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Shortly after take off from Gawler SA, the crew of the Cessna 441 Conquest heard a loud air noise. The pilot in command recognised this as the emergency pressurisation system operating. The pressurisation selector switch was checked and found to be in the BOTH position. Selection was made between LEFT and RIGHT, however the air noise continued and there was no activation of the emergency pressurisation warning light. At this point the crew elected not to proceed to Essendon but to divert to Adelaide, where engineering staff were available.

Subsequently, a passenger noticed that the air by his feet was getting hot and advised the crew. Light grey smoke was noticed by the co-pilot in the mid cabin area. The crew conducted the emergency checklist for smoke removal and donned their oxygen masks as a precaution. The storm window was opened to assist with removal of smoke from the aircraft as it was stinging the co-pilot's eyes.

The pilot declared a PAN and, at this point, the aircraft was 2 km abeam Parafield. The crew elected to divert to Parafield, the nearest airfield where emergency services were available. An uneventful landing was carried out and no injuries were reported.

An engineering examination of the aircraft found that the activation of the emergency pressurisation system was initiated by a faulty emergency pressurisation valve. It was also found that, in the process of fitting new side wall trim carpet to the aircraft, the edge of the carpet had not been trimmed around the rear conditioned air duct. This duct supplies air for the emergency pressurisation system and the faulty emergency pressurisation valve allowed hot air to flow unmetered into the cabin. The carpet covering the duct had been exposed to excessive heat, which led to the fumes and smoke in the cabin.

The faulty emergency pressurisation valve was replaced, the carpet trimmed and the aircraft was returned to service.

General details
Date: 06 November 2002 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1548 hours CSuT  
Location   (show map):Parafield, Aero. Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: South Australia Occurrence type: Air/pressurisation 
Release date: 26 August 2003 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 441 
Aircraft registration: VH-VEM 
Serial number: 4410174 
Type of operation: Charter 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Gawler, SA
Departure time:0512 hours CSuT
Destination:Essendon, VIC
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
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Last update 13 May 2014