In The News

The media reported today that an airliner diverted to Dulles DIA airport due to a “Cockpit Fire”.  People are asking if this was serious.

Few things are as serious as a cockpit fire. Imagine you are in a space the size of a small dumpster with a bunch of equipment,  a valued coworker, and enough electrical circuits to operate several average homes in there with you.  Add some nice big windows and you have a fair idea of  an airliner cockpit. This is definitely not a place for a fire or heavy smoke.

The sequence of events usually goes a little like this …. What’s that smell?  I dunno. Izzat…..smoke? ….Shit!   Mask and goggles …… I’m ok it’s just a litle smoke ….. Uh… OK …. long pause   Shit! it’s a fire.     Variations on the theme sometimes follow the prescribed checklist very closely, sometimes not.

A good general policy to follow when in any vehicle or building is that if it smells like smoke it probably is a fire. I once had Flight Attendants call up front and tell me there was a fire in the cabin. When I asked where the fire was they told me they weren’t sure, it was really just smoke. When asked what color the smoke was they couldn’t really say and changed the report to a smell. We turned off power to the galleys and other non essential equipment and the smell went away before we could land.

A careful read of the news today indicated that a passenger had only seen pictures from another passenger of the fire. Maybe there was only some overheated equipment, maybe this was an impending disaster. It is too early to say, but if ALL potential smoke / fire events were handled this well the industry would be safer.  Sounds to me like a job well done.

Happy Landings

Half Way Home

Half Way Home

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