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Nicotine damage to aircraft?

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Nicotine damage to aircraft?

Old 24th Dec 2007, 23:41
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Nicotine damage to aircraft?

The Aer Lingus thread brought back a very strong recollection of having read of a Vickers Viscount which had a leak in the rear pressure bulkhead and escaping cabin air had deposited nicotine which corroded something vital. I dont recall if this resulted in a crash but I thought it did.

Now I cant find any reference to it.
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Old 25th Dec 2007, 00:03
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Can't confirm or deny that one, but do recall being told by someone who'd been on the maintenance side for a long time that nicotine stains were on occasion excellent witness marks for tracking down pressurisation leaks. It's mentioned in this paper in fact ... last para of page 5.
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Old 25th Dec 2007, 01:17
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I think that it was a "Vanguard" charter [Airline escapes me] from ,I think, "Bristol"? to Brussels????.
I remember doing a "walkround" [Pre Flight] at Malaga {jump seat, friend of Captain, pre 9/11} and there was this 30 foot plus black , fading to medium brown, stain coming from the air conditioning exhausts {A320}. It was nicotine...... If I hadn't stopped smoking, then that would have been a certain start......
bb
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Old 25th Dec 2007, 03:42
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The RAF's VC10 K2 tankers were converted from ex-Gulf Air standard VC10s. When they were delivered, the air con system was very inefficient. (They didn't have packs as such). The cure was to remove the heat exchangers and steam clean them removing the years of accumulated tar.
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Old 25th Dec 2007, 07:53
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I arrived at JFK one night in a DC-10. The flight engineer was unable to depressurise the aircraft using either the auto system,the semi-auto system or the manual wheel. We eventually had to land with pressure in the cabin (better than running out of fuel).

Even after engine shutdown at the gate, it took forever for the pressure to come down enough for me to crack open my DV window in the flight deck and then use that as a discharge valve.

The mechanics found that the discharge valve was jammed shut by a solid ball of nicotine which they said was as big as a baseball!
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Old 25th Dec 2007, 08:46
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Never heard of nicotine causing a corrosion problem.
Did suffer excessive tar build up on the outflow valve seal and surrounds, on the DC9.
Meant a filthy cleaning job every night as it obviously gave us pressurisation problems now and again. Thank heavens we went "non smoking"!
Season Greetings to all our learned readers.
Sleeve.
PS. ......and ,yes, 411, have had to use the DV window to depressurise as well.

Last edited by Sleeve Wing; 28th Dec 2007 at 10:37.
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Old 25th Dec 2007, 11:46
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Dan. Not sure how any contamination from the cabin could have got into the heat exchangers. They are upstream of the conditioned air delivery and used as part of the conditioned air delivery system for the air entering the cabin. Any smoke/nicotine will stain the outflow valves and any small door leaks as well as making the cabin stink for years.

I remember personally from my DC10 days at Gatwick being involved in a number 2 engine change. The pre-removal checks were done except we were unable to close the overhead fire handle. The fire shut-off valve is a cable operated system, the cables passing through the rear pressure bulkhead which has a rubber diaphragm and 2 plastic halves that sit around the cable making the air seal. The plastic halves were long gone and all we found was a huge lump of brown sludge clinging around the cable and the hole in the bulkhead. I recall hanging on the fire handle and try as we might, it would not come down. We MOR'd the event with the local CAA office but heard nothing. Scary really because had they needed to shut the engine down in anger, might have been a tad difficult .
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Old 25th Dec 2007, 16:52
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John Hill

A BEA Vanguard G-APEC suffered a failure of its rear pressure bulkhead caused by corrosion on 2 Oct 71 over Belgium. It lost a major part of its tail and the crew used the R/T on the way down to make a mayday call saying they were falling - which to me is a sure sign that they realised they could do nothing more.

I seem to remember that at the time it was felt that nicotine and or lavatory chemicals had caused the corrosion. Several other Vanguards were found to have similar - although less severe corrosion.

JF
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Old 25th Dec 2007, 19:23
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Thanks Mr F, I was under the impression that it was an Invicta Vanguard
bb
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Old 27th Dec 2007, 02:47
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John,
When I was an apprentice at Hurn, this accident came up as a cautionary tale. The culprit was leaky toilets not nicotine - apparently one not-so-popular mechanical engineer had made quite a career out of the repairs to the TransCanada Airlines (now Air Canada) Vanguards. Nicotine was always pointed out to us a great way of finding leaking rivets etc for pressurisation. A more recent problem with smoking is that, if the cockpit crew smoke (like DLH), then the crud gets all over the CRTs inside the displays - not able to be cleaned without removal & return to vendor for servicing. Made the top 10 on our CRJs!

Have a Happy & Safe New Year!
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Old 27th Dec 2007, 04:47
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Thanks for the information everyone, I was obviously mistaken or a victim of duff gen!
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Old 27th Dec 2007, 19:00
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I remember doing a "walkround" [Pre Flight] at Malaga {jump seat, friend of Captain, pre 9/11} and there was this 30 foot plus black , fading to medium brown, stain coming from the air conditioning exhausts {A320}. It was nicotine...... If I hadn't stopped smoking, then that would have been a certain start......
bb
Would not have been nicotine (it's actually tar, anyway) from pack outlets; cabin air does not exit from there. Outflow valves and other leaks from the pressurised area best source of tar in the old days; few, if any airlines allow smoking these days (or are there some?).
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