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Despite issuing an emergency Mayday, due to smoke in the cockpit the flight from Birmimgham to Cork landed safely. File Picture: Denis Scannell
DENIS SCANNELL
Despite issuing an emergency Mayday, due to smoke in the cockpit the flight from Birmimgham to Cork landed safely. File Picture: Denis Scannell
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Pilot on a flight to Cork declared Mayday due to smoke in the cockpit

A FLIGHT en route to Cork Airport had to make a Mayday call just minutes before it was due to land, because of smoke in the cockpit.

The incident on August 24, 2016 occurred on a scheduled flight from Birmingham to Cork.

The plane was an ATR 72, twin-engine turboprop short-haul regional airliner. On this flight, it had 59 passengers and four crew on board.

An investigation was carried out into the incident by the Air Accident Investigation Unit. The final report was published today.

The crew were alerted by a smoke warning before smoke could be seen and a smoky smell was also noted in the cockpit

The crew conducted an electrical smoke checklist and also put on oxygen masks before declaring a Mayday to Cork Airport.

As generators had been switched off in accordance with the Electrical Smoke checklist, neither main hydraulic pump was powered. 

This resulted in the requirement to perform a manual landing gear extension. The pilot briefed the air traffic controllers on this, and she informed them that an extended final approach would be required.

The smell and appearance of smoke quickly disappeared and the flight was able to land safely and taxi to the airport where passengers disembarked normally. None of the passengers or crew were injured in the incident.

The report noted that the flight was “uneventful” until just before the descent into Cork Airport.

It outlined that the cause of the smoke was an electrical fault in a static inverter in the plane, which was manufactured by Avions de Transport Regional.

The report recommended: “Given the incidence of occurrences similar to the subject event and the associated high workload (for the crew), the investigation is of the opinion that additional specific guidance material should be made available to flight crew for events involving electrical smoke due to static inverter failure.” 

The report added: “The aircraft manufacturer has commenced a programme for replacement of the subject static inverters on the world fleet of ATR 42/72 aircraft. Currently, this program is not mandatory.”