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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 01:46 GMT 02:46 UK
Smoke hoods 'hindered' cabin crew
The Flybe Bombardier DHC-8-400
The Flybe Bombardier DHC-8-400 was filled with smoke
Cabin crew had difficulty communicating with passengers during an emergency landing because the crew were wearing smoke hoods, an accident report said.

The 2005 incident took place on a Flybe flight from Birmingham to Edinburgh.

The report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the smoke prevented the cabin crew from seeing the length of the cabin.

The report also said how the crew said the smoke hoods had "severely hindered communications with passengers".

It added that the hoods had proved a barrier to "both hearing and being heard".

As a result of the hearing difficulties caused by the smoke hoods, the cabin crew did not hear the landing calls made from the flight deck.

'Not a requirement'

During the incident several passengers had asked if they could have breathing protection, but the report said that "smoke protection for passengers is not a requirement on public transport aircraft".

The smoke was caused by leaking oil in one of the aircraft's air conditioning units.

Because of the subsequent communication problem, one crew member removed her hood shortly before the Bombardier DHC-8-400 landed.

The plane touched down safely at Leeds Bradford airport on 4 August 2005, and an emergency evacuation was carried out.

The AAIB said the cabin crew had undergone smoke-hood training but "it appeared that this had not fully prepared them for the extent of the associated communication difficulties, raising questions about the training."

The AAIB's report also recommended a review of cabin crew smoke-hood training, called for a system to help flight crews rapidly identify smoke sources and also recommended improved communications between flight and cabin crews.

According to the report there were 153 cases of fumes, abnormal odour, smoke or haze in either the flight deck or cabin, or both, of UK-registered passenger planes in a three-year period to August 2006.

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