Aviation safety investigations & reports

Smoke event; 89km SE Mackay, Qld; 9 December 2005; VH-EEQ

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At approximately 0530 Eastern Standard Time hours on 9 December 2005, a Fairchild Industries Inc SA227-AC Metroliner, registered VH-EEQ was being operated on a scheduled cargo flight from Rockhampton to Mackay, Qld with a crew of two pilots on board. The crew reported that, during the cruise at flight level (FL) 140, an oily smell was detected emanating from the right nozzle cockpit air vent. Shortly after, and at a position 85 NM north-north-west of Rockhampton, the crew noticed smoke in the cockpit.

Although the crew reported completing the relevant checklist actions, the smoke re-entered the cockpit on two more occasions and the crew diverted to land back at Rockhampton. The third instance of smoke being detected in the cockpit followed shortly after the right engine oil temperature 'approached the top of the green arc' and, in the belief that to do so would prevent more smoke from entering the cockpit, the crew shut down the right engine.

A local engineering examination of the aircraft found that the air cycle machine had failed, releasing lubricating oil mist and smoke into the aircraft's airconditioning ducts. In addition, that examination revealed that the indicated increased right engine oil temperature was as a result of an indicating system malfunction.

As a result of this incident, a number of safety actions were carried out, or proposed to be carried out, including:

  • by the operator, to:
    • amend its operations manual to remove non-type specific instructions that conflict with approved flight manual (AFM) procedures
    • advise its pilots of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's (CASA) expectations in regard to the application of the word 'recommended' in AFM Emergency Procedures
    • advise its Training Captains to include CASA's expectations for the application of the word 'recommended' in AFM Emergency Procedures in all endorsement training
    • by CASA, which published its interpretation of the term 'recommended' in relation to the required conduct by pilots of aircraft manufacturer's emergency checklist procedures.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 307KB]
General details
Date: 09 December 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 05:30 EST    
Location   (show map): 89km SE Mackay, VOR    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Smoke  
Release date: 22 May 2007   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Industries Inc  
Aircraft model SA227  
Aircraft registration VH-EEQ  
Serial number AC-612  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Rockhampton, QLD  
Departure time 19:03  
Destination Mackay, QLD  
Last update 16 February 2016