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Pilots didn't know about evacuation

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Pilots didn't know about evacuation

Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:01
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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How many people would have been injured or worse had she not ordered an evacuation?
None at all, they had a knackered recirc fan. The company's evacuation guidance (which is reproduced in the report) was unfortunately not followed, people got needlessly injured as a result.

The answers are often illuminating.
They most certainly are.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:03
  #22 (permalink)  
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Oh please no! I find myself agreeing with 411a. Except of course for his last sentence starting then again...

The reason that the flight deck should be informed/responsible for the decision to evacuate is beautifully put by McBruce. The burning smell may be the passengers going through the engines!

I have worked for one airline in which the cabin crew could make an independent decision, witout informing the flight deck to initiate an evacuation. The chance of an uncoordinated accident as a result, always frightened me.

In my present company, normally the Flight deck make the decision, the Capt. initiates it but there is provision for the cabin crew to ascertain that the flight deck are capable of making the decision; i.e haven't become incapacitated. Then they would take over. Key word there is of course normal - specious really, as normal and evacuation make for strange bedfellows, to say the least. Still not perfect perhaps but better methinks.

Interesting report though, we all live and learn and hopefully make things better as a result.

BSD.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:04
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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10th Feb 2011 11:43 ShyTorque
But surely the flight deck crew should have been informed, to safeguard their safety too?
I was wondering that too. I can appreciate any crew member being able to order an evacuation, but surely everyone on board, including the flight crew, would be included?
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:12
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Max Angle View Post
None at all, they had a knackered recirc fan
Did the cabin crew know that?

I'm not condoning any actions merely trying to see it from the hosties point of view.

Just because you can't see flames doesn't mean there aren't any.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:15
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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If the Senior had stuck her head through the door and just said quite simply, "Captain, I'm going to start an evacuation." That would have been enough to get the Flight Decks attention. From the AAIB report she hardly tried to tell them, it sounds like she made her own decision and that was that. Told the rest of the Cabin Crew and off they went.

A quick sentence and that would have given enough time for the flight crew to say either "NO! STOP! We have it under control!" or "Ok, if you think it's that serious, take your station and we'll commence it, under my authority."

Once again, lack of communication, from both sides of the door have led to an event which COULD have led to more serious injuries. SEP refresher training for all I think.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:27
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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IMHO as humble SLF, the CC played it safe, which is the correct thing to do. I thought the whole ethos of flying was safety first, not protocol.

Talking in hindsight about any crew communication issues..... communication goes both ways... maybe the FD crew could have told the CC that the problem had been identified and was being resolved ?
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:30
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Just because you can't see flames doesn't mean there aren't any.
If you can't see flames but only limited amount of smoke (hence not so dense you can't see through it), then it's hardly clearly catastrophic and there is time to think. - You don't come across as a pilot, but i can inform you that the pilots won't use half hours assessing a situation with smoke, just seconds. But thats also enough to - as in this case - establish if it is something that is under control and well known or something more serious and then take the appropiate actions.

THAT is the reason the Captain should have been informed, and passenger injuries would most likely have been non-existent.

In reality i don't think it is the CC that fails here, but the company for not training them well enough to do the job they do.

IMHO as humble SLF, the CC played it safe, which is the correct thing to do. I thought the whole ethos of flying was safety first, not protocol.

Talking in hindsight about any crew communication issues..... communication goes both ways... maybe the FD crew could have told the CC that the problem had been identified and was being resolved ?
It is not "playing it safe" when people get injured for no reason at all, and the protocol is there for exactly that reason: "Play it safe"

How could the FD communicate that the problem was under control when they were never involved in the process from the CC? we don't tell them about every little technical fault for a various of reasons, but they probably would have been told if they took the interphone and informed that "we have some smoke development in the rear", what do you want us to do? - and take it from there.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:33
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Presumably they are expected to use their judgement in a potentially catastrophic situation. Fires can develop rapidly, such as the recent one in Russia.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:43
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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...having received an unsatisfactory response
In whose opinion? Her's or the Captain's? It's NOT her call. The flight crew were not incapacitated and were working on the problem. Passengers were disembarking so we are not talking about a Flight 163 scenario. The doors were open, there was no smoke.

To me, it appears that even with the flight deck door open and being fully aware that the crew were working on the problem, the SCCM still decided to order an evacuation. At that point, she was then NOT part of the crew and effectively a loose cannon and certainly not working under the Captain's authority. Her actions actually undermined it. Maybe it was panic or even poor training. The AAIB report states "However, the flight crew were not incapacitated and it is evident that verbal communication with them would have been possible had the member of cabin crew persisted." No medals should be awarded for unnecessary and dangerous decisions taken in isolation. But it was the SCCM's statement after the event saying she'd do the same again that suggests she is doing the wrong job. So I'll stick with my "churlish" remarks.

And I'll pose another question to those who think the SCCM did the right thing. Would it have been acceptable for any of the other cabin crew or even a passenger to have initiated the evacuation? If not, why not? So why didn't they?

For what it is worth, recycling fans small horrible when they fail. I have had several fail in flight and the acrid, pungent, electrical burning smell takes ages to dissipate. Similar to smoke, the odour appears to get into fabric and soft furnishings and stay for ages. The smell lingers long after the source expires. Returning to this incident, I can understand the cabin crews' distress because to them it would appear that either no action has been taken or what has been done was ineffective. Unfortunately, this is one of those occasions where over-reaction has caused unnecessary injuries.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 11:03
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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From the report: Air Accidents Investigation: Boeing 757-204, G-BYAT

The SCCM then returned to the forward cabin and contacted all the crew using the Alert Call on the cabin interphone. They confirmed that there was a pungent burning smell throughout the cabin; there was no smoke, but the smell was strongest in the rear of the aircraft. However, the flight crew did not respond to this call.

The SCCM returned to the flight deck to update the commander, and while the flight crew acknowledged her presence, she did not convey her concerns on the need to evacuate the passengers as the flight crew were busy dealing with the incident. She considered that she needed to disembark the passengers as quickly as possible and so, as there were no steps at the rear of the aircraft, when she returned to the cabin she announced, in a calm manner, over the passenger address system: Please evacuate the aircraft as quickly as possible. Leave all hand baggage behind. The cabin crew at the rear doors re-armed their doors and deployed the slides. A total of 43 passengers used the slides, with four of them receiving minor injuries.
(Emphasis mine.)

Not a very clear command - perhaps she intended the passengers to simply hasten disembarking via the (already open and in use) forward door and aerobridge?
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 11:06
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Always understood the authority for cabin crew to commence an evacuation on their own initiative was envisaged for a situation where urgent action was clearly necessary - e.g crash landing. This does not appear to have been the case in these circumstances.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 11:18
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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In whose opinion?
Her's. Obviously. Which is why she reacted as she did. She made it her call. Again, I am not condoning her actions just trying to see it from her point of view.

Unfortunately, this is one of those occasions where over-reaction has caused unnecessary injuries.
And if she had taken NO action and people had been injured or killed because the situation was worse than it appeared how would you be reacting now? She'd would still be getting a slating from you no doubt.

we are not talking about a Flight 163 scenario
I mentioned that scenario to highlight how quickly situations can get out of hand.

You don't come across as a pilot
I'm not trying to. I am trying to see this from the perspective of the cabin crew. Try it sometime and you might realise why people react the way they do.

If you can't see flames but only limited amount of smoke (hence not so dense you can't see through it), then it's hardly clearly catastrophic and there is time to think
How can you say that with any kind of certainty? How would the cabin crew know? They wouldn't.

What materials burn without smoke? Have you heard of flashover?

It's easy to sit in the comfort of your armchair with full knowledge of what has happened. But try and put yourself in that situation, honestly, and tell me how you would react.

How quickly could it have gone out of control?
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 12:36
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Its easy to speak (post) after you read the article. But if you are at the back of the plane with that strong burning smell, hving no info/PA from the FD I bet many of you would have a different opinion.

IMO CC did the right thing. They had no ideea whats going on, they played it safe. Purser tried to get more info, couldnt, so she got everyone out. Better be safe than sorry.

situation wasnt catastrophic? well, there's a fine line here. what should they hv done? wait for the flames? many of you say now that it wasnt catastrophic but you werent there at that time to make the judgment without knowing whats wrong.
same old story. we are all brave and bright in front of the computer.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 13:31
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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I had exactly the same failure on a B757 at MAN about 10 years ago. We were boarding at the time, strong electrical burning smell in the flight deck and cabin. We stopped the boarding and disembarked those already on board. No fuss, no drama. Certainly no need for slides.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 13:35
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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"If you can't see flames but only limited amount of smoke (hence not so dense you can't see through it), then it's hardly clearly catastrophic and there is time to think"

Ever been in a fire?

I was in an office (in London) once and a few whisps of smoke came through the floor - within 10 seconds the place was so full of smoke you couldn't see your hand in front of your face

if you see smoke GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE

I suspect in this case the pilots where wrapped up trying to figure out what might be wrong and just didn't pay the CC any attention when she poked her head around the door

Sure, she should have said something to get their attention but she was down back and they were up front - better to have 4 minor injuries than a blazing plane full of people
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 14:02
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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The fumes from this non-catastrophic failure are like all combustion byproducts -- toxic. Keeping people in a confined space with toxic fumes is not conducive to their health. People with asthma, allergies and other respiratory pathologies are at particular risk.

Many fires do self-extinguish, but without clairvoyance there is nothing to distinguish the first waft of smoke/fumes between a small release of toxic fumes or the beginnings of a conflagration that will in the next several seconds consume the entire aircraft.

If the CC waits for visible flames or heavy smoke, lives will be lost.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 14:18
  #37 (permalink)  
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I have never worked at a company that has required the cabin crew to seek my permission to evacuate
....and what would they do if your aircraft is moving along taxiway or runway ? Sometimes it can take quite looong....

that will in the next several seconds consume the entire aircraft.
If I were you I would "rather never been flyıng", nor even using a car or a bus either.
 
Old 10th Feb 2011, 14:22
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Green Guard,

They are trained to check outside. Hopefully that's what they'll do!
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 14:48
  #39 (permalink)  

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On one incident there was a deadheading FA sitting by the overwing exit on a 727, an aircraft she was not familiar with.

When the FE started the APU it torched and some flames came up by the window she was sitting by.

She immediately screamed for everyone to evacuate, jumped up, ran across the aisle to the other side's overwing exit and opened it. Then as the confused and now frightened passengers started yelling and standing up, the assigned Cabin Crew managed to tackle the out of control deadheading FA and informed the Captain to stop the aircraft as passengers were trying to leave the cabin.

As it turned out there were no serious injuries as no passenger was actually able to leave the aircraft as it was taxing.

In the case that is the subject of this thread, tell the cockpit crew first, if they are not paying attention to you, whack them up the side of the head if you have to, but tell them before one starts to evacuate passengers via the slides.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 15:03
  #40 (permalink)  

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Decent airlines have SOPs. They are there for a reason and developed after much thought and debate and also are apporved by the regulatory authorities. SOPs will never be perfect but had the CC member actually adhered to her training and followed SOPs the incident would never have happened.

Her comment that she would consider doing the same again was probably bravado speaking and her trying to justify her completely and utterly incorrect actions.

Actions have consequences and if you operate outside how the aircraft operator wants its aircraft operated (SOPs) then you had better be very sure of what actions you are about to take.
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