Serious incident Avro RJ100 HB-IYR, Monday 24 October 2016
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Date:Monday 24 October 2016
Time:19:28 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic RJ1H model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Avro RJ100
Registration: HB-IYR
MSN: E3382
Year of manufacture:2001
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 70
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Category:Serious incident
Location:8 NM south Zurich Airport -   Switzerland
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Birmingham Airport (EGBB)
Destination airport:Zurich Airport (LSZH)
Investigating agency: STSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
An Avro RJ100, registered HB-IYR, operated a round trip from Zurich, Switzerland, to Birmingham, U.K.
In Birmingham, at 17:40 UTC, the scheduled pushback of the aircraft for the return flight LX425 to Zurich took place with the auxiliary power unit (APU) running. Two pilots, two cabin crew members and 66 passengers were on board. After the start-up of the four engines, the flight crew activated the APU’s bleed air and the two air conditioning packs (PACKs) in order to ventilate the cabin.
Whilst taxiing to the take-off runway, the cabin crew manager entered the cockpit to inform the flight crew that the cabin was ready for take-off. In the course of this, he and the flight crew noticed a distinct oil fume smell in the cockpit. The flight crew subsequently checked whether a change from APU bleed air to ENG bleed air would clear the fume smell.
As this was the case, they decided to deactivate the APU and take off without cabin ventilation. At 17:48 UTC, the aircraft took off in Birmingham. At an altitude of 1,500 ft above ground, the engine power was reduced from take-off to climb and the ENG bleed air and both air conditioning packs were activated. As expected by the flight crew, the build-up of a smell failed to occur, meaning the climb and cruise flight could proceed without incident.
The descent towards Zurich took place with the anti-ice activated. At an approximate altitude of Flight Level (FL) 80, the anti-ice was switched off. About one minute later, the flight crew once again detected a distinct oil fume smell and subsequently put on their oxygen masks. At 19:29:06 UTC, they sent an urgency message (Pan, pan), informed air traffic control about the use of oxygen masks and requested approach priority.
The approach to runway 28 took place using radar vectoring and the flight crew made no further adjustments to the aircraft’s pneumatic system. Nothing out of the ordinary could be detected in the cabin, meaning that from the perspective of the passengers and the cabin crew, the approach proceeded as normal. The aircraft landed on runway 28 at 19:36 UTC. Immediately after reaching the parking position and opening the doors of the aircraft, a cockpit air sample was taken and analysed by the fire service. After the passengers had left the aircraft in the normal way, the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood of the crew members were also measured on location. The results of all of the tests were normal.

Analysis and conclusions
The use of oxygen masks by the flight crew was safety-conscious. The sending of an urgency message requesting priority landing was appropriate for the situation.
The cause for the development of the smell in the cockpit could not be ascertained with certainty. During two inspections using an aerotracer, however, evidence emerged that the development of the smell could have been caused by the bleed air from engine 2. Changing this engine was therefore logical and justified. Subsequently, no other comparable cases occurred with this aircraft.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: STSB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 3 months
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

26-Jan-2018 17:02 harro Added

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