Aviation safety investigations & reports

Smoke event, 80 km west-north-west of Ravensthorpe, WA, 29 August 2006, VH-NJE, BAE SYSTEMS BAe 146-100

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At 1745 Western Standard Time on 29 August 2006, a BAE SYSTEMS BAe 146-100 (BAe146) aircraft, registered VH-NJE, departed Ravensthorpe Aerodrome, WA for Perth.

The flight crew recalled noticing a smell on the flight deck as the aircraft climbed through about FL130, but commented that it was different from the oil-like smell historically associated with the operation of the BAe 146, and to the normal smells associated with the operation of the aircraft's galley. The pilot in command recalled that, shortly after, there were a number of 'popping noises' accompanied by a series of bright yellow flashes and some glowing behind the escape rope panel on the copilot's side of the flight deck.

Shortly after, the smoke and related symptoms dissipated and the flight crew donned their emergency oxygen equipment and returned to the departure aerodrome. The crew stated that the aircraft's emergency oxygen equipment adversely affected their communication during the remainder of the flight.

The investigation determined that the aircraft's 'A' windscreen electrostatic filter had failed. That failure was consistent with an electrical arcing event.

In response to this and a number of other similar failures in the UK and in Europe, the aircraft manufacturer undertook a number of safety actions, including issuing a Service Information Letter advising operators to check the correct positioning of the insulation blankets in the vicinity of their aircraft electrostatic filters at the next available opportunity. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has issued two safety recommendations that seek to reduce the likelihood of electrical arcing events in 'A' windscreen filters in BAe 146 aircraft.

Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 460KB]
General details
Date: 29 August 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1757 WST    
Location: 43 NM NW Ravensthorpe    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Windows  
Release date: 06 February 2008   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft model 146-100  
Aircraft registration VH-NJE  
Serial number E1104  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Ravensthorpe, WA  
Destination Perth, WA  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command ATPL 4500 8500
Last update 18 April 2018