Smoke fills American Airlines 757 cockpit

Plane makes emergency landing in Fla. after smoke fills cockpit

An American Airlines 757 carrying an estimated 103 passengers and 17,000 pounds of fuel was forced to land at Grand Junction Regional Airport Wednesday evening, due to reports of smoke in the cabin.

The flight #119 which originated in Newark and bound for Los Angeles made a safe emergency landing at the Grand Junction airport around 10:15 p.m. There were no injuries to passengers or flight crew members, and people were evacuated directly onto the tarmac as soon as the wheels came to a stop along the runway.

According to fire officials who responded to the scene, the smoke is thought to have started due to a fire that began at the back of the aircraft. Firefighters with the Grand Junction Fire Department conducted thermal imaging in an attempt to pinpoint the exact location of the fire.

Flightaware AA119

Sorry can’t resist :smiley:

2 lithium batteries in a checked luggage is potentially the cause of this fire.

All kidding aside, I do find it odd that if the the smoke travelled all the way up to the cockpit of the plane from the back of the plane, yet the reports posted do not indicate any passengers or flight attendents smelled smoke in the cabin?

All conjecture based on reports as we all know it’s early…


Flightaware AA1738
FAA Preliminary Report

Plane makes emergency landing in Fla. after smoke fills cockpit

Associated Press - January 31, 2008 8:24 AM ET

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after an American Airlines flight made an emergency landing in West Palm Beach after the cockpit filled with smoke.

The flight left from Puerto Rico and was heading to Philadelphia last night when it was forced to land at Palm Beach International Airport.

Several passengers were transported to the hospital, but the injuries were not considered life threatening.

American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan says a passenger and the first officer on the plane were taken to the hospital. Later, the captain and three flight attendants were also taken to the hospital.

Ahh, so there was smoke in the cabin. Amazed the media didn’t dramatize this.

Thanks for posting!


Wow - both flights were American 757s! Logical knee-jerk reaction would be to ground all 757s in their fleet, but since nobody has died yet, that ain’t gonna happen!

Sorry fr being stupid, but what 2 flights? What am I missing?

Sorry fr being stupid, but what 2 flights? What am I missing?

The first post and the second post are actually two separate but similar incidents!

Flightaware AA1738
Flightaware AA119

Update on West Palm Beach AA1738

WEST PALM BEACH A windshield heater problem so serious federal officials called on airlines in September to fix it - but which remains unresolved - is the most likely cause of the emergency that forced an American Airlines flight to divert to Palm Beach International Airport Wednesday night.

The device, which is similar to a car’s rear-window defroster, broke down after a unusually strong arc of electricity caused it to smoke and shatter the tempered glass wind screen, American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said from Chicago.

PDF: NTSB’s September 2007 letter about overheating windshield heaters.

PDF: FAA’s November 2007 response.
Previous incidents in which windshield heaters overheated:

Jan. 21, 2004: A windshield overheated as an Air Greenland plane was preparing to depart Copenhagen, Denmark.

Jan. 25, 2004: American Airlines flight 1477 declared an emergency on departure from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport because of smoke and fire near the windshield heat terminal. The airplane returned to DFW and landed safely.

May 2, 2004: American Airlines flight 2107 from Miami to Caracas, Venezuela, suffered a fire near the windshield heat terminal.

April 23, 2006, American Airlines flight 923 diverted to John F. Kennedy International Airport because of smoke in the cockpit. American Airlines’ inspection of the windshield revealed a short in the windshield heat terminal block.

SOURCE: National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board wrote the Federal Aviation Administration in September, citing five incidents - three in 2004 and two in 2006 - in which windshields overheated, causing smoke and, in some cases, fire.

The letter said Boeing had discovered a flaw in the windshields in 2004 and was placing a newly-designed system in new planes and sending service bulletins to owners of existing planes. Also, the letter said, the FAA agreed to issue bulletins making the replacements mandatory in all planes.

But the NTSB’s September letter said Boeing had not yet sent out all its bulletins and the FAA had not yet issued its directive. The FAA told the safety board in November it would “propose an airworthiness directive” sometime in the first quarter of 2008.

“We have seen these types of incidents beore and they have all pointed to this heater block,” Knudson said from Washington.

The FAA referred inquiries about Wednesday’s incident to American and was preparing a response today to inquiries about the NTSB’s September letter.

In Seattle, Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx said the airline could not comment because the investigation was under way. He said say the airline “will work with the NTSB in whatever way they ask us to.” Last night, as firefighters raced onto the plane, they could smell the same burning odor that terrified passengers for more than an hour while the Boeing 757, traveling from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Philadelphia, aimed for its unscheduled stop.

The pilot and co-pilot and several passengers were sent to area hospitals but all were found to have minor smoke inhalation and were released. The co-pilot was treated for minor cuts on his hand, caused when the inner pane of the double-paned right cockpit window shattered minutes before the plane landed at about 9:10 p.m, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue spokesman Capt. Don DeLucia said.

About two hours after Flight 1738, carrying 139 passengers and a crew of seven, left Puerto Rico, passengers begin smelling smoke and the crew made an announcement that the plane would be making an emergency landing.

The news, coupled with the smell of burning plastic, had some passengers praying and at least one writing a goodbye to his wife and child, according to interviews by the Palm Beach Post’s news partner, Channel 12.

The tower at PBIA alerted Fire-Rescue about 8:40 p.m. that had the flight had declared an emergency, DeLucia said.

Eight vehicles from the airport fire station raced to the runway, while five more vehicles and two ambulances positioned themselves at PBIA’s perimeter, ready to respond if the landing turned catastrophic, DeLucia said.

DeLucia said the airplane had to drop its altitude to reduce the pressure on the overheated windshield. He said the plane opted not to conduct an emergency evacuation. He said responders raced up a stairwell to the skybridge, entered the plane, and quickly determined passengers could exit safely into the terminal.

“There was a smell but it wasn’t like smoke billowing out the door when they (firefighers) opened up. The majority of the smoke was in the pilot’s compartment.” Two units went to St. Mary’s Medical Center, one to Good Samaritan, one to Wellington Regional Medical Center and one to Columbia HCA hospital, DeLucia said.

Passengers waited for another plane to be brought it to continue their journey. That flight landed at Philadelphia at about 4:30 this morning.

NTSB spokesman Peter C. Knudson said the agency would not send a crew to West Palm Beach from either its headquarters or its regional office in Miami but that an aerospace engineer was collecting documentation from the FAA and American Airlines.

The NTSB said it gave permission for American to replace the malfunctioning heater and the broken windshield, Knudson said. Fagan said the plane will be put back into rotation “as soon as possible.” The NTSB’s Knudson said both “black box” flight recorders had been removed for investigators.

Geez airlines…why wait around for someone to type out a report? get the new units in there now! Don’t wait for it to happen on one of those ETOPS flights from Hawaii to the mainland…cuz then it might be 2 hours or more before you can land.

There have been several Citation XL’s that have had windshield heaters/controllers malfunction and crack the outer pane of glass. It’s happened 3 times that I can remember. Every time on the right side and starting in the same place. But I still haven’t seen a service bulletin.


Jan 1, 2004 to Jan 1, 2007

American (AALA) 8 incidents (only 1 in NTSB Letter)

AALA20040127 Seen in NTSB Safety Letter examples (Above)

AALA20040565 5/16/04 cracked and arcing

AALA20040915 8/29/04 cracked and arcing

AALA20041194 12/6/04 cracked and arcing

AALA20050803 12/8/05 outer pane shattered

AALA20060168 3/12/06 shattered

AALA20060206 4/3/06 outer pane shattered

AALA20061071 11/17/06 cracked No NTSB Monthly Reports


Continental (CALA) 1 Incident No NTSB Monthly Reports

CALA0600415 10/17/06 cracked


Delta Airlines (DALA) 14 Incidents No NTSB Monthly Reports

DL73S040489 5/1/04. cracked.

DL75K040950 10/6/04 outer windshield shattered

DLM88050292 5/24/05 bubbling and cracked

DL76G050742 11/26/05 outer pane shattered

DL75K050763 12/4/05 cracked

DL73S060008 1/3/06 cracked with arcing

DL75K060056 1/15/06 smoke fire

DL75K060055 1/16/06 shattered

DL76L060081 1/27/06 shattered

DL76L060081 4/24/06 arc and delaminate

DL76K060368 5/10/06 shattered

DL757060447 5/28/06 cracked

DL757060902 10/30/06 cracked and arced

DL76S060965 11/6/06 shattered


United Airlines (UALA) 21 Incidents No NTSB Monthly Reports

2004UALA00108 2/8/04 cracked

2004UALA00196 3/6/04 cracked and arcing

2004UALA00279 3/25/04 cracked and arcing

2004UALA00633 7/1/04 shattered

2004UALA00645 7/7/04 cracked

2004UALA00927 10/11/04 cracked and arcing

2004UALA01251 12/26/04 cracked and arcing

2005UALA00053 1/12/05 cracked and arcing

2005UALA00718 7/27/05 cracking

2005UALA00924 8/31/05 cracked

2005UALA01072 10/2/05 cracked

2005UALA01126 10/12/05 cracked

2005UALA01331 11/22/05 cracked and shattered

2005UALA01353 11/26/05 arcing

2005UALA01336 11/27/05 arcing and smoke

2006UALA00378 3/4/06 cracked

2006UALA00636 4/1/06 cracked and arcing

2006UALA01027 5/29/06 cracked

2006UALA01478 7/30/06 shattered

2006UALA02056 10/23/06 shattered

2006UALA02410 10/22/06 shattered (Ed note; one of the VERY few with a Required Cause)


End --------------------------


NTSB Monthly Reports >

FAA SDR Database and Query engine source at … B=NS&cD=32

leardvr - do Citations have the same heaters as those commercial airliners? And it is just the XLs or other Citations as well? Should all private jet pilots (as well as airlines) be proactive on this? Obviously, waiting for bulletins is not the safest course of action.

Yeah, I’m close to someone onboard the emerg. divert to PBIA. From reports I’ve seen online (a copy of the NTSB’s recommendation to the FAA), it appears that the FAA was having some “minor” conflicts with Boeing… apparently, they were having trouble with the “language” which was to be used on issuing airworthiness directives or safety bulletins or something like that – stuff that should’ve been done a longggg time ago, and which should’ve helped to resolve the problem. I say SHOULD’VE. Thank God Flt. 1738 landed safely despite circumstances which NEVER should have been ALLOWED to have happened. If you know of any civil way to get the FAA and Boeing to get their acts together and resolve this deadly issue, please let me know. I don’t want something like this to happen to any other innocent lives. This was way too close for comfort, and I’m angry that “bickering” put lives at risk. The lights went out; it was not clear if the landing gear would be working (they weren’t sure if there was an electrical problem); there was a cracked (and then shattered) windshield; smoke in the cockpit with fumes throughout the plane; and the pilots had to wear O2 masks and goggles (and at least one of the pilots was injured from the glass shards; others were taken to the hospital, as well), while trying to land this jet with limited visibility. They were about 90 mins. away from land, over the Atlantic, and the passengers were repeatedly instructed on how the emergency evacuation would work. Yeah, it was that close. The crew was “awesome”, according to my daughter, and I’m very grateful. Thank God for His safety. Sounds to me that there should be a lot less bickering between the organizations and a lot more action in trying to fix this problem. Sorry, this mom is still hyperventilating…

Holy crap that musta been the longest 90 minutes ever…
And they are having issues with “language?”
Maybe I can help clear it up for Boeing, Cessna, and whoever else it’s happening to:
As much a fan as I am for Boeing, it seems pretty obvious that they are worried about the costs involved in fixing the problem(s). They need to look at it this way: What would cost more? Fixing the problems promptly, or stalling and waiting for some kind of class-action lawsuit brought forth by 180+ people who might have been a bit terrified on a smoky 757 because the problem wasn’t fixed when it could have been?
Hey Boeing, the comfort and SAFETY of the people riding in your products should be your #1 priority. You’ve been so good for so long. Don’t cheap out on us now.
My .02 worth…do I get change?

You said it very well! Maybe we should all speak up; think that would work? Or will nothing we suggest move them? I do think Boeing originally started to put out service bulletins. I think the big prob. seems to be with the FAA for falling back and not following up like they indicated they would in 2004, despite the NTSB trying to force their hand as recently as last year. Who knows… I hate it when money talks more than safety. :angry: