Hole in door seal caused Flybe East Midlands to Edinburgh mid-air emergency

FLIGHT crew had to don oxygen masks and declare a MAYDAY emergency on a passenger flight to Edinburgh.

By Andy Shipley
Thursday, 8th August 2019, 3:48 pm
The De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprop landed safely
The De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprop landed safely

The morning Flybe service had just taken off from East Midlands in January when crew noticed a rapid pressure change caused by a hole in the seal of a door.

A newly published report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch noted the 32-year-old pilot sent the aircraft into a dive before continuing on to the Capital.

“The crew donned oxygen masks, began an emergency descent and made a MAYDAY call,” reads the AAIB report.

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Specialist fire crews at Edinburgh Airport were scrambled but the 59 passengers and four crew disembarked safely with no injuries.

The drama unfolded at 15,000ft half-an-hour into the flight after the De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprop had taken off at 9am on January 28.

“During the climb the crew noticed a high rate of increase in the cabin altitude, accompanied by physical air pressure sensations,” continues the AAIB report.

“The cabin altitude warning occurred shortly thereafter. An emergency descent was conducted and the aircraft continued to its planned destination.”

Investigators found that the aircraft had suffered a minor problem with the pressurisation system prior to the flight.

“The crew of the incident flight had been in communication with Company Maintenance Control regarding this issue,” they added.

“A rapid cabin altitude climb rate developed and the crew felt the associated atmospheric effects,” adds their report. “This was quickly followed by a cabin altitude warning.”

The crew then followed an emergency checklist to gauge the state of the aircraft while keeping passengers informed.

“With sufficient fuel and suitable weather en-route the commander decided to continue to Edinburgh,” reads the report.

“The commander briefed the cabin crew on the event and his intentions and made a PA to the passengers.”

The flight continued without further problems to the Capital where a hole in the lower lip of the rear baggage door seal was found.

A spokeswoman for Flybe said the Exter-based carrier was aware of the incident and thanked the AAIB for concluding its investigation.

“We are pleased to note that the report duly recognises that the crew immediately and efficiently implemented the required precautionary procedures necessary to ensure the continued safe operation of the aircraft and that the flight landed safely without further incident.

“Flybe crews are highly trained professionals and such procedures are reinforced on a regular basis with the safety of its passengers and crew remaining its highest priority at all times.”