Episode #: 110
Show
Airdates: Currently In Production


 
 

Emergency! 
We have smoke on board! We can't see anything!

 
At least once every day, a pilot somewhere must make an unscheduled landing because of smoke in the cockpit. Smoke from a fire, short-circuit, or smoldering mechanical failure can cause pilots to lose control of their aircraft, turning a manageable emergency into a deadly crash. The solution for this problem exists, but the government and the airline industry contend it costs too much to require it on our airlines.

 

SCRIPT:
 
VISUALS  TALENT/NARRATION 
1. News Set

Lynette Romero & Mark Kriski On camera

Bkgrd grfx: Stock jetliner

Generic airport montage

 

 




On camera

LYNETTE:
Mark, we all know flying is safe. People safely fly [B]illions of miles every year to be with their family and friends, to conduct business, and for leisure. But we also know there are some risks while flying, and accidents are often tragic. That’s why flight safety is so important. Passengers, pilots, airlines, regulators, and manufacturers are all concerned about unsafe conditions that can lead to accidents that might turn into tragedy during a flight.
 

MARK:
One unsafe condition, and it is surprisingly common, is smoke in the cockpit. At least once every day, an airline pilot and passengers somewhere must make an unscheduled landing in the U.S. because of smoke in the cockpit. Smoke can be so thick that pilots cannot see out their windows and cannot even see their instruments. Smoke from a fire, short-circuit, or smoldering mechanical failure can cause pilots to lose control of their aircraft, turning a manageable emergency into a deadly crash.

  

  On camera

Stock corporate jet in flight

LYNETTE:
The solution to this problem exists. Cockpit Smoke Displacement Systems, as they are known, are widely used by Fortune 500 corporate aircraft and the worlds largest fractional fleet operators, Executive Jet, and Raytheon Travel Air have installed hundreds of Cockpit Smoke Displacement Systems Many people think these safety systems should be required on the commercial airlines you and I travel on. As <correspondent name> reports, “CSDS” are widely viewed as the solution to the problem of smoke in the cockpit. So far, these systems are not required on commercial airlines. Here is <correspondent first name> with that story.

 

2. On-camera

Location: Airport Tarmac

 

 

On camera

Location: Airport Tarmac









Off-camera

On-camera


On-camera


 

 

On-camera

Montage: smoldering crash scenes. Text crawl: ValuJet flight 592, Florida Everglades, May 1996. All 110 persons aboard perished. SwissAir flight 111 off Nova Scotia, 1998. All persons aboard perished. Charter flight, Texas, December 31, 1985. Singer Rick Nelson and 8 others aboard perished.”

CORRESPONDENT:
As you noted, Lynette, there is a solution to this problem. The industry refers to the solution as Cockpit Smoke Displacement Systems, or “CSDS”, and these systems work in a dangerous situation: a smoke-filled cockpit. 

PILOT (SMOKE EXPERIENCE):
Paraphrase: There is considerable danger from smoke. “An in-flight fire is one of the most dreaded situations for flight crews. It’s every pilot’s recurring nightmare.” I’ve had to land a plane quickly because of smoke in the cockpit. I was lucky, my passengers were lucky. If it had been any worse, our only hope would have been a CSDS, IF we had one.”

CORRESPONDENT:
Your airliner did not have a CSDS?

PILOT (SMOKE EXPERIENCE):
Paraphrase: No. These systems are not yet required on airlines.

CORRESPONDENT:
If the solution to the problem of smoke in the cockpit is not required on airlines, is this truly a serious problem? <EVAS spokesperson name> represents the Emergency Vision Assurance System, or “EVAS”, an FAA-approved system that allows pilots to see through smoke.

EVAS Spokesperson
Paraphrase: Smoke in the cockpit is a significant problem for all planes – corporate jets, and commercial airlines. And, tragically, there have been major crashes and significant loss of life attributed to smoke-filled cockpits. “In one study
begun in 1983, the National Transportation Safety Board documented numerous instances of electrical fire aboard domestic aircraft, many on commercial flights.  people died in those fires.” Also, “the ValuJet flight 592 crash in Florida appeared to have been partially caused by smoke in the cockpit.” SwissAir flight 111, which crashed in 1998, “might have been flyable despite an electrical fire; the pilots may have lost control in the dark.” And the 1985 crash of the charter plane that killed singer Rick Nelson, his fiancée, band members and concert crew, was attributed to smoke in the cockpit. There are many other instances of crashes and loss of life attributed at least partly to pilots’ loss of control because they could not see out their window or see their instruments because of smoke.
 

  On-camera

 


On-camera







Off-camera

On camera

Grphx: List of Smoke-related Accidents (attached list). One incident per card, do not roll

 

 

On camera

 

 

On camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Graphic: ECU of recommendation text from
NTSB report

Photo of each congressperson

Logo of Coalition of Airline Pilots

CORRESPONDENT:
If CSDS technology is not required on commercial airlines, then what does the FAA require?

EVAS SPOKESPERSON:
Paraphrase: The requirements are for the crew to extinguish the fire and remove smoke by using the ventilation system or even opening windows. The aircraft certification tests require that pilots be able to see clearly, and that aircraft systems ventilate thick smoke in three minutes.

CORRESPONDENT:
Is that effective?

EVAS SPOKESPERSON:
Paraphrase: No. , the certification requirements clearly state that “ smoke be introduced in the cockpit until the instruments are totally obscured” and then “TURNED OFF” as if a pilot could simply throw a switch and turn off the smoke!. Many times, crews cannot locate flames although the cockpit is filling with smoke. Further, “crews have limited ability to recognize, gain access to, or to control the malfunction.” And the system to evacuate smoke from the cockpit is not much different than the bathroom fan in your home. Quite inadequate.

CORRESPONDENT:
A lot of concern about airline safety is focused on terrorist activity. Should we be concerned about this particular airline safety issue and the impact of terrorism?

EVAS SPOKESPERSON:
Paraphrase: Yes. The new anti-terrorist regulations requiring airlines to close and lock the cockpit door at all times means the flight crew is more susceptible to smoke in the cockpit, because it is now more difficult to evacuate smoke from the cockpit. Flight crews are now more vulnerable to both accidental and intentional incidents of smoke-filled cockpits. We are concerned that terrorists could use smoke to force the flight crew to open the cockpit door. What does law enforcement use to root criminals out of buildings? - Smoke. There have been at least three tragic accidents where terrorists brought down aircraft using smoke. Swiss Air 330, The Cubana DC-8 crash off Barbados, and the 737 that went down near Abu Dhabi all could well have been prevented using CSDS. The bombs did not cause critical damage to these airliners; however, they caused a lot of smoke. Investigators concluded that smoke-filled cockpits caused those flight crews to lose control of their planes. 

CORRESPONDENT:
Aviation professionals claim that requiring CSDS on commercial airlines may save lives. In their final report of the ValueJet crash in the Florida Everglades, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that the FAA consider requiring CSDS as mandatory safety equipment on airlines. In the U.S. Congress, congresspersons <first name> Quinn <party, state>, <first name> Horn <party, state>, and <first name> Mink <party, state> have endorsed a call to create a regulation requiring the use of CSDS on airlines. Recently, The Coalition of Airline Pilots, with 26,000 members, endorsed CSDS, for use as required standard equipment on all airlines. And the Airline Pilots Association has also specifically endorsed  CSDS for use by Airlines as required safety equipment. The problem of smoke in the cockpit does have a solution. One airline, JetBlue Airlines based in New York, has become the first airline to voluntarily outfit its planes with EVAS Cockpit Smoke DisplacementS technology. <President name> explains his company’s decision to voluntarily install this safety item.
 

03 On camera

Location: New York hdqtrs of JetBlue

Footage of JetBlue airliners and crew

Cockpit footage showing EVAS installation

 

 

 

 

PRESIDENT, JETBLUE:
Paraphrase: JetBlue wants to be on the forefront of assuring passenger and crew safety. Even though the FAA does not yet require us to do so, JetBlue’s own standard of safety requires us to do so. We have ordered the EVAS systems for  each of our planes to assure that flight crew can maintain full control of their aircraft in the event of a smoke-filled cockpit. It was surprisingly simple to install and maintain EVAS, and the cost is equal to only a few pennies per ticket. So, we are able to provide more safety while maintaining our low prices. More importantly, JetBlue is committed to service and safety for our passengers and crew, and we are convinced EVAS contributes to our safety. 
04 On camera

Location: Airport Tarmac

CORRESPONDENT:
Mark and Lynette, JetBlue is the first airline to choose to install a CSDS on their planes, but more are likely to follow. 
 
05 News set

On camera

MARK:<Correspondent first name>, how does a CSDS work? How does it allow the flight crew to see through smoke?
 
06 On camera

EVAS box

 


Stock footage; voiceover
Theatrical smoke filling cockpit, Pilot seated in front of deployed EVAS system

 

 

 

 

 

 

On camera

CORRESPONDENT:
Mark, the Emergency Vision Assurance System, a readily-available CSDS, is based on this small package, a self-contained box the size of small phone book.

CORRESONDENT VOICEOVER: Here’s how it works. When a cockpit fills with smoke and visibility becomes limited, pilots don goggles and breathing masks and then pull open the EVAS box next to them. They remove the self-contained Inflatable Vision Unit, or “IVU”, inside the box. They attach the IVU to the glare screen in front of them. Then pull a tab on the IVU and it inflates and activates. The pilot then has a clear view of his instruments, his chart, and the windshield. This whole process takes less than a minute.

CORRESPONDENT:
In 1989 the FAA tested and certified EVAS as an approved CSDS device to ensure pilot vision in the presence of dense continuous smoke. The agency has already issued several specific Supplemental Type Certificates allowing the use of EVAS on various aircraft. And, regulators are considering requiring these safety systems on all airlines. At Long Beach Airport outside Los Angeles, this is <correspondent name>. Back to you, Mark and Lynette.

07 News Set

Lynette Romero & Mark Kriski On camera

Bkgrd grfx: Stock jetliner

 

On camera

 

 

 

 

 

On camera

MARK:
Thank you, <correspondent first name>. Although smoke in the cockpit is a very real and often deadly danger to the flying public, CSDS technology that fights this problem is not yet required as safety equipment on airlines. In fact, the first airline to install a CSDS product on all their planes – JetBlue – has done so voluntarily because of their own standard of safety.

LYNETTE:
Many people in the industry believe it should be required safety equipment on all planes that serve the public. And, considering our new standards for preventing terrorist attacks on aircraft, many feel it is even more urgent to implement this technology soon. These groups continue to fight for a regulation for what they view as survival equipment. For Business World News, I’m Lynette Romero.

MARK:
And I’m mark Kriski.
 

1. AIR SAFETY WEEK, 4/24/2000, The Stark Findings in Brief, page 1

2. Dr. Andre Senikas, "The Bush", reprinted in AIR SAFETY WEEK 4/24/2000 pg 2

3. Calculation: 6,000 airliners = $20,000 EVAS = $120,000,000 / 650,000,000 ticketed passengers per year / 10 year product life = 2¢ per ticket

4. FEDS MAKE MAJOR INVESTIGATION INTO AIRTRAN FIRE, Marty Schladen, Greensboro Regional News, 8/10/2000

5. SWISSAIR: PILOT TACTICS QUERIED, Paul Koring, The Globe and Mail, Sat 9/2/2000

6. ?? find verification information

7. "FAA Requirement for Pilots to see … when Smoke in the cockpit cannot be stopped"

8. AIR SAFETY WEEK, 4/24/2000, "Many Events Not Reported", page 2. AND Jim Shaw, ALPA, speech 11/17-18/2000, reprinted in IN-FLIGHT FIRE PROJECT, General Conclusions

9. AIR SAFETY WEEK, 4/24/2000, "The Stark Findings in Brief", page 1

10. Personal Correspondence, James Stevenson email to Jonathan Parker, 10/1/01

11. 1970 transcript Auszug aus der Tonbandaufnahme vom21 Februar 1970; 1976 Report of the Commission of Enquiry; 1983 Record from British Civil Aviation Authority, 23 Sep 83
 

 
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