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View Full Version : Virgin flight diverts due to cabin fire


Final 3 Greens
5th Jul 2019, 07:07
Sounds like a Lion power pack was crushed an ignited, very concerning

https://metro.co.uk/2019/07/05/uk-bound-virgin-atlantic-plane-emergency-landing-drama-phone-charger-starts-fire-10118204/

ZFT
5th Jul 2019, 07:26
Slightly surprised anyone needs either a power pack (or charger) today as USB ports are so readily available.

Power packs are banned from checked bags by many airlines and extending this ban to include usage on board would seem to make sense?

WingNut60
5th Jul 2019, 07:35
Slightly surprised anyone needs either a power pack (or charger) today as USB ports are so readily available.

Power packs are banned from checked bags by many airlines and extending this ban to include usage on board would seem to make sense?

Some airlines include in their safety briefing cards that if a phone or battery pack is lost down into seating to call cabin staff and for passengers not to attempt to retrieve on their own.
I can well imagine that an otherwise safe battery pack might become problematic if munched in a seat mechanism or otherwise damaged by heavy-handed retrieval.

There is no intrinsic reason for a small battery pack to be anymore troublesome than a phone.
The exceptions being that some of these the battery packs may not be subject to the same design restrictions and scrutiny to which cell phones are subjected.

DaveReidUK
5th Jul 2019, 07:53
There is no intrinsic reason for a small battery pack to be anymore troublesome than a phone.
The exceptions being that some of these the battery packs may not be subject to the same design restrictions and scrutiny to which cell phones are subjected.

Many power banks are advertised on a well-known auction site with the rider "If we printing capacity, the product can not be allowed to transport by the plane, we hope you can understand this".

WingNut60
5th Jul 2019, 07:56
.............. , we hope you can understand this".

Only just.

Don't think I'd be buying one of those.
But I guess others would.
Mine says Hitachi and I'm not expecting any problems.

Superpilot
5th Jul 2019, 08:42
Aaah, the Power pack. Designed for phone addicts and those with terrible forward planning skills or maybe they simply own an iPhone? :E

bill fly
5th Jul 2019, 08:49
Had a few interesting moments but fortunately cabin fire wasnít one of them... until a couple of hostesses on an airline far away mentioned on the crew bus a small fire at the rear of the cabin which they had had...
When I became alert I got:
Oh we didnít want to disturb you Captain - and we got it out fast...
They were pretty though

Landflap
5th Jul 2019, 08:55
Love cabin crew who get it out fast .

PJD1
5th Jul 2019, 09:57
This BBC report of the incident includes a video which I think is of a different event as it does not appear to be in a first class cabin. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-48879379

I find it unbelievable that most peoples reactions were either to get their mobile phones out to film the fire or to shout a lot - surprisingly neither of these will do anything to prevent the fire spreading!

DaveReidUK
5th Jul 2019, 10:08
This BBC report of the incident includes a video which I think is of a different event as it does not appear to be in a first class cabin.

RYR BCN-IBZ, according to the video. Presumably the July 2018 incident, unless it has happened to them again.

TURIN
5th Jul 2019, 10:14
That BBC report also has a quote from an adjacent passenger suggesting that it was the seat and not a charger or phone that started the fire.
Having said that, I've lost count of the number of phones/chargers etc I've been asked to recover from seats. Usually business/first class where the owner has no idea it was lost until they try to find it after landing.
I even found a large tablet that was jamming one seat. We were called to fix the seat, the tablet had been 'mislaid' on a previous flight and not been reported!

Mind how you go.

derjodel
5th Jul 2019, 10:20
Aaah, the Power pack. Designed for phone addicts and those with terrible forward planning skills or maybe they simply own an iPhone? :E

As an iPhone user - you are spot on. My powerbank is huge and heavy. And yes, I'm terrified of it. It could burn down my house, or worse, a plane.

Perhaps lipo bags should be mandatory? I'm not sure if they work with li-ion?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZB7qj_pqXg

Final 3 Greens
5th Jul 2019, 10:23
That BBC report also has a quote from an adjacent passenger suggesting that it was the seat and not a charger or phone that started the fire.
Having said that, I've lost count of the number of phones/chargers etc I've been asked to recover from seats. Usually business/first class where the owner has no idea it was lost until they try to find it after landing.
I even found a large tablet that was jamming one seat. We were called to fix the seat, the tablet had been 'mislaid' on a previous flight and not been reported!

Mind how you go.

I could understand a passenger thinking it was the seat that caused the fire, if the powerpack fell inside it, was crushed and then set the seat alight.

Last year, I inadvertently dropped my smartphone into a lie flat bed on RJ, but aware of the potential outcome, reported it to the crew. It was a b*gger of a job opening the seat up to get it (I helped them, by holding back some parts as they worked. They wouldn't hear my apology for the inconvenience, though, as they were so relieved and pleased I'd got them in the loop ASAP, before anything happened.

PJD1
5th Jul 2019, 10:33
RYR BCN-IBZ, according to the video. Presumably the July 2018 incident, unless it has happened to them again.

Ah OK a Ryanair flight to Ibiza - probably shouldn't be too surprised at their reactions then :)

double_barrel
5th Jul 2019, 10:58
Slightly surprised anyone needs either a power pack (or charger) today as USB ports are so readily available.

Power packs are banned from checked bags by many airlines and extending this ban to include usage on board would seem to make sense?

I routinely travel with a power-pack. It's part of my basic forward planning! If my phone dies I can have a number of difficulties and I like to listen to audio books and music from my phone on my (rechargeable) headset.

There are plenty of aircraft flying intercontinental without recharging facilities at every seat, and those that are there sometimes don't work. For a start, the KLM 747's flying to Africa (when will they be retired) have no power available at the seats.

capngrog
5th Jul 2019, 16:13
I can understand airport fire fighters boarding the aircraft, prior to passenger evacuation, to assess what was apparently reported as an extinguished or smoldering fire, but I can't understand the passengers being held in the onboard smoky environment for an hour afterwards. Methinks someone has some explaining to do.

I can sense the lawyers circling as we speak, since these poor passengers were forced to breathe contaminated air. All kidding aside, I would not be surprised if some PAX suffered genuine respiratory distress.

Cheers,
Grog

er340790
5th Jul 2019, 16:32
I find it unbelievable that most peoples reactions were either to get their mobile phones out to film the fire or to shout a lot - surprisingly neither of these will do anything to prevent the fire spreading!

Shouting would use up the available oxygen quicker, thereby extinguishing the fire! :8 :} :ok:

Emma Royds
5th Jul 2019, 16:41
Spare a thought for those of us that must use a powerbank on board. How else can I keep my EFB charged on a 15 hour flight, if the aircraft doesn't have a power socket by my seat or it does but is unserviceable?

Kiltrash
5th Jul 2019, 17:01
What gets me is that when a aircraft has to divert and cannot continue the flight that the passengers are upset the Airline keeps them in the dark.(= compensation)
I would personally prefer to be kept in the dark so long as we were safe on the ground and not a smouldering hole in the ground.
Airlines want to get us on our way and not be a long further drain on their system and I am sure they are doing what they can. But until someone higher up and probably not at the airport can organise a aircraft and crew we would just have to sit there.

WingNut60
6th Jul 2019, 01:30
What gets me is that when a aircraft has to divert and cannot continue the flight that the passengers are upset the Airline keeps them in the dark.(= compensation)
I would personally prefer to be kept in the dark so long as we were safe on the ground and not a smouldering hole in the ground.
Airlines want to get us on our way and not be a long further drain on their system and I am sure they are doing what they can. But until someone higher up and probably not at the airport can organise a aircraft and crew we would just have to sit there.

Airlines are seldom altruistic about passenger well-being once those passengers are on the ground. Similarly, they are sometimes outright deceitful.

As an example, after being diverted to some place other than my intended destination, I would like both the opportunity and the information necessary for ME to make a decision about what I would like to do about the rest of my journey.
Airlines will always try to put in place their preferred contingency plan. If providing accurate and honest information to passengers might result in those passengers opting to cancel their onward journey or use an alternate carrier, the airlines WILL avoid providing that information.

That's the sort of thing that gets peoples backs up.

Admittedly and unfortunately, for some (quite a few) this all may just seem to be an opportunity for compensation.
That does not give the right for airlines to conceal what is happening or intended. But they do.

Twiglet1
6th Jul 2019, 05:29
Spare a thought for those of us that must use a powerbank on board. How else can I keep my EFB charged on a 15 hour flight, if the aircraft doesn't have a power socket by my seat or it does but is unserviceable?

I always found it ironic that prior to EFB / Company Ipads crews had their own personal ones out on the Flight Deck. When the Companies introduce them - all of a sudden its a problem.

lomapaseo
6th Jul 2019, 18:45
I always found it ironic that prior to EFB / Company Ipads crews had their own personal ones out on the Flight Deck. When the Companies introduce them - all of a sudden its a problem.

Low bidder marketing?

OldnGrounded
7th Jul 2019, 00:17
I can understand airport fire fighters boarding the aircraft, prior to passenger evacuation, to assess what was apparently reported as an extinguished or smoldering fire, but I can't understand the passengers being held in the onboard smoky environment for an hour afterwards. Methinks someone has some explaining to do.

I can sense the lawyers circling as we speak, since these poor passengers were forced to breathe contaminated air. All kidding aside, I would not be surprised if some PAX suffered genuine respiratory distress.

Cheers,
Grog

There are more than half a dozen litihum ion battery chemistries in fairly common use. All of them, when burning, produce rather copious quantities of hydrogen fluoride and phosporyl fluoride gases in the "smoke." Those gases are significantly toxic.

I wouldn't be a tiny bit surprised if pax and/or cabin crew suffered respiratory effects from breathing that stuff. I am rather surprised that ARFF crews wouldn't be especially aware of the potential problem and be prepared to clear the smoke/evacuate the aircraft ASAP.

GordonR_Cape
7th Jul 2019, 07:53
OldnGrounded
There are more than half a dozen litihum ion battery chemistries in fairly common use. All of them, when burning, produce rather copious quantities of hydrogen fluoride and phosporyl fluoride gases in the "smoke." Those gases are significantly toxic.

I have no doubt that battery fires can emit toxic fumes, and that fluorine is particularly nasty. However I have not seen any evidence that fluorine is present in any commercially available batteries. Could you provide some references for that statement?

Edit: Sorry, my mistake when searching. I looked for fluorine, but the ingredient is fluorophosphate (LiPF6) .

Peter H
7th Jul 2019, 09:20
OldnGrounded
I have no doubt that battery fires can emit toxic fumes, and that fluorine is particularly nasty. However I have not seen any evidence that fluorine is present in any commercially available batteries. Could you provide some references for that statement?

I also found the claim inherently implausible.

However my first google hit surprised me.
Toxic fluoride gas emissions from lithium-ion battery fire (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09784-z.pdf)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09784-z

So it would be nice to believe somebody is evaluating "realistic" fires in confined spaces such as aircraft.

Peter

PS
Note that, as stated, the original paper contained a typo.
- pdf with typo at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09784-z.pdf
- authors correction at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22957-8

GordonR_Cape
7th Jul 2019, 10:28
Peter H
I also found the claim inherently implausible.

However my first google hit surprised me.
Toxic fluoride gas emissions from lithium-ion battery fire (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09784-z.pdf)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09784-z

So it would be nice to believe somebody is evaluating "realistic" fires in confined spaces such as aircraft.

Thanks for the very interesting link. I think the statement about 'rather copious quantities' of toxic gases struck me as a slight exaggeration for the relatively small batteries found in most portable devices. In any case many combustion products are nasty, and avoiding inhalation is always a good idea. The relative concentrations would be very hard to assess (even in a laboratory environment). As always, further investigation is justified.

OldnGrounded
7th Jul 2019, 14:57
Peter H
I think the statement about 'rather copious quantities' of toxic gases struck me as a slight exaggeration for the relatively small batteries found in most portable devices.

I should probably have provided citations. I guess I thought it was common knowledge.

I've seen a big room fill with smoke from a lithium-chemistry battery fire (from a laptop battery) in a very short period of time. I'm pretty sure that there would be significant concentrations in an airliner cabin fairly quickly, and that dissipation would be slow without active ventilation to outside air. It would definitely create an unpleasant experience and, potentially, harmful exposure.

WingNut60
8th Jul 2019, 00:08
You trying to get off the diversion aircraft of your own accord is a huge pain in the arse, especially if you have a bag in the hold. It is not a bus service where you can just hop on and off. There have been flights delayed on the ground for many hours because a passenger insisted on getting off and it took hours for the ground crew to rock up with steps on a remote stand and the facilities necessary to get you to border control. One passenger kicking off about getting off when an aircraft has diverted can cause a massive further amount of disruption and delays for everyone else around them.



I am truly sorry for being so unreasonable, but I was actually referring to what happens when you have been diverted AND de-planed. And now you're waiting for someone to tell you what happens next.
I understand that in some cases it may be impractical for a passenger to disembark from an aircraft that is simply being held over for weather at destination to clear but I'm guessing that in a high proportion of diversion incidents, it is necessary to de-plane the passengers anyway.
Such as when one of the first class seats catches on fire.
It also applies, however, to when you have not yet been allowed to board the aircraft in the first case, for whatever reason.
When it's still half way between you and somewhere very distant, for instance.

In fact, it applies in many circumstances where the carrier decides that they'd like to run your life for you.
Me? I like to control my own options.

Mr Unreasonable

bill fly
8th Jul 2019, 06:49
I am truly sorry for being so unreasonable, but I was actually referring to what happens when you have been diverted AND de-planed. And now you're waiting for someone to tell you what happens next.
I understand that in some cases it may be impractical for a passenger to disembark from an aircraft that is simply being held over for weather at destination to clear but I'm guessing that in a high proportion of diversion incidents, it is necessary to de-plane the passengers anyway.
Such as when one of the first class seats catches on fire.
It also applies, however, to when you have not yet been allowed to board the aircraft in the first case, for whatever reason.
When it's still half way between you and somewhere very distant, for instance.

In fact, it applies in many circumstances where the carrier decides that they'd like to run your life for you.
Me? I like to control my own options.

Mr Unreasonable

I learned early on, that military flying as captain is one thing and flying passengers is a new dimension.
In the airline,I started off as a copilot again and concentrated on flying the ship, with the odd glance left to see why the old man was so interested in cabin temperature, whether the pax were asleep and who had connections, whether we were in time, etc.
When I made the jump into the left seat I understood that these guys and girls who pay our salaries, many of whom fly longer hours and then have a meeting, are relying on me. It was my little branch of the firm.
If you can try to make some contact with the customers and be honest, even though you canít always promise too much, that is a comfort to the folk strapped into your aluminium tube, who have no say in the matter. If they can see/hear that there is someone up front who cares what happens they will at least have no complaints.
As pax, I fly on many airlines and have experienced all sorts of PA. from faint crackly disinterested info to very good informative stuff - quite often on budget airlines by the way.
Instead of telling people like Wingnut that they are a pain in the ass, a little timely information on board will do a lot to prevent misunderstandings later on.
And - er - he might even fly with you again.