Incident: Qantas A332 enroute on Mar 23rd 2011, fire in cockpit
|By Simon Hradecky, created Monday, Sep 12th 2011 12:53Z, last updated Monday, Sep 12th 2011 12:53Z |
The ATSB have released their Bulletin reporting that the crew noticed a smell in the cockpit and cabin when the aircraft was enroute at FL390 about 365nm northwest of Cairns. The crew actioned the checklists for smoke/fumes/avionics in an attempt to minimise the smell, cabin crew confirmed the smell had reduced.
Following the smell and some arcing from the left hand windshield hearter a small flames became visible from the bottom left corner of the captain's windshield. The flight crew donned their oxygen masks and discharged the cockpit's BCF fire extinguisher successfully putting the flame out. An ECAM message "A.ICE L WSHLD HEAT" followed prompting the crew to action the relevant checklist prompting the crew to press the reset button for the window heat computer. About 20 minutes later another ECAM message "L WINDOW HEAT" occurred, although the crew actioned the relevant checklist 4 more events of arcing and flames from the bottom left corner of the captain's windshield occurred over the next 6 minutes, all of which were extinguished by the crew.
The operator's maintenance advised the probe window heat should be de-selected although this was no guarantee the heating would be de-powered. The crew therefore decided to divert to Cairns reporting technical issues and extinguished fires on board. The aircraft landed safely in Cairn about 50 minutes after the first smell.
The operator had already assigned the windshield for replacement according to an Airbus Service Bulletin, that required replacement as soon as spares become available. Following the event the windshield and the number one window heat computer were replaced.
The ATSB annotated that the windshield replacement program, released following five windshield heat connector overheat events, was well ahead of permitted time, completion within the operator's fleet to be completed by September 2011 with the SB requiring replacement until March 2012.