One unnamed US air carrier experienced five in-flight emergencies and diversions to the nearest airport over the course of one day in April, reports the US FAA in a new safety bulletin that focuses on smoke and fumes on aircraft.
The information for operators (Info), released on 6 October by the FAA's Flight Standards Service, reveals that the agency continues to receive reports about smoke or fumes in the cabin or cockpit on a daily basis, totalling more than 900 reports per year.
One carrier, not named by the FAA, experienced five cockpit smoke events in a single day, all requiring crews to declare emergencies and divert to the nearest airport.
"In many cases the failed system, circuit, component, part, or appliance, etc may overheat and smoke will find its way in to either the cockpit or cabin via the environmental system," says the FAA in the note. "The air carriers and operators that have experienced these problems are required to submit a report to the FAA for smoke/fumes in the aircraft."
The FAA is recommending that carriers, after each smoke incident, "ensure" that the company follows policies, procedures and instructions in accordance with its manuals, including "special emphasis" and separate tracking of each incident during continuing analysis and surveillance system (CASS) meetings.
"Unfortunately, with all the safeguards built into modern aircraft and the operational requirements placed on the air carriers to maintain the aircraft in accordance with the instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA), and the operator's continuous airworthiness maintenance programs (CAMP), smoke/fumes in cabin/cockpits is still a serious problem," says the FAA.