Thursday, June 11, 2009

ATSB investigating Jetstar Airbus A330-200 in-flight cockpit fire

by B. N. Sullivan

JetstarThe Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating an in-flight cockpit fire on a Jetstar A330-200 aircraft (registration VH-EBF). At the time of the incident, Jetstar Flight JQ20 was over the Pacific en route from Osaka, Japan to Coolangatta (Gold Coast), Australia. The aircraft diverted to Guam, where it made a safe emergency landing at about 02:20 local time today. There were four pilots, nine cabin crew, and 186 passengers on board, none of whom were injured.

News reports have stated that the fire began near the base of the first officer's windscreen. According to, Jetstar said the fire was caused "by the electrical connector part of a cockpit window heater."

An article about the Jetstar incident in the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Jetstar's chief executive, Bruce Buchanan, who said the aircraft's computer system had detected a fault with the cockpit's windscreen heater "but whether it's an electrical problem I'm not sure".

"As far as we can tell it's just a freak accident. It looks like something has gone wrong with the wiring, but it's too early to say whether … it's the primary cause," Buchanan said.

In any case, it was reported that the crew quickly contained the fire and managed to extinguish it well before the aircraft landed at Guam.

The ATSB sent a team of investigators including operations, electrical engineer and licensed aircraft maintenance engineer to Guam to commence the investigation. The ATSB also said it has notified the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the French Bureau dEnquêtes et dAnalyses pour la sécurité de laviation civile (BEA).