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On 9 July 2009, at about 2108 Eastern Standard Time a British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 32 aircraft, registered VH-OTD, was being operated on a scheduled passenger service from Sydney to Williamtown, New South Wales (NSW), with two crew and six passengers.

During climb to 9,000 ft, and about 19 km northeast of Sydney, the flight crew noticed a strong electrical burning smell in the cabin. The flight crew requested and received clearance from air traffic control for an immediate return to Sydney. Faced with a high workload, the crew chose not to don their emergency oxygen masks during the return flight to Sydney.

Following an uneventual landing, the crew noticed a light haze of smoke below the roof of the cabin. After the passengers disembarked, engineering staff located the source of smoke as the weather radar indicator.

Examination of the weather radar indicator found that burning of a control circuit board had occurred, damaging the printed circuit board substrate. The damage was not the result of an aircraft system fault.

Research published by the ATSB has shown that the second most common cause of in-flight medical and incapacitation events was exposure to toxic smoke and fumes. Use of supplemental breathing equipment is an important defence against pilot incapacitation.

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General details
Date: 09 July 2009 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 2108 EST  
Location   (show map):19 km NE of Sydney aerodrome Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Smoke 
Release date: 29 June 2010 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: British Aerospace PLC 
Aircraft model: 3200 
Aircraft registration: VH-OTD 
Serial number: 978 
Type of operation: Air Transport Low Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Sydney, NSW
Destination:Williamtown, NSW
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Last update 14 November 2018