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Prior to the first flight of the day, the Boeing 737 aircraft cabin was found to contain smoke and fumes. While the crew returned to the crew room, maintenance personnel inspected the aircraft and found that the auxiliary power unit (APU) had malfunctioned. The cabin was cleared of fumes and the aircraft despatched with an unserviceable APU. For a short time after takeoff, some smoke and fumes were observed in the cabin but cleared.

At around 6,000 ft on approach to Sydney, fumes were again detected; most noticeably in the rear of the cabin. A fast approach and normal landing ensued. Cabin staff reported that the smell dissipated when the airconditioning packs were selected to HIGH.

Company maintenance investigation found that the APU malfunction was the result of a cooling fan shaft failure. The failure allowed APU turbine oil to leak from around the shaft seal from where it was sucked into the APU inlet prior to the APU control unit initiating an auto-shutdown. The oil then entered the airconditioning system ducting and later exited into the cabin as fumes and oily smoke during that system's normal operation.

General details
Date: 29 May 2001 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0540 hours EST  
Location   (show map):Cairns, Aero. Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Air/pressurisation 
Release date: 06 February 2002 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: The Boeing Company 
Aircraft model: 737 
Aircraft registration: VH-TJR 
Serial number: 24443 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Cairns, QLD
Destination:Syndey, NSW
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
Co-Pilot/1st OfficerATPL32257340
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Last update 13 May 2014