POST Online Media Lite Edition


Air investigation: EFB charger cable causes fumes event on Swiss Airbus A321

Christian Fernsby |
On 2 October 2018, the Airbus A321-111, registered as HB-IOC, departed from Zurich Airport (LSZH), bound for Malaga Airport (LEMG), Spain.

Article continues below


After the engines had been started, the flight crew noticed for a short while a smell of burnt rubber. After a brief discussion, the crew came to the conclusion that the smell must have come from outside.

Shortly afterwards the smell became less intense. For this reason the flight crew decided to continue the flight normally.

The flight took off from runway 16 at 07:34 UTC without any further incident. During the climb to the planned flight level (FL330), the same smell was again noticeable at 07:43 UTC at approximately FL150.

The flight crew described the smell as less intense than before on the ground and less constant. The flight crew assessed the situation as not critical at that time and decided to continue the flight normally for the time being.

They then asked the senior flight attendant to enter the cockpit, who was able to confirm the smell to the flight crew. It was agreed that the smell would disappear and the flight could be continued. As a precautionary measure, the flight crew decided to discontinue the service in the cabin so that a quick turnaround could be initiated if necessary.

When the smell intensified again, two more flight attendants were called into the cockpit. The first also detected a burnt rubber smell; the second described the smell as if metal was being welded nearby.

After the flight attendants had left the cockpit, the flight crew decided to abort the flight and return to Zurich. At this time the aircraft was in the Geneva area at FL276 and at 07:54 UTC the air traffic control was informed of the request to turn back due to technical problems.

An emergency message (Mayday) or a Pan-Pan was not sent. However, the crew requested a priority approach so that it would not be delayed. The airspeed was increased to 320 kt in the meantime.

After the passengers and the flight operator were informed of their decision, they discussed the mass of the aircraft which was too high for the upcoming landing.

The initial decision to burn the excess two tons of kerosene in a holding pattern was immediately discarded when the flight crew could smell the smell again when the aircraft began its descent; they decided to make a direct approach and an overweight landing.

Air Traffic Control was informed that the return was a precautionary measure and that the approach and landing would proceed normally, except for the overweight landing. The approach was flown as standard, with the speed below FL100 reduced to 250 kt.

During the entire flight no other checklists or procedures from the Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) were used except for the overweight landing procedure. The flight crew discussed the risks associated with odour and decided to put on oxygen masks at the first sign of deterioration, which remained unused for the rest of the flight.

After touchdown on runway 16 at 08:27 UTC, maximum thrust reverser and brakes were applied during coasting from a speed of about 70 kt. The flight crew was able to leave the runway via the second last taxiway and then taxi to the parking position.

The fire brigade, which had been called in by air traffic control, followed the aircraft already on the runway to the parking position. The fire brigade could not detect anything unusual about the aircraft from the outside and reported this to the flight crew while it was still taxiing.

After the engines were switched off, passengers could leave the aircraft normally.

Subsequently, the crew discovered that the computer's charger for the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) was not working properly.

The technical investigations revealed various possible sources for the smell of fire in the bleed air system, but no concrete findings. The available evidence points to the charger's charger cables for the EFB as the most likely source.

The investigators noted that the QRH emergency procedure "SMOKE/FUMES/AVNCS SMOKE" uses the term fumes (smell of burning, combustion gases) only in the title of the procedure, which pilots may tempt to use this method only in the presence of visible smoke.

From for this reason training in a simulator is of great importance, where the correct Interpretation and correct application of the various QRH procedures are explained to avoid any misunderstanding.

What to read next

First North America’s longest submarine electricity cables arrived
Surprising way Fox News makes you vote for Republican candidate
Swiss throw up plastic fence on Italy border

Heavy rainfall along U.S. eastern seaboard; dangerous heat wave shifting

A weak front with tropical moisture will be quasi-stationary over parts of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast through Sunday.


U.S. drillers cut oil and gas rigs to 584
Attorney General Ken Paxton stops Biden’s ban on liquified natural gas exports
Germany to cut Huawei, ZTE parts in 5G network from 2026
Ericsson Q2 sales down but North America up


U.S.: Dangerous heatwave

Severe thunderstorms across portions of U.S. Central Plains and Mississippi Valley; heat continues in Southern Plains
New Delhi airport roof collapses under heavy rain
Bulgaria: EPPO charges entrepreneur with fraud involving construction of dairy facility
Switzerland: Gotthard Base Tunnel on track to fully re-open in September
Heavy rain with flooding possible in southwest U.S. and upper Midwest; heat continues in east


Scotland secured record inward investment in 2023

Chinese seaport cities register soaring output of port economy in 2023
U.S. bankruptcies in June hit record high since 2020
Baker Hughes U.S. oil rig count unchanged at 479
EU-Kenya trade agreement comes into effect
U.S. drillers cut oil and gas rigs to 581

Trending Now

Attorney General Ken Paxton stops Biden’s ban on liquified natural gas exports

Heavy rainfall along U.S. eastern seaboard; dangerous heat wave shifting

Canada and Alberta supporting Alberta Beef Producers

EU allocates €77 million in emergency support to farmers in Austria, Czechia, Poland and Portugal


North Macedonia to take 500 million euros loan from Hungary

Under Secretary Fernandez travels to Japan and Indonesia
€10.82 billion French State aid scheme to support offshore wind energy
EU approves Lufthansa Group-ITA Airways deal, subject to conditions
Europe imposes duties on Chinese electric vehicles
Australia and New Zealand to fund critical undersea cable infrastructure for Tonga

Today We Recommend

U.S. bankruptcies in June hit record high since 2020


Ericsson Q2 sales down but North America up

North Macedonia to take 500 million euros loan from Hungary

BYD to build factory in Türkiye


APM Terminals Suape advances sustainable port operations with major investment in all-electric handling equipment

BYD to build factory in Türkiye
U.S. awards Moderna $176 mln for vaccine development amid bird flu outbreak
Robertshaw to close Trnava, Slovakia plant, plant assets available for sale
DOF Group to acquire Maersk Supply Service for $1.11 billion
CureVac sells COVID-19, flu vaccines to GSK amid restructuring


Africa Finance Corporation appoints executive director, financial services

Lindemann Metal Recycling: Markus Tandel named head of procurement and aftermarket
Travis Leonard joins Lockton as CFO
African Development Bank appoints director of statistics department
Azentio expands its leadership team with two new appointments
Afreximbank announces board changes


Eurozone reports modest Q1 GDP growth, stable annual inflation

Italy sees faster economic growth in Q1
Slovenia's economy expected to grow 0.9 pct in Q1
Italy faces deficit infringement procedure
Real GDP increased in all 50 U.S. states
Inflation continues to decline in Germany


Lockton revenue $3.55 billion

Motorcar Parts of America Q4 sales $189.5 million
Limoneira Q2 revenue $44.6 million
Lululemon athletica Q1 revenue increased 10% to $2.2 billion
PVH Q1 GAAP EBIT $205 million
Dollar General Q1 operating profit decreased 26.3%


Micromanaging is the worst enemy of efficiency and teamwork

Niger set to monetize massive gas reserves through Saharan natural gas pipeline
Putting the brakes on EV folly that choked the market
Oil discovery in Kavango Basin may mean huge benefits for Namibians
Cape Town and Dubai battle over Africa's energy future
Is America going to lose its superpower status?


Canada and Alberta supporting Alberta Beef Producers

EU allocates €77 million in emergency support to farmers in Austria, Czechia, Poland and Portugal
Brazil opened its market for Australian mutton and lamb
Hong Kong suspends import of poultry meat and products from areas in Australia and U.S.
World's first: Denmark to impose CO2 tax on livestock
Finland to start bird flu vaccinations for humans, in world first


Study finds workers misjudge wage markets

Some organizations may need to expand their hierarchical structures earlier than others
Study finds there's right way and wrong way to deliver negative feedback in workplace
Allyship is critical and its needs appreciation
Generating 'buzz' about new products can influence their success
Hiring 'problem directors' can knock up to 64% off firm's value


Italy issues $6.4 million fine over Chinese cars badged as Italian

EU Commission fines Mondelēz €337.5 million for cross-border trade restrictions
HSBC pays penalties for alleged breaches of Consumer Data Right rules
Sanofi to settle thousands of Zantac cancer lawsuits
Former asset manager and board member of Geneva private bank referred to Swiss Federal Criminal Court
South Africa: SAP ordered to pay SIU $26m over 'invalid' Eskom contracts



Radisson Hotel Group debuts in the heart of Tunisia’s capital city, Tunis

Morocco’s first Radisson branded hotel opens in Casablanca
Buna channels, an unreal and beautiful part of Bosnia and Herzegovina
JW Marriott unveils Mindful Haven with opening of JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi
Sotheby's Sports Week returns with fantastic artifacts
Red Roof properties open in Michigan


Citroën C3 Aircross, the most affordable compact SUV with 7 seats

2025 Chevrolet Equinox stands apart with fresh looks and capability
Hill Helicopters HX50, luxury in the sky
Opel Movano becomes fully equipped camper van
Porsche Panamera, new hybrid variants
Dodge Charger, 670 horsepower of electric


Cold night, hot fire pit, cool entertainment

Embellish your home with PVC panels
You'll have to hurry if you want one of 20 new Louis Vuitton watches
Luxury duvet looks good, fells good and keeps you healthy
Vacheron Constantin, watches for life and more
Schüller kitchens, where functionality marries design


MESA/Boogie Celebrates 40-year partnership with John Petrucci

reMarkable 2, monochrome tablet for your thoughts and your eyes
OnePlus Ace 3V, first with Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3
ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra, flagship with a reason
Samsung Galaxy S24 is photography powerhouse
Casette tapes are making a big comeback, and so are portable players


New Alzheimer's treatment approved by FDA

UK introduced new pregnancy prevention measures for topiramate (Topamax)
UK: People with HIV can now donate eggs or sperm to start family
EU health watchdog urges vaccinations to stem surge in Whooping Cough cases
Brazil resumes insulin production after two decades
India launches first home-grown gene therapy for cancer


India to build first phase of its own space station by 2028

Roscosmos chief approves schedule of creating Russian orbital station through 2033
Potentially habitable 'exo-Venus' with Earth-like temperature discovered
Rare species of wild bees discovered in Berlin
SLAC completes construction of largest digital camera ever built for astronomy
Solar eclipse next week in U.S., Mexico and Canada