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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 174474
Last updated: 30 December 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic A320 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A320-232
Owner/operator:British Airways
Registration: G-TTOB
C/n / msn: 1687
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 143
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:near London Heathrow Airport, Hounslow, Middlesex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Destination airport:Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG)
Investigating agency: AAIB
The aircraft was operating a scheduled passenger service, BA326, from London Heathrow Airport to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. There were six crew and 137 passengers on board. The aircraft departed Heathrow at 20:15 hrs.

As the aircraft climbed through 5,000 ft, the flight crew noticed a musty smell, which was mild at first but strengthened slightly over the next few minutes. As the flight crew were discussing the smell and possible courses of action, the purser called from the cabin and informed the commander that cabin crew at the front and rear of the aircraft had also noticed the smell and that some were also feeling light headed and a little nauseous. The flight crew initiated the smoke / fumes response actions with reference to the Quick Reference Handbook, which included donning their oxygen masks.

With the source of the smell not identified, the flight crew informed ATC of the situation using a PAN call and stated that they wished to return to Heathrow. The commander then briefed the cabin crew accordingly. During the subsequent approach to Heathrow, the smell was still present although not worsening, so the flight crew continued to wear their oxygen masks. After landing and vacating the runway, the aircraft was brought to a stop on a taxiway while emergency services carried out an external inspection. The smell had reduced in intensity by this time and the flight crew were able to remove their oxygen masks before taxiing the aircraft to the stand. There were no reports of lasting adverse effects of the fumes on passengers or crew.

The aircraft operator carried out a technical investigation which found that hydraulic fluid, leaking from a yaw damper actuator, had been ingested into the air inlet for the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). One of the purposes of the APU is to provide a supply of bleed air to the aircraft’s air conditioning system when it is not being provided by the engines. Thus, the ingested fluid found its way into the air conditioning system. The actuator was replaced and a decontamination procedure carried out. The aircraft was subsequently returned to service on December 21 with no reported recurrence.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


Photo of G-TTOB courtesy

Dublin (EIDW / DUB)
25 November 2018; (c) Fergal Goodman

Revision history:

12-Mar-2015 21:37 harro Added
20-Aug-2015 16:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description