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US Airways ETOPS 757 Smoke in Cockpit/Cabin 1100 Miles Offshore

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US Airways ETOPS 757 Smoke in Cockpit/Cabin 1100 Miles Offshore

Old 27th Sep 2010, 03:03
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US Airways ETOPS 757 Smoke in Cockpit/Cabin 1100 Miles Offshore

It happened a week ago, but this 757 PHX-OGG (Kahalui, Maui) was about midway between LAX and Hawaii when there was smoke in the cockpit/cabin. It is probably the worst nightmare, the possibility of an in-flight fire over 1100 miles from the nearest runway. The plane diverted to the nearest airport (SFO) which was about 1160 miles away.

The navigation issues sure are different nowadays than they were a few decades ago!

Featured Maps: US Airways Flight 432 Diversion (19 September 2010) - Great Circle Mapper

FlightAware > US Airways #432 > 17-Sep-2010 > KPHX-PHOG

Incident: US Airways B752 over Pacific on Sep 17th 2010, smoke in cockpit
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 06:51
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Looking at the FlightAware link, did they indeed do a double turnback?
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 06:59
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There's no radar out there - I guess the line is drawn from position reports. Maybe one of them got screwed up - obviously they were a little distracted....
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 07:09
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Sounds like they did everything exactly as required. I had the same thing happen in a 757 but only had to fly 70 miles. They did everything right.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 08:53
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Diversion "ONLY" option ?

I wasn't there and so like most have only read what is reported so far but I would be very interested to know if the crew descended as well as diverted towards an airport or at least gave serious consideration to that as an option.

There are too many unknowns for this incident but there appears to be plenty of evidence that if smoke is caused by a genuine fire and that source is not found and rectified then any crew has between 11 and 15 minutes to get the plane on a surface any surface.

Clearly this type of scenario is not related to Etops per se as normal rules require only 60 minutes from an airfield for a twin anyway, so if you have only 15 minutes avaiable there may be only one option and if you do not start an immediate descent then even that option may be denied to you (at least the cntrolled version).

Juts to stress again these comments are primarily directed at fire/smoke inflight and not this incident initself.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 09:45
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Originally Posted by Starbear
Clearly this type of scenario is not related to Etops per se as normal rules require only 60 minutes from an airfield for a twin anyway,
Perhaps more importantly, I can't see how having two extra donks is any help if your main deck is on fire and filling the cockpit with smoke.

For some people, it does seem that just about any incident that happens to a long-haul twin is automatically the fault of ETOPS and wouldn't have happened if the a/c had been properly equipped with four donks (and a flight engineer).
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 10:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starbear
Clearly this type of scenario is not related to Etops per se as normal rules require only 60 minutes from an airfield for a twin anyway,

Perhaps more importantly, I can't see how having two extra donks is any help if your main deck is on fire and filling the cockpit with smoke.

For some people, it does seem that just about any incident that happens to a long-haul twin is automatically the fault of ETOPS and wouldn't have happened if the a/c had been properly equipped with four donks (and a flight engineer).
As a former Flight Engineer on 3 "donkers" who flew up and down the middle of the south atlantic for many years I can assure you that ETOPS was never on my mind but ditching drills and scenarios were discussed at length. Especially after a few of my old chums found themselves floating in the Morray Firth one day.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 10:25
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FE Hoppy

Yes I recall that remarakble incident. It always surprises me that this smoke/fire scenario is not discussed more frequently and in more depth either in classroom/simulator or on the line. Most discussion centres around which is the nearest airport-regardless of number of engines or severity of smoke/fire.

By the way you appear to have combined a couple of quotes and attributed them to me whereas only the first couple of lines are mine. (though I don't disagree with the other sentiments expressed)
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 10:42
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A lot of PPRUNE'ers seem to think you should put the aircraft on ground within 12-15 minutes if you have smoke on board. Good thing this crew did not ditch the aircraft, but completed the flight successfully.

In an aircraft the old saying; Where there is smoke, there is fire, isn't always correct.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 11:15
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I don't think posters were advocating that you put it down whatever over water. But an interesting question was if they commenced a descent "in case" of the eventual possibility that it is a serious fire and they have to ditch. Now that could be a bit of a dilemma on a twin as I presume it would significantly affect fuel reserves, which, upon discovering there is no fire, has now compromised fuel remaining to the nearest suitable airport.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 12:01
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Hotel Tango

I don't think posters were advocating that you put it down whatever over water.
Thank you HT , that was exactly my point and you have saved me inviting MAS to go back and read my post again. I don't recall any, never mind most ppruners advocating immediate ditching. In fact I was precisely avoiding that word because this could happen over land as well and still not be within reach of an airport and I always combined smoke/fire to try and indicate it could be both or it could be either or. Failed obviously.

So to reiterate: In some (the worst) circumstances, if you are not within shouting distance of a surface you could run out of options.

HT, you quite correctly bring in another possible problem about insufficient fuel, if you do descend and have also successfully dealt with the problem during that descent. However, if you do not give yourself the option, then all that extra fuel at altitude may be of no use to you whatever.

I don't suggest that there is an easy answer to this, because there may not be but I do strongly feel its worthy of discussion on many flights.

Question: In this particular instance, what were the US Airways crew's options if they had not succeeded in dealing with the smoke?
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 12:37
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Originally Posted by Starbear
HT, you quite correctly bring in another possible problem about insufficient fuel, if you do descend and have also successfully dealt with the problem during that descent.
Pretty sure that you are requried to have enough fuel to make your diversion airports at 10,000ft - to account for decompression events. With ETOPS that means enough fuel to make it at that level on one engine (I think).
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 12:49
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Almost - normally 2 engines at 10,000' and this is normally the most critical fuel required BUT it could be too high up with fire or excessive smoke in the cockpit - the need to ditch/force land could happen pretty quickly and it would take too long.

I guess you just have to hope the incident happens well away from any CP.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 13:54
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by now I would think 757 pilots would know of the windshield heat smoke/fire situation on this plane type.

I imagine the first step is to turn off the windshield heat and do the checklist.

I also think that after Valuejet and the everglades and the Swissair Tragedy that getting to any surface IF OTHER METHODS TO DEAL WITH SMOKE/FIRE are not quickly successful is also in the back of pilots' minds.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 16:46
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FE Hoppy..

Do you have a link associated with that story of the ditching? Thanks.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 16:48
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SKYbrary - Reflections on the Decision to Ditch a Large Transport Aircraft
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 18:02
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Any word of what was the cause for that smoke ?
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 23:34
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I haven't seen anything further about the cause of the incident.

Our collective memories go back to Swissair 111 where the outcome was tragic despite having numerous suitable airports within a hundred miles. And the AC DC9 that crashed with fatalities at CVG... an inflight fire over the continental US.

So the points made about descending in case conditions deteriorated rapidly are well taken.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 23:40
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Pretty sure that you are requried to have enough fuel to make your diversion airports at 10,000ft - to account for decompression events. With ETOPS that means enough fuel to make it at that level on one engine (I think).
That is an ETOPS requirement - decompression AND one engine out has to be taken in consideration and the worse case goes into your fuel calculation...

Nic
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Old 28th Sep 2010, 01:06
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Here's an article by "The Maui News" . . . .Plane lands safely after smoke fills cockpit - Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor's Information - The Maui News
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