Coffee spill in aircraft cockpit forced plane to divert to Ireland

13 Septembre, 2019, 04:44 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • The plane was heading for Cancun in Mexico

A spilled cup of coffee in the cockpit of a passenger plane could have had drastic consequences as buttons began to melt and smoke filled the flight deck, forcing the pilot to perform a swift U-turn halfway across the Atlantic.

According to an Air Accidents Investigation Branch report published this month, the coffee was spilled on the cockpit's center console, and while it was cleaned up and dried quickly, the damage to the audio control panels (ACPs) on both the pilot and co-pilot's sides had been done.

The smoke stopped and the fumes did not result in injuries to any of the 11 crew or 326 passengers on board.

It described how most of the coffee fell into the commander's lap, but the small amount that spilt on the audio control panels caused significant disruption to communications.

It also caused smoke and an electrical burning smell inside of the cockpit.

The Airbus A330-243 flying to Cancun, Mexico, from Frankfurt, landed at Shannon in Ireland.

The main pilot put the coffee on his tray table - but the cup was later knocked over.

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The AAIB report adds: "The operator also issued a flight crew notice reminding pilots to be careful with liquids".

The AAIB said the small size of cups used by Condor "generally discouraged" use of the holders as it was hard to grasp them.

The AAIB said the small size of cups used by Condor "generally discouraged" use of the holders.

"After the aircraft was fully inspected and repaired by our team of engineers, the flight continued via Manchester due to the legal operating hours of the crew". Condor said in its statement that the airline "comprehensively investigated" the situation and has since gone over the procedures for liquid in the cockpit.

"Our crews were reminded of (the need for) careful handling as well as to use appropriate containers for their water or coffee".

In the aftermath of the episode the flight operator, Condor, changed their procedure to ensure that cup lids are provided for flights on all routes.

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