Incident British Aerospace BAe-146-300QT VH-NJF, Thursday 10 July 1997
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Date:Thursday 10 July 1997
Type:Silhouette image of generic B463 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
British Aerospace BAe-146-300QT
Owner/operator:Australian Air Express
Registration: VH-NJF
MSN: E3198
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:Epping, Locator -   Australia
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW (SYD)
Destination airport:Melbourne, VIC
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
While on descent into Melbourne, the crew of a BAe 146 freighter reported that they began to smell oil
fumes. The descent was being conducted at an engine power setting of between 60% and 70% N2, with all four engines supplying bleed air. Both environment control system (air conditioning) packs were selected ON. The crew, who were the only occupants of the aircraft, consisted of the pilot in command, the co-pilot, and a supernumerary pilot. The pilot in command was the handling pilot for the sector.

The pilot in command advised that, following the onset of the fumes, he had experienced difficulty in concentrating on the operation of the aircraft, and had suffered from a loss of situational awareness. By the time the aircraft had reached an altitude of approximately 2,000 ft, his control inputs had become jerky and he began suffering vertigo. He relinquished control of the aircraft to the co-pilot, who continued with the approach and landing. The supernumerary pilot advised that he had felt nauseous.

The pilot in command advised that because no smoke or mist was present within the cockpit, he did not consider it necessary to follow the smoke-removal checklist. He also advised that the crew did not consider the use of crew oxygen masks was necessary in the situation.

Some 6 hours after the incident, and for the next 10 days, the pilot in command suffered from severe headaches characterised by the feeling of a strong pressure on the top of the head. This diminished over time; however, he did report having balance problems while attempting to rise in a darkened room at night, and also reported that he had experienced increased headaches and vertigo while travelling. The supernumerary pilot reported reduced but similar symptoms. The co-pilot did not report having been affected by the fumes.


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