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Pilots didn't know about evacuation

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Pilots didn't know about evacuation

Old 13th Feb 2011, 12:22
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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So, night flight, on stand at Glasgow (no rear steps or GPU), smell of burning, APU switched off (dark and with PEEPLS lights on), only one door to get 233 people off. Engines off, front door open, slides disarmed, pax standing in aisle, no visual contact between rear crew and either FD or other CC, no instant access to CC checklists (dark and probably manuals stowed safely in OH lockers behind milling pax). Snap decision needed to make up a call to get pax moving to evac...well, clear the aircraft, but not by using the 'slide-blowing' standard call. Strange how you can't come up with a word like "Vacate" or "De-plane" when you are in a hurry but might grab at "Evacuate" or something similar when the heat is on.

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.”

Reminds me of that skipper who shouted "Open the door, we've got some late passengers" which must've sounded quite like "Open doors, evacuate passengers" because the slide got blown. I'm told he got 'terminated' and has spent the rest of his life pontificating on Pprune



After those pax went down the slides it reads as if the AFRS instructed the CC to follow the fire crew out the front rather than going down the slides with the pax.

Does this all sound like an accurate description of the events?
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Old 13th Feb 2011, 13:40
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Leave your wallet behind

As a SLF I think that if I heard the word 'evacuate' then I would be anticipating a ride down the slide. Ditto 'leave all had luggage behind' in any instruction means timeliness is of the essence. But there wasn't even a need to 'hurry up' the de-planing was there ? Why was any haste deemed necessary when the FD were aware and the 'situation' (aka smell) hadn't markedly worsened ? As for evacuating the building but not telling the staff on the top floor............Apologies if I am taking some things as facts when there is uncertainty but frankly I am with the 'Aldi' camp.
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Old 13th Feb 2011, 13:42
  #103 (permalink)  
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OK, so lessons learned, or perhaps re-learned with regard to the importance of CRM, and no great harm done, eh? The passengers involved will no doubt have subsequently expressed their gratitude in letters to Thomson.

I'm being cynical, of course. In these litigious times the writs claiming for distress and injury will have been descending like snowflakes from the sky. I can only guess what the eventual settlement bill will run to, probably well into six figures. Yes, really.

It happened to my airline, in different circumstances - an inflight engine shutdown - a breakdown in CRM, and the senior cabin crew member, on her own initiative, having the passengers assume the 'brace' position for the landing. Again, no physical harm done, but the writs for distress duly came snowing in, and the eventual legal bill was a jaw-dropper.

Edited to add that I'm not saying that the financial implications of one's actions should sway anyone away from having the passengers' well-being in mind first, last, and always. It's just a sad reflection on our times.

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Old 13th Feb 2011, 19:53
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Does this all sound like an accurate description of the events?
Rather than speculate, here's the AAIB description of the events:

History of the flight
G-BYAT landed at Glasgow International Airport after an uneventful flight from Funchal, Madeira. Shortly after coming onto stand, after passenger disembarkation had commenced, via door L2, the flight crew became aware of an acrid smell that appeared to be getting stronger. The co﷓pilot left the cockpit briefly, to identify whether the smell was also present in the forward galley; it was and was increasing in intensity, but there was no visible smoke in the cabin. The co-pilot returned to the flight deck and informed the commander, who turned off the APU and the Utility busbars to isolate electrical power to the galleys, before completing the relevant elements of the Smoke Removal checklist from the Quick Reference Handbook. The fire services were then requested via the ATC ground controller. At this stage it was apparent to the flight crew that the smell was dissipating.

At the same time the senior cabin crew member (SCCM) and other cabin crew members were aware of the smell. She went into the flight deck and confirmed with the flight crew that the odour was also apparent there.

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.

Once the cabin crew had checked the cabin was clear of passengers, they were directed off the aircraft, via the airbridge at door L2, by the AFRS who had boarded the aircraft via the airbridge wearing breathing apparatus. The passengers who had evacuated the aircraft were assisted at the foot of the slides by the AFRS and airport personnel.

After the evacuation a number of comments were made by passengers concerning an apparent lack of assistance and direction given to them outside the aircraft. The airfield operator considered this was due to some agencies not being initially informed of the incident. In addition, there were reports of passengers, coming down the slides, colliding with those in the process of leaving the bottom of the slides.
Following the event the operator’s maintenance engineers traced the problem to the right recirculation fan, which was described as “barely running and giving off the burning smell”. The unit was replaced, following which the air conditioning packs and fans were run with no further smell of burning. There was no other damage to the aircraft.
SCCM comments
Following the event, the SCCM commented that the whole incident, from the initial smell to the time of the evacuation, happened very quickly. She added that given similar circumstances, with no rear steps in place and with the very distinct smell of burning in the rear of the aircraft, she would again consider initiating an evacuation.
Operations Manual
Part B of the operator’s Operations Manual includes the following in the section on evacuation drill, dealing with the command for evacuation and leaving the aircraft:
On evacuation command
● In most circumstances the evacuation command will be initiated by the Commander. This will immediately cause the cabin crew to put into action their evacuation drill. If communication is impossible with the pilots and the situation is life-threatening to passengers and crew (e.g. breaking up of the aircraft, an uncontrollable fire in the cabin or ditching), the ICM will initiate the evacuation. However circumstances may also dictate that any cabin crew member initiates the evacuation if faced with a similar situation.”
Leave aircraft
● Cabin crew should leave the aircraft once all passengers have evacuated, or if at any time the area becomes too dangerous to remain inside.
● Cabin crew to take control of groups of passengers and move them away from the aircraft upwind (using megaphones).
● Attempt to keep passengers together.’
Discussion - evacuation
In this particular case, it is clear that the member of the cabin crew who initiated the evacuation was concerned that the situation in the cabin was potentially life threatening. 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.
Safety actions
Following this incident, the aircraft operator issued a Cabin Crew Notice reminding cabin crew of the circumstances when an evacuation can be initiated without it being ordered by the commander, and of the cabin crews’ responsibilities for the evacuated passengers.


[Captain's flying experience: 18,000 hours of which 13,000 were on type.
SCCM's flying experience not stated.]


.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 01:09
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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411A, do you run IQ checks on recruitment ?

and your competitors ?
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 02:35
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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To be honest, she didn't say she would ''do the same'' she would ''consider''... if there was a different situation it may be worse... that is what she could of meant.. although of course she could have made the statement that she would do the same in that EXACT situation - which I would hope would have been addressed.

I think, 411A you are being a bit harsh here... Hopefully this SCCM hasn't seen your comments they would probably be mortified! This SCCM did not show terrible safety standards... as stated overreacted... crew CAN initiate an evacuation if they think it is life threatening... OK in this situation it was probably a bit OTT - however the perception of life threatening varies from person to person. If she had evacuated due to a bit of steam coming from the cottage pie in the ovens then I would be thinking some retraining is needed.

It is right she should and could have spoke to the Flight Crew - CRM broke down, however this situation is nowhere near as bad as many CRM breakdowns from the Flight Crew members in many accidents who didn't take situations seriously and this caused loss of lives.

Not excusing the loss of CRM or overreaction however to insult someones intelligence when infact, they were acting in good faith - ie ensuring safety. OK there was injuries and in this case the risk of injuries WAS greater than staying onboard so probably not the best. However who knows what she thought when she was stood at Doors 1 looking aft, passengers in aisle, pilots not responding to the alert call on interphone (it mentions this in the report)

However I think this discussion is good so that we (both sides of the FD door at all airlines) can learn from these incidents improving CRM.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 03:13
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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@411A: you said "Let's see, smell of 'burning' but no apparent dense smoke nor fire, said SCCM would 'do the same'."

You haven't even understood (maybe you haven't even read what was said in the report) leaving out the word CONSIDER in your caustic and slating response. Seems to me your ability to comprehend what is going on and make appropriate decisions may be just as lacking as you claim for the SCCM. And this with the benefit of the printed word in fornt of, under no pressure.

Could be that you are also, to use your word, an A$$. It would be nice if next time you read fully and COMPREHEND before shooting off at the keyboard.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 03:45
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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So 411A you dont listen to what your FE says, all your copilots are next to useless, you dont trust your cabin crew cant remember if you trust your groundcrew...... so who do you trust on your aircraft? Bet I would not last very long in your outfit and there would be fun words spoken on the flight deck that is for sure. I wonder how many crew shudder when they see your name as captain on a long trip..... Must be lonely drinking on your own on stop overs.
The SCCM made a judgement call whether it was right or wrong as she could not get a word in with the Flight Crew (you were not the captain were you) If it had turned to custard she would have been the undoubted hero of the show. As for calling her names, I really do think you should give it a rest and retire.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 05:48
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Try common sense, AnthonyGA, rather than using what little totally inadequate 'knowledge' you might possess about large airline ops.
Unless airlines are giving pilots comprehensive training in the hundreds of types of smells that one might sense aboard an aircraft and what they mean, I doubt that they are any better at recognizing an overheated bearing than I am. And historical incidents prove that pilots often don't know where a smell is coming from; and if they are prudent, they treat strange smells as potential fires or chemical contamination, as they should. If they are imprudent and dismiss unidentifiable smells as harmless, sometimes bad things happen.

Even an airplane mechanic might not recognize the smell unless he has already encountered it in the past. And pilots are as different from aircraft mechanics as I am.

It's not really a question of airline ops; it's a question of fire safety, which crosses the boundaries of all industries. Airliners are particularly vulnerable to fire, but beyond that, the general principles of fire safety still apply.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 07:25
  #110 (permalink)  
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One imagines that the criticism of the SCCM would have been far greater if this had been a genuine fire, the cockpit crew HAD been incapacitated, but she'd kept on wasting time trying to talk to them rather than evacuating the cabin. I'm quite sure that she knows that also, hence her comments about considering similar actions in the future.

As an aside, in the operation I work in (big research aircraft, lots of electrical equipment on board), we've recently revised cabin drills to separate "fire and smoke" from "heat and fumes" with different sets of actions, but recognition that the second has potential to escalate to the first. Discussing this with both pilots and CCMs, this clarification of the differences - rather than leaving people to make a judgement call - has been well received.

G
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 07:56
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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The SCCM made a judgement call ...
A very poor one, it would appear....hardly appropriate for her position.
Boot her firmly out the HR door to avoid further difficulties on her part.
I expect there are plenty of other folks in the company's employ that could do the job far better.
Bet I would not last very long in your outfit
Quite likely.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 08:17
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Having read my personal copy of the AAIB report, permit me to make some observations. I have attended a lecture at Cranfield, and visited the mockup where trials to improve evacuation proceedure take place. Volunteers were used in tests; they were too orderly unless promised a cash reward, that had the effect of producing chaos, as people climbed over seats, stepped on everyone else, and BLOCKED THE EXITS! And those slides are pretty high off the ground too, I would certainly hesitate on the brink.

I also have experienced panic as SLF. It is absolutely terrifying when the cabin fills with any kind of strange vapor, be it steam, smoke, fumes, or burnt toast.

So the most dangerous thing is panic. Studies show that regular commuters on business flights are most orderly and experienced, and so survive. But old women and children just get in the way and are trampled by ordinary blokes in a panic. Only one way out, and fumes in the cabin? Enough blokes have frankly stated on this thread that they would take personal action to get the hell out. And Cranfield studies have shown that in that case, the exits get blocked!

Most on board the USAir flight that arrived in the Hudson River were commuters. Able bodied.

In short, I fully support the action of the SCCM. Hindsight is all very well, and although perhaps she should have persisted in trying to communicate with a busy flight deck - in the event of fumes or smoke, not only is there potential for catastrophic fire, but the potential for panic as well. In which case, more than one exit, please, for my family.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 08:36
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Can't lay full blame on the SCCM. She was given a set of tools, during here training, to be used during here tenure with the company.

While the report states that only 43 used the slides... does anyone know how many passengers were actually still onboard while deplaning the aircraft?

I do have one question. If the smell was more pungent in the aft section of the aircraft, why not re-direct to a forward exit.

At the end of the day no lives were lost. Is it really worth the risk when it comes to fumes, especially of an electrical nature.

Afterall... how many remember the Air Canada DC-9? June 2nd, 1983? The one with the aft toilet flush motor? How many people died?

DCA83AA028

http://ntsb.gov/ntsb/GenPDF.asp?id=DCA83AA028&rpt=fi
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 09:37
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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I'm an airline pilot, flying since 1982.

Pilots do not want their passengers to come to any kind of harm. They recognise that if slides are used, people get hurt. This SCCM should be re-trained but by her own comments she demonstrates that she may be unsuitable for the role.

Procedures are there to be followed. In my airline the cabin crew are shown photos of aircraft situations and are asked to state if they are clearly catastrophic. As someone said, if you have time to think about it, it isn't catastrophic....

Macho passenger types who would be prepared to initiate their own evacuations at the slightest sign of trouble are a menace to themselves and those around them. Contrast this, a slight burning smell, with the tragic accident at Cork the other day, and it can be seen that in this incident, passengers were injured when they need not have been.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 09:43
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Pilots do not want their passengers to come to any kind of harm. They recognise that if slides are used, people get hurt. This SCCM should be re-trained but by her own comments she demonstrates that she may be unsuitable for the role.

Procedures are there to be followed. In my airline the cabin crew are shown photos of aircraft situations and are asked to state if they are clearly catastrophic. As someone said, if you have time to think about it, it isn't catastrophic....

Macho passenger types who would be prepared to initiate their own evacuations at the slightest sign of trouble are a menace to themselves and those around them.
Well said.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 09:49
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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A very poor one, it would appear....hardly appropriate for her position.
Boot her firmly out the HR door to avoid further difficulties on her part.
I expect there are plenty of other folks in the company's employ that could do the job far better.
Poor decision or not; are we in the business of catapulting someone directly into the staff car park with their P45 in hand for every fvck up? Granted; a poorly orchestrated or indeed unneeded evacuation can claim lives unnecessarily. However equally, an airline with a reputation of kicking people into touch whenever they perform something which leads to question can instil a slight instinct of paranoia and fear among staff; as a result performance suffers. As I have read, the safety considerations made by the AAIB went along the lines of the airline in question directing reference to their SEP manual with relation to evacuation without a commanders order. Hopefully this can and will be used to enforce further training and raise levels of competency in a positive sense. Sacking someone doesn't. This incident isn't a case were complete and utter incompetence or a complete disregard to the rules lead to injury and death.

To be honest 411A, I cannot make up my mind whether I'd be happy in your airline or not. Obviously it would be fantastic to be in awe of someone, like yourself, who is incapable of making a faux pas however on the flip side I would personally be in constant fear for my job on the basis of being human. Humans sometimes make errors. It's how we deal and beforehand prevent these errors which is important.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 10:03
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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Which part of getting passengers safely out of a smoke filled cabin is open to criticism?

I don't contribute to these fora too much any more, or indeed read them (too much), for reasons apparent in this thread. But gentlemen, with the best will in the world, and no hindsight, would you rather be toast in an aircraft cabin, or on the apron in Glasgow "doon a slide"?
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 10:16
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mary meagher
Having read my personal copy of the AAIB report
Do glider pilots have special versions?
Hindsight is all very well
That's an interesting contrast to your sarcastic comment on another thread about "the usual overexcited emergency vehicles in attendance" following a report that an aircraft had crashed on a road near Bicester during evening rush-hour traffic.
It turned out that the aircraft was a glider that had crashed across the road without colliding with any traffic, very narrowly missing a house, and fortunately neither the pilot nor anyone else was injured.
Hindsight all very well?

Bally Heck
Which part of getting passengers safely out of a smoke filled cabin is open to criticism?
It may or may not make any difference to your view but, in the interests of accuracy:
There was no smoke.
See AAIB Report


strikemaster1982
Macho passenger types who would be prepared to initiate their own evacuations at the slightest sign of trouble are a menace to ....... those around them.
I agree.

H.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 10:30
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A couple of things occur to me.....

[before I mention them I should announce myself to be a 300-hour PPL and a 1000-hour SLF]

Firstly, it's clear there are mixed opinions about this SCCM. I wonder if those who are predminantly critical are FD, and those who are praising are SLF. A survey might be interesting.

Secondly, I watched a TV programme at the weekend about aircraft safely. It was said that a fite incident can go from zero to fatal in 90 seconds. Anyone disagree with that ?
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 11:02
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Which part of getting passengers safely out of a smoke filled cabin is open to criticism?

I don't contribute to these fora too much any more, or indeed read them (too much), for reasons apparent in this thread. But gentlemen, with the best will in the world, and no hindsight, would you rather be toast in an aircraft cabin, or on the apron in Glasgow "doon a slide"?
"The smoke filled cabin" part?

The debate centres around the SCCM initiating an evacuation in the circumstances that were present at the time. There is no mention of a smoke filled cabin, more of a pungent or acrid odour. There are established protocols that don't appear to have been fully followed here. That isn't to say that the actions taken were other than with the best intent, but that Doesn't negate the risks and damage that might have been avoided if those procedures had been complied with.

Smells of burning are of course always taken seriously, but the cause may be anything from detritus in an oven, to moisture on a light fitting, to equipment warming up after an overnight cold soak. You don't send passengers down a slide simply as a precaution.

Sometimes you get burning smells at home. You identify them and try and resolve them. I doubt you call 999 (911) and evacuate your family unless more serious evidence manifested itself. Even if that were not the case, the process wouldn't likely cause injury to them.

Fire or Smoke in the confines of an aircraft cabin is a serious matter, however that doesn't mean that each and every smell, fume or odour event is cause for injuring a proportion of your passengers by sending them down slides. If it was it would be happening many times a week!

The discovery channel is all very well, but in the real day to day world, measured and sensible judgments in accordance with established operating principles need to be, and are exercised every day.

Last edited by Bealzebub; 14th Feb 2011 at 12:08.
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