Pilot’s Coffee Spill Forced Trans-Atlantic Flight to Turn Around, an Inquiry Shows

It was a scorching mess — a lot in order that when the pilot of an worldwide flight spilled a cup of espresso on the cockpit controls halfway over the Atlantic Ocean, it melted one of many buttons and the airplane was diverted to Ireland, an investigation concluded on Thursday.

The Condor airways flight had been carrying 337 individuals, together with 11 crew members, from Frankfurt to Cancún, Mexico, when the episode occurred aboard the Airbus A330, in accordance to the United Kingdom’s aviation authority.

The espresso was on a tray desk within the cockpit when the pilot by chance knocked it over, spilling most of it onto his lap and a few of it onto the communications tools, investigators stated.

No one was injured within the Feb. 6 episode, throughout which the pilot’s and co-pilot’s audio management panels have been each disabled by the spill and there was a small quantity of smoke within the cockpit, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch stated. The failure of the 2 audio management panels brought about “significant communication difficulty” for the flight crew, investigators stated.

“During the diversion, the flight crew alternately used supplementary oxygen, with one pilot on oxygen at all times,” the aviation authority stated.

Condor, a German leisure airline owned by the Thomas Cook Group, stated that security is paramount.

“As safety is always our top priority, we have comprehensively investigated this incident and reviewed the procedures of liquids in the cockpit,” stated Magdalena Hauser, a Condor spokeswoman. “Our crews were reminded of a careful handling as well as to use appropriate containers for their water or coffee. We apologize for any inconveniences the diversion might have caused to our guests.”

The flight circled south of Greenland and landed safely in Shannon, Ireland, in accordance to the investigation.

Now, pilots, who’re accustomed to aviation rules for sleep, impairment and expertise with completely different plane fashions, have a few different issues to add to their guidelines: cup lids and drink holders.

“The aircraft manufacturer recommends using the cup holder,” the aviation authority stated. “The size of cups used by this operator on this route made it more difficult to take cups in and out of the cup holder than larger cups that have a bigger area at the top of the cup holder to grasp. This incompatibility generally discouraged use of the cup holder, despite the policy.”

Investigators went on to say, “A lid correctly secured on the highest of the cup might have lowered the quantity of liquid spilled on the heart console.”

The airline now offers lids to crew members for drinks and reminds them that they’re required to use them, the report stated.

Source link Nytimes.com

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