Event Details

Title:Oily fumes on approach producing sickness, BAe 146-200, G-JEAK
Micro summary:The crew of this BAe 146-200 felt sick after detecting oily fumes on approach.
Event Time:2000-11-05 at 1410 UTC
File Name:2000-11-05-UK.pdf
Publishing Agency:Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB)
Publishing Country:United Kingdom
Report number:(EW/C2000/11/4)
Site of event:During descent into Birmingham Airport
Departure:Charles De Gaulle International Airport (Roissy Airport), Paris, France
Destination:Birmingham International Airport, West Midlands, England
Airplane Type(s):BAe 146-200
Flight Phase:Approach
Operator(s):British European Airways
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:The incident occurred whilst on approach to Birmingham Airport. Following reports of unusual "oily petrol" smells in the cabin, the first officer, after visiting the cabin started to feel nauseous. The first officer's condition began to decline to an extent that he had difficulty in concentrating. The commander took over the handling duties and the first officer went onto 100% oxygen, and took no further part in the flight. The commander also felt "light headed" and had difficulty in judging height during the ensuing approach and landing. Following a successful landing, the commander was able to taxi the aircraft and began to feel better. The first officer and commander were taken to hospital and examined, but no abnormalities were found.

An engineering investigation revealed the presence of an oil leak from the auxiliary power unit (APU) generator cooling fan seal, which allowed engine turbine oil to enter the APU air inlet plenum chamber and, subsequently, fumes to enter the cabin via the Environmental Control System (ECS). During the investigation, further incidents involving other aircraft types were reported. Therefore, the scope of the investigation was widened to include these other incidents.

The following causal factors were concluded during the investigation:

1. There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that the flight crew on G-JEAK were affected by contamination of the air supply, as a result of oil leakage from the APU generator cooling fan seal into the APU air stream, and into the ECS system ducting. This contamination allowed fumes to develop, a proportion of which entered the cabin and cockpit air supply.

2. Subsequent research and tests suggests that the crew of G-JEAK, and the crew of other aircraft which have suffered similar incidents, may have been exposed to turbine engine oil derived fumes in the cabin/cockpit air supply, originating from either an engine or APU, which had an irritant, rather than a toxic effect.

Five safety recommendations were made during the course of this investigation.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Cabin or Cockpit Smoke
Operations - Maintenance
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