Event Details

Title:Depressurizaton En Route, Airbus A320 (EI-CPD), en route near Cardiff, UK, January 26, 2004
Micro summary:This Airbus A320 experienced a depressurization incident.
Event Time:2004-01-26 at 1052 UTC
File Name:2004-01-26-IE.pdf
Publishing Agency:Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU)
Publishing Country:Ireland
Report number:2005/020
Diversion Airport:Cardiff International Airport, Cardiff, Wales
Site of event:En route, London to Dublin
Departure:London Heathrow Airport, London, England, United Kingdom
Airplane Type(s):Airbus A321-200
Flight Phase:Climb
Operator(s):Aer Lingus
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Diverted to:Cardiff International Airport, Cardiff, Wales
Executive Summary:The aircraft took off from London Heathrow airport at 10.36 hrs. Twelve minutes later, whilst passing Flight Level 266 (FL 266), the Captain noticed the Cabin Altitude reading pulsing bright green indicating “9,500 ft”. He contacted ATC and made a request to level off. However, the Cabin Altitude continued to climb indicating “10,000 ft.” in red. The Captain donned his oxygen mask and requested a descent to FL 200. The ECAM system then warned of “Cabin Pressure Excess Altitude”. Rapid depressurisation continued and the crew carried out the relevant recall/memory actions in accordance with the Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) and the Flight Crew Operations Manual (FCOM).

The First Officer (FO) donned his oxygen mask as the Captain requested a descent to FL100. There were further actions taken in response to ECAM warnings and the FO put out an emergency PAN call and received descent clearance.

The aircraft descended at 320-330 kt at engine idle thrust. Once the Captain satisfied himself that there was no structural damage to the aircraft he applied the speed brakes. This produced a rate of descent of about 5000 ft/min.

The Captain reported that the incident occurred North of Cardiff and the weather there was good. Vectors to Cardiff were offered by London ATC, which the Captain accepted. Subsequently the Captain changed to Cardiff Radar and levelled the aircraft at FL100. Oxygen masks were removed, the ECAM cleared, an assessment of the situation was made and the Captain continued with the diversion. The Captain then briefed the Cabin Crew Members (CCMs) and passengers. The passenger masks had not deployed, as cabin altitude had not reached a level where passenger oxygen masks would automatically deploy (14,000 ft approximately). The FO set up the Multipurpose Control and Display Unit (MCDU) for the landing phase. All checks were completed and the remainder of the flight was uneventful. The Captain said that he was familiar with Cardiff Airport.

1. The clamp on the condenser in the left hand air conditioning bay fractured, causing the associated bellows unit to rupture

2. The rupture set up an oscillation in the airflow through the Pack Outlet Check Valve, which caused the valve flap to impinge on the valve stops. Foreign inclusions in the flap casting were a contributing factor in its subsequent fracture and failure.

3. The ground inspection failed to find the ruptured bellows during the initial trouble shooting at London LHR (in accordance with aircraft manufacturer’s TSM Task 21-50-00-810-801)
Learning Keywords:Systems - Pressurization
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Pressurization emergency, Final Report No. 1820 by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau concerning the serious incident to the aircraft Airbus A 321-111, HB-IOA, operated by Swissair under flight number SWR 809 on 21 February 2000 during the flight
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Collision with localizer on takeoff, United Airlines Flight 663, Boeing 727-222, N7647U, Denver, Colorado, May 31, 1984
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Damage caused to airplane by light cover, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51, December 27, 2000
Cabin depressurization, Westjet Airlines, Ltd., Boeing 737-200, C-FGWJ, Kelowna, British Columbia, 120 nm, NE 12 June 2000


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