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On 25 February 2008, at about 2128 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, the flight crew of a Boeing Company 747-338 (747) aircraft, registered VH-EBY, detected a smell that slowly increased in intensity. At that time, the aircraft was cruising at 37,000 ft and was about 275 km west south-west of Sydney, NSW.

The flight crew donned their emergency oxygen equipment and transmitted a PAN call to air traffic control. The aircraft was cleared direct to Sydney for landing and was escorted to the terminal by the airport fire services for disembarkation.

An inspection by the operator determined that loose terminal connections to the left windshield heat element resulted in electrical arcing and fumes on the flight deck.

The aircraft manufacturer has a programme to replace the windshields in the 747 with an enhanced windshield heater wiring connection that should address the risk of electrical arcing in that component.

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General details
Date: 25 February 2008 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 2145 ESuT  
Location   (show map):CULIN NSW, 270 degrees/93 km Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Fumes 
Release date: 29 May 2009 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: The Boeing Company 
Aircraft model: 747 
Aircraft registration: VH-EBY 
Serial number: 23823 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Perth, WA
Destination:Sydney, NSW
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Last update 14 November 2018