashed near Halifax because of electrical fire. The new procedures for a 2 man crew were simplified to not require a flight engineer so I had modified my procedure a bit to move the first part of the checklist into memory items. Our company had not changed anything and I didn't want to go the way of Swissair using our check list.

8th Aug 2008, 02:52

Looks from the video that the pilot stopped really short, using lots of thrust reverser. Wouldn´t you limit engine power to minimum if you expect some problem with the engines? (Just thinking of the Manchester 737 accident)

The quicker you stop, the quicker you get out. I'd hate to see the Captain taxiing off the runway or such whilst the PAX burned.


8th Aug 2008, 06:50
Not that it has anything to do with this particular incident, but I always remind my pilot friends who fly out of LAX that there are two perfectly good US Navy runways out there: NALF San Clemente with 9000+ of runway, and NOLF San Nicholas, with 10000+.

Just something to keep in mind amongst all of the salt water when something goes to hell on departure...


8th Aug 2008, 10:03

that is exactly the kind of thinking that seems to be going away in modern piloting. I applaud you for reminding us all about those runways.

Many years ago, a route check included all the pieces of pavements or open areas where you could put down if you had to.

There is a certain mindset in getting to an airport served by company mx. And if you can, that's great.

No one is saying to give up on LAX if you can safely make it. But, and this is the big thing, if your plane is on fire, down and out can be a damn good thing.

I wonder how this would have all played out if the plane would have been another hour farther out.

I've had cabin smoke. We isolated it to one pack and continued to destination on the remaining pack. (at a lower altitude). There was no doubt that it was a bit of oil burning or a bad "sock" for those who know what that is. Upon landing we discovered that plus a clamp had come loose on the ductwork.

9th Aug 2008, 04:25
Been lurking a long time and finally had something to add which fits with speculation by L-38 above. On another board an AA AMT posted:
“Apparently one of the engines …starting leaking oil internally into it's compressor section and filled the cabin with a nasty OIL MIST. They are still trying to get all the oil out of the A/C packs and ducting, so the aircraft can be returned to service.

“Turbine engine oil is toxic. So making the passengers sit there and breathe it to save a few bucks on some emergency slides, makes it sound like they had a "bonehead" for a captain. It doesn't matter whether if it's a fire or oil mist, get the people out of there!”

9th Aug 2008, 13:50
If the captain knew exactly what was causing the oily smoke he could have fixed the problem by shutting off the bleed from that engine. He had to evaluate what checklist to use. Electrical smoke unknown source is one which is different than environmental smoke coming from the ACM. He had to make a lot of decisions based on what he knew then, not on what maintenance found after the fact.

I know not everybody is going to agree with one course of action and I have dealt with flight attendants who have a different opinion about how to deal with a situation but that is why they have a captain to evaluate all the inputs and make a decision based on those inputs.

9th Aug 2008, 15:13
If there had been a FE on board like the good old days then he could have really helped out by evaluating the consistency of the "smoke" !!:E

9th Aug 2008, 18:42
Important to communicate with FA's

while I don't know what happened in this particular situation, I had cause to come back and land with a different sort of problem

I made it very clear to the FA's that an evacuation via slide was unlikely, but that if they didn't hear from us within 20 seconds after the wheels hit the ground, to come up and check and then , if we were unresponsive, to use their best judgement.

9th Aug 2008, 23:18
Hmmm, it would seem that perhaps some additional training and a change of procedures are necessary for the AA cabin crew...least this happen again.

CC can be a valuable asset...other times, a distinct liability.

10th Aug 2008, 03:35
I've waited patiently for just a teeny bit more fact on this one, but since it's old news now I doubt that it will come for quite awhile.

For all the quick judgement types, do we really know that the cabin Crew actually initated the evacuation, or, could it possibly be that some passengers opened the doors themselves and started the self evacuation and left the cabin cerw to deal with it afterwards?

10th Aug 2008, 13:41
a passenger initiated or uncommanded evacuation can be a dangerous thing.

panic can lead to this and it can be deadly.

however we can all remember the british air tours 737 that burned on the ground with passengers patiently waiting for instructions from the crew.

There was an article saying that the fa/s were being scruitinized by the FAA and the airline for starting the evacuation.

I agree with the above post. And sadly, we probably will never get the whole story.

10th Aug 2008, 19:05
Second guessing the cockpit or cabin crew now is totally meaningless because we don't know what exactly was happening. What happened and how they handled the situation obviously made sense to them at the time so give them the benefit of being there since we weren't.

11th Aug 2008, 01:13
Years ago on a Continental flight from LHR to LAX we made an emergency landing due to (loads of) smoke in the cabin, I was quite young at the time so don't fully remember the situation or where we diverted to. The point is it was caused by oil leaking into the bleed air, a very similar situation.

Very strange on how the FAA found no evedence of smoke, maybe one passenger got a bit upset about something (similar to when you can smell fuel before taxying on some jets) and the panic spread through the cabin?

Our crew handled the situation much better; the oxy masks did drop but we were told by the CC to NOT use them and instead breathe through damp passenger blankets. Also, we did not evacuate using the emergency slides we just walked off the aircraft using steps at the airport. No injuries.

Seems there was some kind of breakdown in CRM...

12th Aug 2008, 01:49
More on the AA 757 incident at LAX (http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080811/ca_emergency_landing.html?.v=1)

12th Aug 2008, 03:00
Given the constant risk of cabin air contamination events, the potential hazards bad air presents to safety of the persons on board and the aircraft, and the operational costs associated with appropriate response to these events, I wonder if it is not time now to consider use of some continuous air quality monitoring technology as part of the standard configuration for passenger ops.

For older aircraft and smaller aircraft, a "signature" analysis type of monitoring device might be more appropriate. This could be an easy-install or even a small portable unit that would monitor the air continuously or 'as required'. It would assess air samples for perhaps two dozen specific contaminants and would provide some ongoing indication of trends in contaminant concentration. The indications given could include both good-bad readings for situation identification and more detailed readings for simple qualitative analysis of the health hazard and probable source.

Larger and more modern aircraft could incorporate more sophisticated air quality monitors that would do as above and could also couple to the maintenance down-link capability for more detailed analysis by experts on the ground.

The function of these devices would be to provide better real-time risk assessment and decision support for the aircrew in order to manage these seemingly inevitable situations as well as possible. Relative to the cost of precautionary diversions, repacking inflatable ramps, and other potential consequences of inflight smoke events, the installation, support and life costs for highly functional diagnostic air quality monitoring systems would be a very modest and likely would result in a net long-term saving for the operators. In any case, the incremental cost of meaningful air quality data relative to health and safety would be a tiny fraction of the onboard entertainment system expenses.

Swedish Steve
12th Aug 2008, 13:20
Do we know what caused the smoke yet?
Keeping track of incidents in my airline I see that the greatest proportion of thick smoke events are caused by recirculation fans failing, but not enough to bring on a message or a fault light. Contamination from the engines is more likely a smell or a slight haze, or on departure the residue of deicing fluid.

12th Aug 2008, 14:42
interesting development:

I just read a report indicating that the oxygen masks were deployed by the flight crew, even though the same article quotes American Airlines saying (properly) that the oxygen masks are not capable of helping in a smoke situation.

Also that the cause was oil dripping .

also, that some of the oxygen masks didn't work and the FAA is investigating all.

8pax injured due to using slides.

ok then...the article:

FAA reviewing reports of malfunctioning oxygen masks on American flight

Officials are investigating concerns that some of the safety gear did not
deploy and others failed to provide oxygen on a Boeing 757 that made an
emergency landing last week at LAX.

The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing the reported failures of
dozens of oxygen masks aboard an American Airlines flight that made an
emergency landing last week at Los Angeles International Airport.

FAA officials said Monday that they were looking into concerns that some
masks for passengers did not deploy during the incident while others failed
to provide oxygen.

American Airlines flight makes emergency landing at LAX

"We take reports like this very seriously," said Ian Gregor, an FAA
spokesman. "The FAA is working closely with American to determine what the
problems are, why they happened, and to make sure the problems are fixed."

American Airlines Flight 31 had just taken off from LAX about 9 a.m. on Aug.
5 when the pilot reported smoke in the cabin. The Boeing 757, which was en
route to Honolulu, immediately returned to LAX and made an emergency

Airport officials said 188 passengers and seven crew members were evacuated
using the aircraft's emergency chutes -- a rare occurrence. Eight people
suffered minor injuries.

American Airlines blamed the incident on hot oil that leaked from a
compressor for one of the plane's two jet engines. It produced a strong odor
and some haze in the passenger cabin. Tim Wagner, an airline spokesman, said
the problem turned out to be minor.

Wagner said American was reviewing the emergency landing and whether the
aircraft's oxygen masks worked properly. He said the masks are specifically
designed to supply oxygen to passengers and crew members during the loss of
cabin pressure at higher altitudes.

"They are not meant to be used in a fire or smoke situation," Wagner said.

Federal officials say emergency oxygen masks are supposed to work whether
they are automatically deployed during depressurization or manually
activated by the flight crew, as was the case with Flight 31.

The FAA has been concerned for some time about oxygen mask failures aboard
Boeing 757s and 737s -- aircraft that are popular with foreign and domestic

In May 2007, the agency issued an air worthiness directive ordering carriers
to inspect oxygen masks on those planes and correct any problems by 2012.
The directive affects about 815 of the two types of jetliners that fly
routes in the United States.

FAA officials issued the order after receiving information that oxygen
generators had failed during in-flight depressurization. The agency blamed
components that had fractured between the oxygen masks and the release pins
that activate the flow of air.

During its review of the emergency landing, Wagner said American would
consider the decision by the flight crew to evacuate passengers using the

Questions have been raised in news reports about the necessity of activating
the slides for what turned out to be a relatively minor problem.

Wagner said that American flight attendants receive safety training and have
the authority to activate the chutes if they think it is necessary. Gregor
said the decision to deploy the slides did not violate FAA regulations.

Air traffic controllers at LAX were concerned that the American Airlines
pilot did not notify the tower that emergency chutes were going to be
deployed, said Michael Foote, a local representative of the National Air
Traffic Controllers Assn.

Foote said controllers are responsible for directing aircraft as they taxi
to and from terminals. Advance notice from the American flight, he said,
would have made it easier for controllers to handle the situation.



13th Aug 2008, 22:28
AA put out a statement (http://startelegram.typepad.com/sky_talk/2008/08/aa-flight-31-cr.html) today saying The flight attendants acted appropriately to evacuate Flight 31”

14th Aug 2008, 21:05
The Hawaii flights on the B757 normally have a take off weight >220,000 lbs. Since this flight was airborne for only 57 minutes, I'm pretty sure it was above its' max landing weight of 198,000 lbs (not faulting the crew for doing that - I would have done the same.) Perhaps this crew did not consider SBA as a possible diversion airport because of the heavy landing weight.

At our company the FAs could also initiate evacuation on their own. That's why most of us have the mindset of keep the aircraft rolling slowly or get on the PA immediately with "remained seated" after an abort or an abnormal landing to avoid an unnecessary evacuation.

Just my 2 cents...

14th Aug 2008, 21:31
sba and the other two airports were mentioned....certainly landing weight is important...but if you are on fire, going off the end at 30 knots is better than burning up on short final to lax

I read that at max auto braking, you can stop in 4500'

overweight or not, sba would have worked if they were really on fire...but it seems that it was just oil fumes

oh well

Mark in CA
14th Aug 2008, 23:46
Sounds like a case of premature evacuation.