Contaminated air events were in the news in 2008 – have the recommendations made in the Lords Science and Technology report been implemented?

19 Oct

A websearch, prompted by a message from Peter Evans chairman of the Organophosphates Group North West, highlighted a more recent incident which took almost two years to investigate and even then only produced an interim report. Read the German report – an alarming account – or an unofficial English translation here.

SUMMARY OF THE BFU SERIOUS INCIDENT ON – 19TH DECEMBER 2010:

On December 19th 2010 an Airbus 319 coming from Vienna proceeding inbound for landing at Cologne airport, both pilots noticed a strange smell as they were heading to base track. Shortly after that when turning on to the final approach track both pilots noticed a huge problem with their physical and cognitive functions which was impairing their functioning abilities.

Both donned their oxygen masks and signalled emergency situation/Mayday. The captain managed to land the aircraft, the co-pilot was not capable. Both pilots received medical attention immediately after landing.

Recommendations made in the Lords Science and Technology First Report

Contaminated air events

5.16.  We recommend that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)carries out an awareness campaign aimed at airlines and pilots to highlight the importance of reporting contaminated air events and encourages airlines to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the rules on reporting these events.

The Aviation Health Working Group (AHWG)

5.17.  We recommend that the AHWG-sponsored research to identify the substances produced during a fume event be completed urgently. It should be followed up by an epidemiological study on pilots to ascertain the incidence and prevalence of ill health in air crew and any association there might be with exposure to the chemicals identified in the AHWG-sponsored study, paying particular attention to the synergistic effect of these chemicals.

5.18.  We recommend that the Government works with manufacturers, airlines and the regulator to take effective action in preventing oil and hydraulic fluid leakages into the aircraft cabin.

5.19.  We recommend that a protocol should be made available to health professionals, in particular Authorised Medical Examiners, on how to deal with air crew who suffer contaminated air events. We recommend that airlines, the regulators and the Government work together to improve the support given to pilots claiming to suffer ill health following a contaminated air event.

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READ APPENDIX 5, INDIVIDUAL SUBMISSIONS

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