Runway De-icer Causes Smoke

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The Air Accident Investigation Unit Ireland (AAIU) has released its investigation report regarding the December 2010 incident involving a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 at Kerry Airport, Ireland.  Runway de-icer was blamed for smoke inside the aircraft’s cabin and cockpit.

After a normal landing, reverse thrust was selected, but as the aircraft decelerated the onboard safety pilot reported smoke on the right-hand side of the cockpit.  The aircraft was turned off the runway and brought to a halt on the taxiway adjacent to the ramp.  Shortly afterwards, the cabin services supervisor also reported smoke in the cabin.  The engines were shut down and an evacuation was immediately commenced, following which the passengers walked to the airport terminal building.

The report stated that granular urea had been spread on the runway as an anti-icing measure but it had not dissolved, and so significant amounts remained in granular form on the centre of the runway.  After landing, the engines spooled up due to reverse thrust being selected, and it is probable that the urea on the runway was then ingested into the engines and rapidly heated to a high temperature by engine compression, before being dispensed by the air conditioning system throughout the flight deck and cabin.  This would have resulted in the acrid smoke observed in both the cockpit and cabin.

This entry was posted in Airline Focus, Airports, Ground Handling, News.

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