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British pilot aborts flight: “We can smell ash!”

Posted by feww on April 22, 2010

Was volcanic ash responsible for the plane’s engine trouble?

A frightened British pilot flying a Boeing 757 to Crete to rescue stranded holidaymakers was forced to abort the flight after smelling ash on takeoff followed by engine fault.

“An audio file obtained by ‘The Sun’ reveals the conversation between the pilot and air traffic control.” Bild reported.

“We believe we’re in clear air at the moment, but we’ve definitely had the smell of the ash in the aircraft and twice one of our engine bleed airs has failed so we’re pretty sure its volcanic ash,” the Thomas Cook pilot said.

More…

The pilot reported smelling ash to air traffic control, first at 16,000 feet and then again at 20,000 feet, during the initial climb.

“In the climb, we could smell the ash. The smell stayed on for a while. Once we’d levelled at 39 [39,000 feet] we then lost one engine bleed, so we’ve taken all the required actions for volcanic ash encounter.” The pilot said.

Thomas Cook dismissed the pilot’s claim as a “minor technical fault with its air conditioning.” They said the flight was not aborted due to volcanic ash and that the plane was not in any danger.

However, according to a former pilot,  Lawrence Rayment, the problem was “uncommon,” the report said.

“It is a very uncommon fault. For it to happen as the plane flew through the ash cloud is a worry.” He said.

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