Cockpit fire forces Qantas diversion

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 24, 2011
A file image of VH-EBL. (Seth Jaworski)

A Qantas Airbus A330 flying from Manila to Sydney was forced to make an emergency landing in Cairns yesterday afternoon after suffering a cockpit fire.

A330-200 VH-EBL was approximately 365nm northwest of Cairns when a windscreen window heating circuit began arcing. The crew donned oxygen masks and extinguished the resultant flames from the left hand windshield heater system with a fire extinguisher, and elected to divert to Cairns, where the aircraft landed safely.

None of the 147 passengers or 11 crew onboard were injured.

Advertisement
Advertisement

”There was a burning smell in the cabin that was very strong, and then the captain came over the loudspeaker and explained an electrical problem meant there was a serious risk of fire,” a passenger on the flight told Fairfax Media. “Later he explained flames had come back for a second time and they’d had to use a fire extinguisher in the cockpit.”

The incident, now being investigated by the ATSB, appears similar to a June 2009 incident in which a Jetstar A330-200, VH-EBF, diverted to Guam on a flight from Osaka to the Gold Coast after the crew noticed a burning smell was followed by smoke and fire from the bottom right corner of the right windshield. The investigation into the Guam incident is still continuing.

A330 cockpit windows feature a thin layer of electrically conducive material, which receives power from one of two window heat computers, to prevent windscreen fogging and icing.

Did you know that Australian Aviation Magazine comes digitally? Subscribe to Australian Aviation’s digital magazine for just $59.95 a year! Our app is available on mobile, tablet and PC devices! Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year