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“The delay was due to a report of an unpleasant odour in the cabin, typically associated with oil in the ventilation system, which does not impact the safe operation of a flight,” Air Canada spokeswoman, Angela Mah, said in an email.

I am sure that statement doesn't do anything to reassure the flying public. The idea that there would be oil in the ventilation system and that it does not impact the safe operation of a flight seem contradictory. I can not imagine anyone wanting to fly in an aircraft with oil in the ventilation system.

Why not stick to "safer" statements...

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Hot summer weather especially with humidity puts a strain on the AIr Conditioning Packs. The Coalescer (sp?) bags on the ACM get wet and takle on a pretty foul odour. These usually get replaced on A-Checks or the like but sometimes need to be replaced sooner. It is about an hour job to replace them. Nothing to see here but an overreaction by the inflight crew. Oil in the system has a distinctly different smell than dirty socks.

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Hot summer weather especially with humidity puts a strain on the AIr Conditioning Packs. The Coalescer (sp?) bags on the ACM get wet and takle on a pretty foul odour. These usually get replaced on A-Checks or the like but sometimes need to be replaced sooner. It is about an hour job to replace them. Nothing to see here but an overreaction by the inflight crew. Oil in the system has a distinctly different smell than dirty socks.

There are no coalescer bags on the A320 fleet...

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  • How do the F/A's get away with refusing to board based on their safety concerns when the pilots and mtx have determined it's okay to do so? As far as I know, there's nothing in the 'workplace safety legislation' that covers this sort of refusal?

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  • How do the F/A's get away with refusing to board based on their safety concerns when the pilots and mtx have determined it's okay to do so? As far as I know, there's nothing in the 'workplace safety legislation' that covers this sort of refusal?

Get away with??

Most managers should be familiar with the labor code. In Canada, if you believe your health to be in jeopardy if you do do a certain task, you have the right to refuse. The FAs believe their health is at risk, maybe the pilots do not. At that point, it is a contentious issue. The burden of proving that the air quality is good, ends up in the hands of the employer. I imagine Health Canada could also be involved.

http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/labour/publications/health_safety/refuse/page00.shtml

On a technical basis, if oil were to go inside the ducting, the aircraft maintenance manual would have to be followed to address the problem. The process usually involves finding the source for the contamination, isolating the source, decontamination of the air cycle machine and associated ducting. The process is usually quite long. (at least a full shift and maybe even more depending on parts availability and how many contaminated parts are found). I have yet to see an AMM that permitted to just isolate the source and not go through the decontamination process.

The problem can originate from many causes...Sometimes the odor one would smell can be associated with other airplanes exhaust being sucked into the packs while on ground. Sometimes if ground equipment is parked to close to the apu inlet, you might get that stench. Other things that might cause a temporary odor problems are compressor washes. The engines are usually operated afterwards to clear the system of everything but sometimes the smell can be present for a brief period after the event. Ground air cooler contamination also does happen (it quite rare though...) Oil in the system is also a possibility.

We have no clue as to what they smelled and whether or not it was legit. Also of consideration are the main engines. If one were to leak oil into the compressor section, you would get a smell in flight. If the engine leaking was the one feeding the right pack (on most airplanes the right pack feeds mainly the cabin and the left pack feeds mainly the cockpit when both are operating), you could have a situation where the smell odor is only in the cabin and not in the cockpit. That having been said, as spectators to this whole show, we really do not have enough info to go on.

If they were stuck on an aircraft with a foul stench problem and when they reported it, it was dismissed, I can understand why they would have walked. I am sure due process will be followed and the health and safety department will address the issue.

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  • How do the F/A's get away with refusing to board based on their safety concerns when the pilots and mtx have determined it's okay to do so? As far as I know, there's nothing in the 'workplace safety legislation' that covers this sort of refusal?

Think about what you're saying for just a moment. The FA's life is in the hands of the pilot when the door closes but why would you think his/her pronouncements should prevail otherwise? Would you be so ready to abdicate responsibility for your own safety if you were en route to work in the back end?

I'm fairly certain that you can call to mind circumstances where an FA expressed a safety concern to a pilot; was told everything was "just fine"; and, of course, it wasn't.

Knee jerk deference by reference to position may be mandated in certain circumstances but remember--no one cares about you as much as you do (and your mother).

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I guess I wasn't very clear. My question was based on the fact that mtx cleared the aircraft for flight and the pilots accepted an 'airworthy' aircraft. So, how do the F/A's justify their fear when 'qualified' (mtx) people have made a technical conclusion that all's well?

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Oi..... :glare:

A few points... First, I guess, is that the oil we use is ultra hazardous (MobilJet 2)... inhalation of the vapour when it's cooking has been linked to some really ugly health problems. Nobody should be releasing the aircraft with oil in the pneumatic system. We're supposed to clean out the ducts as best we can, and then cook off what residual remains.... there's a few ways that can be done, but the best way is to run the beast at high power with packs on high flow until the odour is gone... unfortunately that takes time, and fuel.... (I once ran a 67 for about an hour at T/O pwr to accomplish that... unfortunately, that leaves us breathing the fumes, but that's better than the passengers getting it)

...and YES, for the umpteenth time, the smell is OFTEN reported as a "dirty socks" smell. (Boestar we haven't had coalescer bags in a long time.) Our 320's used to be famous for that very complaint until a few fixes to the APUs came along to eliminate the causes of oil getting in the ducts.

The F/A's were damned right. imho. ...I guess there are still lots of folks in both flt ops and mtc who don't know what the hazards are?

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A couple of questions:

1. Did passengers notice a smell? I didn't see anything in Gary Mason's tweets to suggest they did.

2. Why did one of the flight attendants consider it safe enough to join the three replacements and operate the flight, and why did the three replacements not consider it unsafe?

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A couple of questions:

1. Did passengers notice a smell? I didn't see anything in Gary Mason's tweets to suggest they did.

2. Why did one of the flight attendants consider it safe enough to join the three replacements and operate the flight, and why did the three replacements not consider it unsafe?

The pilots considered it safe enough. They breathe the same air.

Sorry , but this stinks.

AME signed off. Pilots were happy. What more did they want.

A few years ago we had a problem with one of our generators and had it repaired in Victoria. As we were getting ready to depart as the paperwork was being done up by the AME , one of the flight attendants announced that she no longer felt safe on the aircraft. I explained that the aircraft was serviceable as per the AME and that was good enough for me and my decision was we were going to carry on with or without her. What did she do?

When did flight attendants start telling AME's and pilots what is safe and what is not safe?

I have no problem with F/A 's bringing up what they see , smell or hear. I encourage it. We can investigate and deal with it together but when F/A's start running the program and cancelling flights because they " don't feel safe" despite the A-OK from highly trained AME's and pilots it would appear the inmates are running the asylum.

Edited by airt
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Perhaps they simply felt sick and left before it got worse? Anybody read this document?

http://www.aerotoxic.org/download/docs/news_and_articles/ACPA_fume_events_newsletter11.01.12.pdf

I recently worked a flight where I was the only one who didn't feel or smell anything, but this dirty sock smell was noticed by the others and they all felt ill by the time we landed. Maybe we all have different tolerances to this stuff.

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Perhaps they simply felt sick and left before it got worse? Anybody read this document?

http://www.aerotoxic...ter11.01.12.pdf

I recently worked a flight where I was the only one who didn't feel or smell anything, but this dirty sock smell was noticed by the others and they all felt ill by the time we landed. Maybe we all have different tolerances to this stuff.

You may be right. I hadn't thought of that. Not knowing all the facts , probably better not to pass judgement.

No doubt that the fumes are extremely toxic. Just google Bae-146 and toxic fumes...

It does still bring up a touchy subject though. Just where does one draw the line when it comes to safety? When management deals with events of this type , whose judgement and opinions prevails?

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Perhaps they simply felt sick and left before it got worse? Anybody read this document?

http://www.aerotoxic...ter11.01.12.pdf

I recently worked a flight where I was the only one who didn't feel or smell anything, but this dirty sock smell was noticed by the others and they all felt ill by the time we landed. Maybe we all have different tolerances to this stuff.

I asked two specific questions. Four attendants left. The passengers didn't even know the reason why they were delayed three hours. Then one of the four comes back to work the flight with three replacements. It had to be unsafe initially for everyone, and obvious to at least some passengers. If correct action was taken and three hours later the flight was a go for one of the original four plus the replacements, what in blue blazes happened to the original three who did not return to the flight?

Absent more information, something does indeed smell here.

Just as the pilots' right to book off when physically or mentally unable to work is a key safety provision that should be abused, so, too, the right to refuse unsafe work is something vital that should not be abused or taken lightly.

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When management deals with events of this type , whose judgement and opinions prevails?

I presume all AC labor agreements have joint health and safety committees, and the committee would have a go at it, it's not one-sided judgment.

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Guest rozar s'macco

Heartbeat on the street plus 6 weeks is now the "same standard as pilots?" What airline are you with?

The elephant everyone seems to be delicately dancing around is the labour climate at AC. Everything, every delay, concern, sickness, and irregularity is viewed by management as labour action, conversely many molehills are made into mountains by **bleep** off employees. There is no trust.

Smelly smell? So so so many layers to this type of event at AC. Is it real, is it safe, who knows?! The key is placing blame, so 17 managers will generate a 100-message email chain passing the buck. Will the actual cause be found? Nobody knows.

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If right to refuse was invoked, there will be an investigation involving the H & S committee which has equal representation from management and employees. A rep from HRSDC / TC will also be involved to ensure that the process was (and is) properly followed.

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Heartbeat on the street plus 6 weeks is now the "same standard as pilots?" What airline are you with?

Does minimizing others somehow enhance you? Why would you even think it necessary to make such a remark?

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