Smoke, fire, or fume (SFF) events can occur suddenly in commercial airplanes. Yet information about the source of the event may be vague, incomplete, inaccurate, or contradictory. Additionally, there is a wide range of possible sources and situations.
By William A. McKenzie, Flight Crew Procedures Manager
Flight crews worldwide now have a single integrated checklist that can be used for all non-alerted events.
Historically, airlines have provided flight crews with checklists to help them identify and deal with smoke, fire, and fumes. Until recently, manufacturer and airline checklists varied in format and content. In response to this situation, Boeing worked together with airlines, pilots, and other manufacturers to develop a philosophy and a checklist template to standardize and optimize flight crew responses to non-alerted SFF events (i.e., events not annunciated to the flight crew by onboard detection systems).
These efforts have produced a set of new, industry standard procedures that:
- Define a common approach for manufacturers and airlines to take when developing checklists.
- Define a common set of actions for pilots to expect across multiple models.
- Create an SFF checklist template that addresses key issues that were widely divergent in the industry.
PROVIDING THE BEST POSSIBLE CREW GUIDANCE
The objective of the checklist template is to provide the best possible crew guidance for managing in-flight SFF events while acknowledging that every SFF situation is different.
As a result, flight crews worldwide now have a single integrated checklist that can be used across all non-alerted SFF events (see fig. 1). The guidance provided by the new template addresses:
- SFF source identification.
- Actions to perform regardless of source.
- Crew communication.
- Timing for diversion and landing initiation.
- Smoke or fumes removal.
- Additional actions to perform if smoke persists.
- Loss of capability and operational consequences.
Boeing used this template to develop new SFF checklists for all passenger models of the 737, 747, 757, 767, and 777 airplanes and is in the process of developing and evaluating similar checklists for the MD-80, MD-90, 717, MD-10, and MD-11 airplanes. The template is designed to be used by all manufacturers and operators to standardize and optimize flight crew responses to non-alerted SFF events.