Sunday, March 04, 2018

‘Faulty valves caused Air India flight incident’

Directorate General of Civil Aviation investigation into mid-air cabin pressure failure says crew not to blame

An investigation report by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on the mid-air cabin pressure failure in an Air India flight from Mumbai to Kochi last year, has blamed faulty flow control valves which led to alarm bells going off at 39,000 feet and oxygen masks being deployed.

Emergency landing

The incident on February 27, 2017, saw the aircraft with 58 passengers and crew undertake an emergency landing in Mangaluru. This was followed by an investigation by the DGCA’s Air Safety Directorate for lessons that may help prevent such future incidents.

The report said the pilot declared an emergency during cruise when there was a rapid increase in cabin altitude due to cabin pressurization failure.

“The decision to divert and land the aircraft at Mangaluru was appropriate. The pilot made a safe emergency landing. There was no injury to any of the aircraft occupants and also there was no damage to the aircraft. Thus flight crew qualification and operations of the aircraft is not considered a contributory factor to the incident,” the DGCA report said.

The report added that weather did not contribute to the incident either.

No pre-departure snag

The report said there was no pre-departure snag and the cabin pressurization failed during cruise, which led to declaration of emergency and deployment of oxygen masks. It explained that upon inspection, flow control valve no.2 was found to be sluggish and was confirmed to be faulty.

“The aircraft was being served by only one pack for air conditioning. There was also a fault message for flow control valve no.1. The snag on this flow control valve could however not be confirmed on inspection. This anomaly in serviceability of flow control valve is possible as environmental conditions are not the same at higher altitude (39,000 feet) and on ground. Flow control valve no. 2 malfunctioned and [bled] through flow control valve no.1, which was not sufficient to maintain pressurisation in the cabin at higher altitude. Insufficient bleed led to depressurisation of the cabin,” the report concluded.

Following the incident, Air India carried out detailed checks and snag rectification procedures, replacing control units and flow valves that were tested again and found to be satisfactory.

Original article can be found here ➤

Air India, Airbus A320-231A-320, VT-ESE


Airbus   A320   aircraft   VT-ESE was operating   flight  AI-681 (Mumbai -Cochin) on 27.02.2017. Departure from Mumbai was uneventful. During cruise, there was cabin pressurization failure. The aircraft descended with ATC permission.  Oxygen  masks were deployed.  The aircraft diverted to Mangalore and made emergency landing. The landing was safe. There was no injury to any  of the passengers or crew members on board the aircraft.

After  landing  at  Mangalore,  the  aircraft  was  inspected  for  rectification by AME. During rectification, cabin pressure controller no.1, pack no.1 and flow control valve of Pack no. 2 were  replaced. Engines were given ground run to check the serviceability of the cabin pressurization system; which was found satisfactory.    The deployed oxygen masks were stowed. The aircraft was operated under MEL for a positioning flight to Delhi. At Delhi, flow control valve no. 1 and pressure regulating  valve (PRV) no.2  were replaced. Thereafter the aircraft declared serviceable.

This incident has been investigated by inquiry officer under rule 13(1) of Aircraft (Investigation of Accidents and Incidents) Rule 2012.

The cabin pressurization failure occurred due to malfunction of flow control valve no.  2 at higher altitude.

Investigation Report:

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