On February 6, passengers traveling to Mexico from Frankfurt, Germany experienced an unexpected pitstop, forcing the airplane to land at Shannon Airport in Ireland after a pilot spilled a cup of coffee at the cockpit, reports Ashley Boucher of celebrity and human interest news website People. The airline said the coffee caused a “minor amount of smoke.”
According to Sara Spary of American news channel CNN, the 49-year-old pilot “has more than 13,000 hours of flying experience.” Spary finds that the pilot was reportedly handed a cup of coffee without a lid by a crew member, accidentally knocking it over when the airbus was over the North Atlantic Ocean. The coffee was spilled on the cockpit’s central console, as found by a report by British organization Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). It was “cleaned up and dried quickly,” but the damage was already done to the audio control panels (ACPs) on the pilot and co-pilot’s sides.
|Condor Airlines flight / Photo by: Silas Stein and Getty Images via People|
“The ACP1 unit became very hot and failed and there was an electrical burning smell in the cockpit” around 5 p.m., as reported by the AAIB. The ACP2 unit became hot, “melting one of its buttons, and failed” around 20 minutes later. The commander decided to divert to Ireland when smoke emanated from the ACP1. The ACP failures also caused “communication difficulties between both pilots and between the pilots and the crew.”
|Shannon Airport, Ireland / Photo by: Wolf32at via Wikimedia Commons|
During the diversion, one pilot was on oxygen at all times while the flight crew used supplementary oxygen. Fortunately, the smoke stopped and the plane landed in Ireland “without further incident.” The passengers did not sustain injuries from the smoke during the flight. The diversion was a “precautionary measure,” a spokesperson for the airline informs People. They added that the aircraft was “fully inspected and repaired in Ireland,” thereby continuing its route to Cancun, Mexico via Manchester.
Crew members were also reminded to be careful and to use “appropriate containers” for their beverages. Since then, Condor airlines “changed their procedure to ensure that cup lids are provided for flights on all routes,” requiring the cabin crew to use them. The operator proposed to source and supply appropriately-sized cups for the plane’s cup holders.
|A cup of coffee / Photo by: Marco Verch via Flickr|