Aviation occurrence briefs

Fumes event involving a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8, Elcho Island, NT, on 5 May 2020

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 5 May 2020, a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 was scheduled to operate a charter flight from Elcho Island to Ramingining, Northern Territory.

During the boarding process, the pilot asked the single passenger whether there were any dangerous goods in their luggage. The passenger proceeded to check the luggage and willingly handed over two spray cans with flammable contents. Following this, the pilot loaded the luggage into the aircraft.

As the aircraft climbed through approximately 4,000 ft, fumes were detected in the cabin described as smelling of solvent. At this time, the pilot became light-headed and adjusted the air vent to ensure fresh air was coming into the cabin. The pilot directed the passenger to check through the luggage for the source of the fumes. The passenger returned with a plastic container of glue, which had subsequently leaked. The pilot completed the fumes checklist and jettisoned the container safely out of the aircraft while operating over water.

Safety message

This incident highlights the importance of ensuring that all items taken on board an aircraft do not pose a safety risk to the flight. More information regarding dangerous goods can be found on the CASA website, including the Can I pack that? dangerous goods app for passengers.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.

General details
Date: 05 May 2020   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1615 CST    
Location   (show map): Elcho Island    
State: Northern Territory    
Release Date: 25 June 2020   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model GA-8  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Elcho Island, Northern Territory  
Destination Ramingining, Northern Territory  
Last update 25 June 2020