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Pilots didn't know about evacuation

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Pilots didn't know about evacuation

Old 11th Feb 2011, 09:13
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Normally,

Normally, at a real airline (one that has SOPs that are taught, evaluated, and reinforced), the cabin crew does have the authority to command an evacuation. However, these instances are limited to cases that obviously require an evacuation such as: after a crash with major structural damage, (it is obvious the pilots are incapacitated and evacuation is warranted), a fire, dense smoke, or any situation that poses imminent danger and the pilots cannot be contacted. Things of this nature....

In the Bus, there is a cockpit switch that has two positions: one, where only the cockpit can trigger the evacuation alarm, the other where either the purser or the pilot(s) can trigger the alarm. My old company's SOP (from which I retired) was to position the switch to 'cockpit only'.

Never, at my old airline, have we had a problem where the cabin crew initiated an evacuation on their own without communicating first with the cockpit. But, I came from a 'legacy carrier' where our cabin crew are fairly bright....not someone who was sacked from Burger King.

However, we have had instances where passengers panicked and bailed out on their own. One time, during push back and engine start, a CFM 56 torched a bit. One idiot saw this, and before you know it, the over-wing exit was opened and people were jumping out.

As the ticket prices lower (due to the attributes of deregulation), we see more idiots traveling.

We really can't say what happened in this instance, as news reports are usually wrong. At my university, the students who were sharp typically majored in engineering, science, or math. The ones less gifted usually majored in band or journalism. So, it never surprised me that reports related to aviation are typically incorrect.


Fly safe,


PantLoad
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 09:13
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This SCCM was according to report in physical contact with the FD but they didn't respond to her because they were busy.

Well, then surely they are working on the problem, and her job is to STAND BY and wait for further instructions, OR in the important cases make sure she get response, eg. slap a shoulder or whatever is required.

But no, she took her own actions and for doing that in those circumstances, she is in the wrong job.

Very dangerous for all pax, regardless of what all the uninformed and non-trained self-loading freight in here thinks
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 11:30
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Presumably she got the brush off and rather than sit and wait she decided to take no risks

She'd have been crucified if the cabin had caught fire
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 11:32
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"Very dangerous for all pax, regardless of what all the uninformed and non-trained self-loading freight in here thinks "

As I said earlier - when you see smoke don't hang around looking at manuals and checklists - get out of there if you can- it really does go to hell in a handbasket very very quickly
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 11:40
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But no, she took her own actions and for doing that in those circumstances, she is in the wrong job.
Yes, wrong job...at a telephone in reservations would be better.
At least that way she would be less of a danger to others.

Some years ago, we had a hostie start an evac because...she noticed slight tailpipe torching from number one engine during start.
She said nothing to anyone, just opened her door and started tossing pax out...both sides.
She was promptly terminated, and from her pay, the slideraft repacking cost was deducted.
This hostie was a silly fool.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 12:13
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Does it not occur to you that procedures are in place for good safety reasons?
Yes, and one of those procedures is evacuating the aircraft on your own. That's why you get the safety presentation that carefully points out all the exits, and how to open doors, and how to put on life vests, and so on. That presentation is there so that you can get out on your own if you have to. If the procedure were simply to wait for commands, the safety presentation would consist solely of a sign saying "do as the crew tells you." The crew is there as emergency safety technicians, not as police officers.

I've always assumed it is so that passengers can assist CC if required in the event of an emergency. eg If one or more CC have been incapacitated.
If the cabin crew requires assistance, it will explain what needs to be done. The instructions are for passengers who must fend for themselves if for some reason the cabin crew is unavailable.

It had never occurred to me until I read your post that some of my fellow passengers might regard it as an invitation to open a door if they consider it necessary. A troubling thought.
You're welcome to wait for instructions from the cabin crew. If the emergency isn't too life-threatening, that's probably a sound policy. But if it's a dire emergency, I'll leave on my own, and you can stay behind if you want. I'll try to watch you through the windows from my safe 100-meter observation position outside the aircraft—that way I can help the emergency services identify your charred remains.

There may be people who will exit for the wrong reasons; there are even FAs who will do this, sometimes. Real-life emergencies rarely take place as smoothly as they do in training courses or safety videos. But I know enough to recognize dire emergencies in most cases. And there's nothing more dangerous than fire aboard an aircraft, so if I think the aircraft is on fire, I'm out.

As for the cabin crew member who initiated the evacuation on her own in the case under discussion, I think it's better to be safe than sorry. Funny smell + no response from FD = possible fire danger = evacuate now. It's easy to criticize in retrospect, but she did what she thought she had to do. Expensive mistakes made in the interest of safety are preferable to loss of life. I'd rather be on her flight than be on a flight where we all die of smoke inhalation while she waits for a signed authorization form from the flight deck.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 12:53
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As with all things aviation is it not a case that lessons are learned from incidents and accidents...
At the end of the day no-one lost a life - better this way round learning a lesson and for training to be updated/changed!
I think some of the comments submitted here have been rather harsh...maybe it's a case of "you had to be there" to understand how alarming this situation was!
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 14:34
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I'm going to reiterate something I said earlier, and made quite a point about it. This was a SMELL of burning. How many people in their own house would jump out the window at the first SMELL of burning?

If there was smoke, then yes, get everyone off, right away. But a smell? Please, seriously get a bloody grip. How many electrical items make a burning smell as they burn out? Most of them, and how many are there on an aircraft? If I had an evacuation for everytime there had been a funny smell on an aircraft I'd have lost count.

A lot of you haven't read the report and are making assumptions on the severity of the scenario. The facts for those who can't be bothered to read:

The cabin crew and senior SMELL burning.
Captain investigates, starts running cxlist to isolate the cause.
The smell in fact starts to decrease.
Cabin crew at rear believe it's getting worse, after being asked by the senior (who I'm sure more likely said - can you still smell burning? and it's getting worse yes? - See where this is going - Leading questions)
Senior is at the front, tries quickly to get Flight Decks attention and can't (instead of shouting if necessary - "I'm going to start an evacuation Captain"), so decides to action it herself.

Flash fires don't just start with a smell, if it was that hot there would be smoke, I can't recall one instance of a flash fire that started with just a smell.

Poor communication from all, and an itchy senior made this relatively common and simple problem turn into a mass of paperwork and headaches.

So, go on then, hands up who answered my first point about jumping out of their first floor window after smelling their toaster burning the bread? Chimps.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 14:47
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Poor communication from all, and an itchy senior made this relatively common and simple problem turn into a mass of paperwork and headaches.

Chimps.
Sad but true, and there are far too many of them in the CC ranks, today.
It's all part of the perceived idea that all crew are somehow 'equal' and have the same knowledge.
Sorry...just ain't so.
Most CC are far down the list in the smarts department.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 14:52
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From what the SCCM had said at a recent Refresher course, after speaking with the the FD she asked passengers to exit the a/c via the airbridge rapidly (a rapid disembarkation).
The rear CC not being able to see to the middle of a/c due to a haze (and people standing up) decided that is was better to evacuate via slides.
The SCCM had made a decision after speaking with the L/R4 doors crew and hearing their concerns (for a rapid disembarkation that is).
They had also made a decision on what they saw.

At the end of the day its a 15 page report that doesn't go into lots of detail and leaves a large amount of uncertainty in what everybody was thinking and what everybody did.
We can all say that we would do things differently and that she should be doing something a little simpler, we were not there and sitting in our warm houses with a cup of cha next to us with no mounting pressure, should not criticise.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 14:55
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Sorry but that's not what it says in the report. She meant to do it, and would do it again. Another one who hasn't read it.

But on the plus side, I agree it's all too easy to criticize from the comfort of ones own home. Maybe Seniors should sit in on our sims to see how we as pilots deal with things, in our way. Not enough is known about each others roles imo.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 15:01
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How many people in their own house would jump out the window at the first SMELL of burning?
In my house there are four exits for the three occupants -- compare that to a narrow tin tube with fifty semi-obese folks clinging to their cabin baggage between me and the nearest exit.

Of course in my house I do know what the smells are and where they come from and act accordingly.

In a commercial building when the alarm comes on and there is no communication within 15 seconds, I take the fire exit, alarmed or not.

The SLF are generally not educated in the various fumes or tailpipe fires; so prompt communication is key. If the crew fails to keep them in the loop, the proactive ones will be operating the exits.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 15:09
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Ok Its a 15 page report that doesnt go into great detail, several pages contain pictures of worn out bearings and how a recirc fan goes together.
There are two types of evacuation at thomson, does it actually say that, No it doesnt.
Having spoken to the SCCM at a refresher course, she stated that she started a rapid disembarkation (an evacuation via the airbridge), one thing i didnt say earlier was that she also mentioned was that people were not clearing the airbridge very quickly either so caused a backlog.
The L/R4 doors crew then decided that things were getting worse so to punch out via the rear doors.

Hp I agree with you and think that the cc should come and sit in our sims, would be an invaluable learning exercise for both sides.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 15:17
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Presumably she got the brush off and rather than sit and wait she decided to take no risks
She decided to act outside of her training and company procedures designed, discussed and evaluated to prevent unsafe actions. Her actions were unsafe, unnecessary. The report makes it clear they had a SMELL of burning, no more, no less.

She'd have been crucified if the cabin had caught fire
No she wouldn't. While SOPs may in certain circumstances be inappropriate, which is why flight crew are generally intelligent and clear thinkers able to recognise that case, she would not be criticised for complying with the procedures in which she had been trained. If thick smoke or fire had been visible her actions could possibly be justified, for a smell alone they cannot.

90% of this thread is quite troubling, especially contributions from those who should know better.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 15:55
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Lord Spandex Masher,
I have never worked at a company that has required the cabin crew to seek my permission to evacuate. Nor have they been required to let us know they were going either.
They are trained to check outside. Hopefully that's what they'll do!
So it's perfectly possible that you are waiting at the holding point and for some reason cabin crew starts an evacuation without informing the cockpit?
Ok, no problem, AC is standing still and outside conditions are good.
Meanwhile, you get permission to line up and you start moving when the first passengers start to jump... I don't think it will be a pretty sight.


My company's policy:
Captain decides for evacuation after an inital call.
After this call, checklist for evacuation is being completed. (My main concern are the engines)
If evacuation is required, the captain will make the evacuation call. If it's not required he will cancel the initial call.

Exception:
If there was no initial call from the flightdeck e.g. after an runway excursion (which indicates pilot incapacitation), CCM are allowed to evacuate.

If for some reason CCM feels the need to evacuate, inform the cockpit. E.g. a fire which the FCM don't know about.


Offcourse, the example that IGh has given, where the captain delayed evacuation, was poor decision making from the captain.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 17:51
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I concur fully with the idea of pre stating one profession prior to spouting.

Pilot 3rd generation, Capt for 25yrs.

Ok, the dumbness of some SLF never ceases to amaze me! How many stand up, start getting hand luggage form lockers well before the aircraft has actually stopped. In my experience no passenger yet has beaten the aircraft to the terminal, so stay sat down as you are told to!Jeez!

The thought that some of these so called experts, because they sit in the back alot, inititiating an evacuation, without it being clearly catastrophic, just stuns me. A bit like Stevie Wonder having ago at rally driving if you get my drift!

The addition of SCCMs, Pursers or whatever your company calls the Captains representative in the Cabin, into recurrent simulators is great. We tried it once and got a big thumbs up from those attending........however there were those who didn't turn up

The biggest thing that got passed along was how long making an EVAC decision can take.

The time is needed to ensure that it is SAFE to evacuate. Engines shut down etc Emergency services alerted and finally the decision to get people to throw themselves down a teflon covered slide with concrete at the bottom.

The fact that only 4 people were injured in this case was frankly a miracle.

So whoever said it, the SCCM in this case should have MADE sure she got a response from the FD crew. It simply was NOT in her perview or anybodyelse's to initiate an evacuation without the Captain's order.

IMHO the SCCM sounds like a loose cannon, should be busted back to a no2 or whatever and retrained in SEP and CRM.

But what do I know!
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 18:32
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Bus Driver Man,

So it's perfectly possible that you are waiting at the holding point and for some reason cabin crew starts an evacuation without informing the cockpit?
Ok, no problem, AC is standing still and outside conditions are good.
Meanwhile, you get permission to line up and you start moving when the first passengers start to jump... I don't think it will be a pretty sight.
It's possible yes. However, I do not think it is probable. Unless it is catastrophic at least one of 'em should have time to contact us.

I said earlier in the thread that I always have the PA selected on my audio panel so I can hear what is going on on the back, I would be aware if they started an evacuation without first communicating with me. Dunno what other people do, maybe it should be SOP. It should be SOP to inform the flight deck as well but it isn't!

Just to reiterate, I am not condoning the actions of the crew on the subject flight just trying to see it from a point of view other than my own.
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 20:36
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IMHO the SCCM sounds like a loose cannon, should be busted back to a no2 or whatever and retrained in SEP and CRM.
I would disagree...she should be terminated, forthwith.
Loose cannons are not appreciated, nor desired, in the cabin.
Full stop.

PS.
I've seen a few of these 'loose cannons' in several airlines, and they were all shown the door by the HR (and CC department), with very good reason.

Expunged, pronto.
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Old 12th Feb 2011, 04:42
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It seems most people would agree, the aspect of how severe the smell of smoke is, remains somewhat subjective.
Perhaps in this instance, erring on the side of caution was excessively cautious.
But like many things, if we weren't there, hard to give anything other than an opinion, however, having read the AAIB bulletin, where it is clear she had been IN the cockpit and knew the cockpiy crew were not incapacitated, I would just give her a nice warm cup of DCM. End of story.

On a more practical note, similar to spandexdude, I tend to have the PA selected on, albeit at a low volume, and whilst some may call me nosey, I like to know what is being said to the SLF. As most of our company PA's are doing nothing other than causing death by PA, (our company do it in a few languages), it is very easy to monitor, as the PA's one normally hears are the routine run of the mill type, and ones brain naturally filters it out or files it away as background music, as one naturally expects to hear the constant drone. I do not find it detracts from my monitoring of the radio, and I'm just an average capacity guy.
However, when you get an odd one, like "You in the red shirt, leave that door alone and sit the f@ck down", it gets noticed.

Also, one thing which I think works quite well for the pilots and the cabin crew, is our "Uh-Oh!" call, which our company introduced years ago.
When we have something occur which is clearly out of the ordinary, we all know it takes a while for certain problems to clarified, assessed, and a plan of action decided.
So, one of the calls we first make is: "Cabin Crew to Station"
They know, A) we are alive, B) All is not well, and C) That any second now, it might be HeyHo, off we go.
It's their clue to get their sh!t in one sock, stand to like a coiled spring, and be ready to go at the first word of "EVACUATE, EV......,etc".
They use the time to get into position, evaluate outside, inside, ready to report anything abnormal they see, they know they are the eyes and ears of the vast area we cant see, hear or smell, and mentally prepare themselves for popping the doors.
It is also reassuring for them, as they know that after the Uh-Oh call, there may be a while before the next call, and more often than not, it is the dulcet calming equivalent of "Cabin crew you may resume your normal duties, Ladies and Gentlemen, blah blah..."
However, in the event an evacuation is needed, they already know we are in control, and are ready to go, but only WHEN COMMANDED, at a seconds notice.

Works for us!

Last edited by LongTimeInCX; 12th Feb 2011 at 05:07.
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Old 12th Feb 2011, 10:41
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I have read the numerous posts on this thread with great interest with a mixed opinion to many of the comments, most i presume have come from pilots though some a believe from other area's of the industry.

Now its all very well saying 'terminate' the scc involved but a lot more to the situation, a merger with many sop changes in last 3 years hasnt helped, and to be honest crm was not good it doeasnt help when pilots dont respond ( a lot of pilots/cabin crew still have crap crm skills & yes i am entitled to say this i have been cc for 30 years, 20 years as a safety security and crm instructor and still witness both good and bad crm when flying) and the scc should have been more 'forceful in the flight deck as this a/c was parked on stand therefore 'aviate navigate communicate' the first 2 are out of the equation! so would not have been dangerous at this point for scc to interupt pilots to make them aware, also FNC pax are generally much older many slow walkers little wonder the airbridge was getting congested slowing things down, we have a procedure for this situation its called a precautionary disembarkation and a PA for scc to make which avoids the 'E' word if you read the AAIB report her pa was very polite and started ladies & gentlemen!! not attention attention or the like!

Give the lady a break she made a mistake to quote basic crm 'to err is normal', no one is perfect although i have even recently flown with pilots who think they are, she didn't cause anyone to lose their life she was doing what she thought appropriate given the information she was recieving and from what she could see and smell in cabin, following the incident a thorough debrief was carried out and from that lessons were learned a clear notice was issued to cc to remind them of the criteria when 'they' can initiate the evacuation,and its also being covered on joint crm this winter, not so long ago we had a similar situation on an a/c in the final stages of boarding when a smell developed and then cabin rapidly filled with black smoke reducing visibility to nil and the crew used slides quite appropriatly to evacuate the pax as they wern't leaving via the airbridge quick enough, these situations can escalate in seconds and its understandable that the scc was concerned for the safety of her pax and crew.

I do believe in the UK we have a good safety culture not perfect but constantly developing and striving to be better, we learn from mistakes and to learn we need people to be open honest and accepting when incidents occur and changes need to be made, criticising and making sweeping statements about an individual doesnt help in these situations and remember when can all be armchair critics but we were not on that aircraft that evening!
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