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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 194820
Last updated: 12 April 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic DH8D model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8
Registration: G-ECOF
C/n / msn: 4216
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 81
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Category:Serious incident
Location:Belfast City Airport (BHD/EGAC) -   United Kingdom
Phase: Standing
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Belfast City Airport (BHD/EGAC)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: AAIB
The aircraft was boarded at Belfast City Airport, the passenger doors were closed and the crew was preparing for departure. The APU was running, with the intention of using it for engine start during pushback. One of the ground handlers informed the crew that smoke was emanating from the rear of the aircraft around the APU. The absence of flight deck indications of an APU fault and the calm demeanour of the ground handler led to the commander not being overly concerned at this stage. He asked the No 1 cabin attendant to open the forward door, with the intention of investigating the problem himself. Meanwhile the co-pilot contacted ATC and asked if they could see anything unusual. After a short delay a reply was received stating that smoke could be seen around the rear of the aircraft. At this point the commander decided to initiate a precautionary disembarkation and briefed the cabin crew over the intercom.
Only the forward main passenger door was used as the rear airstairs were unserviceable.
He also asked the co-pilot to put out a PAN call to ATC, informing them of the situation. At around this time the APU shut down, generating a fail caption. At no time were any fire or smoke warnings received on the flight deck, nor were any fumes or smoke observed inside the aircraft, although a burning odour became apparent as the incident progressed.
All the passengers had disembarked by the time the airfield fire service had reached the aircraft and, after consultation with the fire chief, the crew pulled the FDR and CVR circuit breakers, shut down the electrical systems and vacated the aircraft.
The fire crew used thermal imaging equipment to determine that the temperature in the APU area was around 158C, which reduced to 40C at the rear pressure bulkhead. The heat had resulted in discolouration of the external surfaces of the tail cone.

It was subsequently found that the APU exhaust duct liner had partially disintegrated, resulting in hot exhaust gases being directed outside the liner. Two days prior to this event, a piece of the liner had been ejected from the APU exhaust whilst the aircraft was on stand at Birmingham. However it was incorrectly identified as originating from an airport vehicle and the aircraft was allowed to continue in service.

The aircraft was repaired and re-entered service on November 10, 2016.


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


Photo of G-ECOF courtesy

Paris - Charles de Gaulle (LFPG / CDG)
23 June 2011; (c) Mick Bajcar

Revision history:

14-Apr-2017 16:42 harro Added

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