Smoking on planes

Nov 1st, 2007, 10:37 AM
  #1  
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Smoking on planes

just kidding but it sure looked like it today....


Flt. 1502 7:10am ORD-TPA, dep ORD on time returned to ORD about 20 minutes later. The cabin started to fill up with odorless smoke as soon as we took off. I fell asleep as soon as I sat down so I didn't even know anything until I heard the "flight attandents, please prepare for landing" announcement. I though I had a good 2+ hours of sleep and I was home, until I realized we're going right back to ORD.

Met by fire and ambulance crews right at the runway but after the fire crews drove around the plane and visual inspection, they allowed the plane to pull up to the gate. Few firemen came on board as soon as the door was opened and used some kind of smoke detector to pinpoint were it was coming from but could not find it. After about 10-15 minutes the decision was made to pull the plane from service and put us on another plane that was coming in from ATL at ~8:30am.

I have to give the ground crew credit. We actually started to board our new plane just past 9am and took off about 30 minutes later.

2 passengers decided to fly another day. My seat mate was also very nervous but at the end he decided to join us.

No problems with the second plane and I made it home about 2 hours later than scheduled.

Still wondering where the smoke was coming from?
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 02:30 PM
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Odorless smoke? Weird.
Carrybean is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 03:22 PM
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That's probably the main reason I was not too concerned, but to me it was odorless. OTOH, the pilots were "rushing" the landing with hard turns, quick drop, etc, and had the ORD Fire Dept wait for us on the runway.

I also posted this on FT and there are couple of interesting replies, theories plus one "insider" promising to report more tomorrow after he reads the report.
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Nov 1st, 2007, 04:20 PM
  #4  
P_M
 
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AAFF, I've been in a similar situation but the smoke was quite thick and definitely not odorless. As you may know from some of my other threads, the left engine caught fire on take-off so we made a very speedy landing with no fuel dump. By the time we landed (only 13 minutes after take-off) the engine cone was fully engulfed in flames to we had to evacuate using the slides. It was a scary thing to experience, but like you I was very impressed with the handling of the situation, especially by British Airways.

If you want to follow the situation on your own, please see www.ntsb.gov. In my case it was 2.5 years before the final report came out, but it made for some interesting reading.
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Nov 1st, 2007, 04:26 PM
  #5  
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AAFF, here's a more direct link to the accident database.

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/query.asp
P_M is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 05:19 PM
  #6  
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P_M,

in order to do the query we need more info, date, flight #, etc...
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 01:49 AM
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Follows my theory that if something is scaring me on a plane, I try not to get concerned unless airline personnel start to act concerned. In your case, I would have been looking for the parachutes. Still, I would not have been nervous with a new plane - it is when they spend 2 hours "fixing" a plane and then use it that gets me worried - like the time United spent an hour measuring the "little ding" on a wing to decide if it was safe to fly with it.

Curious - in all your zillion travel miles, have you had other similar emergencies?
gail is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 03:47 AM
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Hard turns and quick drops don't necessarily mean that the pilots were rushing. Commercial airliners are normally flown with a velvet glove and are limited to only the gentlest movements, in order to avoid making passengers uncomfortable or spooking them. However, the aircraft are capable of much more rapid movements, which they can execute with total safety. The pilots probably didn't want to waste time getting onto the ground, so they skipped the gentle automated turns and descents that are normally flown by computer aboard the aircraft, and flew the aircraft to a landing by hand.

Fortunately, where there's smoke, there's not always fire. Odorless smoke is usually something evaporating and entering the cabin that shouldn't be there, rather than a fire. A part of the cabin air comes from the engine compressors in most aircraft, so if anything leaks inside the system (oil, hydraulic fluid, etc.), "smoke" might appear in the cabin.

In the case of engine fires, they don't always do any damage to engines, but it's routine to return to the airport if it is practical to do so if a fire occurs, just to be on the safe side. Hitting a bird can produce a dramatic spout of flame from the rear of the engine, along with vibration and terrible noises, but it doesn't necessarily damage the engine—still, the pilots will usually shut down the engine and land if it is practical to do so.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 04:06 AM
  #9  
P_M
 
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AAFF, I meant if you want to follow the case of your own flight you may use this database in order to do so.
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Nov 2nd, 2007, 05:04 AM
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In my experience, it takes some days and even weeks before these minor incidents are entered into the database, though an incident at a prominent airport like ORD is likely to get in a lot faster than something similar at HYA.
Ackislander is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 06:05 AM
  #11  
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gail,

No emergency landings due to any mechanical problems. This was the first one.

I did experience heavy turbulance many times and also had flights which were diverted because of passenger medical emergency, couple of aborted takeoffs/landings at the last second, etc. but nothing like this one.

AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 10:38 AM
  #12  
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P_M,

quick way to look up aviation accidents:

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/month.asp


Unfortunately they don't have NOV2007 data yet.....
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Nov 3rd, 2007, 12:59 PM
  #13  
P_M
 
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AAFF, of course it's not there just yet because the month is young (and so are we ) but it will be there soon.
P_M is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 01:07 PM
  #14  
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I meant any NOV2007 data yet....
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