On 26 February 2007, while in cruise at flight level (FL) 190 on a scheduled passenger flight from Inverell, to Sydney, NSW, with two pilots and six passengers, the crew of a Fairchild Industries SA227-DC (Metro) aircraft, registered VH-HPB, reported that the cabin altitude increased rapidly. The crew immediately donned their emergency oxygen masks and descended the aircraft to 10,000 ft. The flight continued to Sydney and landed safely. There were no injuries.
This was the second reported in-flight depressurisation on VH-HPB. The aircraft operator reported a prior event on 12 February 2007.
Following the 26 February 2007 event, the aircraft operator conducted extensive troubleshooting of the aircraft's pressurisation system and door seals in an attempt to isolate the reason for the depressurisation. Following maintenance actions, the aircraft was returned to service.
The operator reported that the aircraft again depressurised in-flight on two more occasions on 20 March and 4 April 2007. Despite further troubleshooting and maintenance actions, the operator was unable to ascertain the reason for the depressurisations. As a result, following the 4 April event, the operator issued a Pilot Operations Notice to all flight crew restricting the operating altitude of the aircraft to a maximum of 12,000 ft. Subsequent to this action, the aircraft depressurised again in-flight on 16 August 2007.
On 16 October 2007, as a result of fleet changes, the aircraft operator ceased operating VH-HPB. The aircraft subsequently completed a Phase check, including a thorough inspection of all pressurisation components and systems. The aircraft was subject to several pressurisation ground runs, however no anomalies with the pressurisation system were found.
|Date:||26 February 2007||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Location:||East of Tamworth,|
|State:||New South Wales||Occurrence type:||Air/pressurisation|
|Release date:||03 March 2008||Occurrence class:||Technical|
|Report status:||Final||Occurrence category:||Serious Incident|
|Highest injury level:||None|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Fairchild Industries Inc|
|Type of operation||Air Transport Low Capacity|
|Damage to aircraft||Nil|
|Departure point||Inverell, NSW|