Event Details

Title:Loss of System B hydraulics, Boeing 737-448, EI-BXB
Micro summary:This Boeing 737-448 experienced a partial loss of System B hydraulics, landed normally, and then evacuated when smoke was seen coming from the aft fuselage.
Event Time:1998-08-28 at 1225 UTC
File Name:1998-08-28-UK.pdf
Publishing Agency:Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB)
Publishing Country:United Kingdom
Report number:EW/G98/08/42
Site of event:Approach, Runway 27L
Departure:Cork International Airport, Cork, Ireland
Destination:London Heathrow Airport, London, England
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 737-448
Flight Phase:Cruise
Operator(s):Aer Lingus
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:2
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:The flight had proceeded uneventfully from Cork to London Heathrow when, approaching the Ockham VOR, the Hydraulic and Master Caution lights flickered and extinguished. They then flickered again and the first officer informed the commander that the System B quantity was indicating 39%. The crew, despite having already acknowledged an outbound heading from Ockham towards the approach requested from ATC permission to take up a hold in order to assess the situation. Whilst the flight was holding, ATC were informed that the problem was associated with one hydraulic system. The appropriate checklist was completed. Flap 5 was selected and speed reduced to 180 kt. The crew had decided that the procedure was an abnormal one, as opposed to an emergency situation and therefore neither a 'Pan' nor 'Mayday' was declared. The Senior Cabin Crew Member (SCCM) was called to the flight deck and briefed that the landing would be normal, but at a slightly faster speed, and that the emergency services would be in attendance.

Having briefed the SCCM the commander made a Public Address (PA) to the passengers informing them that part of the hydraulic system had failed and, as a consequence, the landing would be at a faster speed than normal. Furthermore, after landing, the aircraft would be attended by emergency vehicles. The crew informed ATC that they were ready for the approach and, in response to an ATC inquiry as to the range at which they wished to join the final approach, the crew requested 10 miles. Two aircraft were vectored to Runway 27L ahead of the flight and none behind it, in anticipation of the possibility of a blocked runway.

The crew were advised of a discrete frequency of 121.6 MHz for direct communication with the Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (RFSS). Following an auto coupled approach an uneventful landing was completed and 80% N1 reverse thrust used with manual braking to bring the aircraft to a stop slightly beyond the normal turn-off point. With the aircraft at a stop the commander made a PA for passengers to 'remain in your seats, remain in your seats' (indicating to the cabin crew that an evacuation was not necessary). The first officer requested a thorough check of the landing gear and aircraft by the RFSS. The commander decided to shut down both engines and secure the aircraft as Fire Service personnel approached from many directions to carry out the inspection.

The crew were then informed by the RFSS of some smoke coming from the left side of the aircraft. The commander requested the first officer to confirm 'smoke' coming from the aircraft and the Fire Chief confirmed smoke coming from right side also. Based on this information the commander made the decision to evacuate the aircraft and informed the first officer of this decision. At the same time the SCCM came into the flight deck and, hearing the word evacuate, asked the commander if he wanted the aircraft evacuated. The commander said that he did and returned to completing the checklist, while the SCCM returned to the cabin and made the following PA 'cabin crew evacuate the aircraft'. (CCMs in the aft cabin area could smell and see smoke before the senior made the PA announcement). The commander did not initiate the 'Evac Alert' system as, by the time he came to it as a checklist item, the evacuation was well under way. In their operator's report the flight deck crew were highly complimentary of ATC, having found them exceptionally understanding and considerate of their situation in a high density traffic environment.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Evacuation
Systems - Hydraulics
Close match:Smoke emergency involving a Boeing 737-488, EI-BXI, on June 3, 1999 at Dublin Airport
Hydraulic failure and smoke emergency, BAe 146-300, G-UKHP
Uncontained engine failure, Smoke in cabin following RTO, Lockheed Tristar, C-FTNG
Wheels-up Landing, Continental Airlines Flight 1943, Douglas DC-9, N10556, Houston, Texas February 19, 1996
Collision with approach lighting, Pan American World Airways, Inc., Boeing 747, N747PA, Flight 845, San Francisco, California, July 30, 1971
Runway excursion, hydraulic failure, Boeing 737-200RS, Salt Lake City, September 24, 1997
Runway excursion, Boeing 737-223, Atlanta, November 1, 1998
Nose gear-up landing, Boeing 707-323C, February 22, 1996
Emergency evacuation due to fumes, McDonnell Douglas MD-80 ,December 19, 1997


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