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Beverage Spill in Cockpit

Old 15th Jan 2016, 10:12
  #1 (permalink)  
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Beverage Spill in Cockpit

On twitter there is an AA pilot with a following of over 4000, who posts comments, pictures, etc. (see @Chris_Manno)

Recently he posted a picture of a mug of coffee, and even showed that the BIG planes' cockpits have cup holders for this.


My question to him was whether an accidental spill on all those instruments and electronics will not be a problem, and he sort of brushed off my question with "Beverages have been on the flight deck for the last 50 years. Have you heard of any problems?"

Does anyone have a serious and more informative answer to this?
gertcoetzee is offline  
Old 16th Jan 2016, 21:21
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When rolling out a new nationwide radio system for the police in Kuwait in the 1990s, cops began bringing in their cars with complaints that the radio wasn't working.
It was inevitably down to them resting and splikking cans of Pepsi etc on the radio control head (the bit with all the buttons and displays etc). And they just weren't worth repairing. This behaviour was soon modified when the Ministry started charging them with the cost of a new control head!
KelvinD is offline  
Old 17th Jan 2016, 04:50
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What coffee in the pic?

I only saw Starbucks...
Jonno_aus is offline  
Old 17th Jan 2016, 06:54
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On Airbus aircraft it has been replaced with a wine glass holder.

Much more civilised!
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Old 17th Jan 2016, 12:33
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Some years ago, I was called to a 757 due to problems tuning the VHF. On removing the controller from the centre pedestal, there was hot tea running out of it, at which point I said ‘’Gentlemen, do you have something to tell me?’’. The end result was the replacement of three control boxes due to contamination.

From my experience, fortunately it does not happen very often.
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Old 17th Jan 2016, 14:14
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IIRC some years ago an Air Europe 737 had to divert after a beverage spill on the centre pedestal knocked out all radio comms.

The training centres where I worked all forbade drinks to be taken into the sims to prevent damage caused by spills.
Simtech is offline  
Old 17th Jan 2016, 20:08
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Few years ago we had an engineer open the FO's cockpit window during a warm summer night.

He forgot about the window, clocked off his shift and a torrential rainstorm swung by the airport
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Old 18th Jan 2016, 09:42
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You should see how quickly the lights go out on a ATC control panel when tea is spilt in it !
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Old 18th Jan 2016, 10:02
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Check out the 1964 film Fate Is the Hunter for Hollywood's take on the beverage spill problem! Also dig that rear engined jet conversion of a DC-6.
Alan Baker is offline  
Old 18th Jan 2016, 10:27
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Our company requires that all beverages brought into the cockpit must be covered.

Nevertheless, we would still have spillage events which would short out the VHF comm head, transponder control head, radar control head, audio selector panel, center ACARS, or printer, all of which were on the center pedestal.

Once, we had a guy drop an unopened can of soda which broke open and discharged its contents all over the overhead panel like a runaway fire extinguisher. Luckily, we were still at the gate when that happened.

Fluid spillage, of any type, in the cockpit is not something that should be casually dismissed.
wanabee777 is offline  
Old 18th Jan 2016, 10:59
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During IR training I was flying somewhere at around FL70 or something like that, in the middle of cloud, but nice and smooth and calm.
Was getting a bit thirsty so unscrewed the cap of my water bottle and went to take a swig.
Of course that's the point the cloud decided to get bumpy. Drop my water bottle on my lap and proceed to lose the entire 500ml contents of cold water right into my crotch. Wasn't impressed. Instructor found it hilarious.

After that you tend to be somewhat careful with drinks when flying.
LlamaFarmer is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2016, 11:42
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as an apprentice in the late 80's working in the radio workshop for B-Cal, I had the lovely job of cleaning a yogurt out of the radio panel from a 1-11 that some clever captain had spilt everywhere.
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Old 22nd Jan 2016, 19:52
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I always find it depressing when someone feels it necessary to take a photo of their beverage and post it online together with a lame sentence of supposed solidarity with their fellow, equally self-important colleagues.

How are we meant to react?

His reply to the possible risk of damage speaks volumes.
InSeat19c is offline  
Old 13th Sep 2019, 00:13
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Cockpit coffee spillage forces Mexico-bound flight to turn back and land in Ireland caused communication problems and a burning smell with smoke. Yikes!
carmel is offline  
Old 14th Sep 2019, 07:58
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Originally Posted by carmel View Post
Cockpit coffee spillage forces Mexico-bound flight to turn back and land in Ireland caused communication problems and a burning smell with smoke. Yikes!
AAIB report

"the audio control panel on the co-pilot’s side (ACP2) became hot enough to start melting one of its buttons"
Talkdownman is offline  
Old 14th Sep 2019, 08:29
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I have noticed on many airlines, the flight attendant will always pass the drinks to the Capt and FO around the back of the seat. Never across the centre console. Makes sense and is very good SOP.
TURIN is offline  
Old 30th Sep 2019, 12:36
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Never across the centre console, always round the back. Covered and be careful.

As to OP, would you rather the pilots dehydrated to death ? We gotta drink something so there’s always a risk. Maybe they’ll give us camelbacks sewn into pilot shirts
Meester proach is offline  
Old 1st Oct 2019, 21:55
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I know of one airline that has issued all their pilots with their own individual cups with sealable lids to prevent spills causing damage to avionics which had been costing them a lot of money. One individual dropped a full cup of Coffee between his seat and control column. The only thing damaged was his pride as he had to get down on his hand and needs and use a lot of paper towels to dry the floor.��

It's amazing what trouble liquids can cause on an aircraft. DHL disconnected the foot heaters on their B757's some years ago after snow melting off a pilots shoes caused a short circuit and associated smoke.
Council Van is offline  

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