|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : zzz.airport|
|Altitude||agl single value : 0|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : sjc.tower|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||MD-80 Series (DC-9-80) Undifferentiated or Other Model|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||ground : parked|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
other flight crewb
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
Discovered during preflight and boarding that the L1 and R1 door windows were completely fogged over; totally obscured. Notified maintenance who came out to assess the condition. The maintenance person said this was pretty serious and the last time he saw this they took the airplane away to disassemble the door. He said something about a possible engineering order being reviewed. About 30-40 mins later the maintenance guy came back with an engineering order that stated in the preamble that 'this is not a safety of flight issue.' it then went on; on how the mechanic should do his procedure to determine the functionability of the windows (basically a visibility test). I thought this was a little late in the game as the conditions of the windows had changed from when the airplane first arrived. The edges were starting to clear and the center was becoming marginally clrer. I sought the input from my first officer and the lead flight attendant as to what they thought. I also sought guidance from the duty officer. In talking with the duty officer (after he called me back after he had a chance to get up to speed with the situation) he mentioned that he spoke with a flight attendant supervisor and they indicated that if the lead flight attendant was unable to assess the conditions from the porthole windows in the L1 and/or R1 doors that they are taught to go back to first class and look out the windows from there. I thought this was bad guidance with perspective from someone who only sits behind a desk. In a realistic unplanned evacuate/evacuation the lead flight attendant is going to be barely able to control the onslaught of folks wanting to get out the door they came in on (L1) let alone be able to get over to the (R1) door. You throw in any delays in assessing the outside conditions and it would be absolute pandemonium. Now you try telling those same panicked people to get back so the lead flight attendant can look out the first class windows -- it just isn't realistic. In discussing this amongst all the key players -- my first officer; the lead flight attendant and the mechanic -- we were all in complete agreement that we just weren't comfortable taking the jet in the condition knowing that after a 3+ hour flight that we would face the same exact cold soaked conditions with the windows on arrival. I listened to them as well as my little voice telling me that this just isn't right. With that I informed the gate agent to tell her that we would not accept the aircraft in its current condition and that I'd notify operations as well. We agreed to wait a few mins before informing the passenger to deplane. Operations informed us of an aircraft swap and we operated a few hours behind schedule.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: MD80 CAPT EXPLAINS A CABIN DOOR WINDOW VISIBILITY CONCERN.
Narrative: DISCOVERED DURING PREFLT AND BOARDING THAT THE L1 AND R1 DOOR WINDOWS WERE COMPLETELY FOGGED OVER; TOTALLY OBSCURED. NOTIFIED MAINT WHO CAME OUT TO ASSESS THE CONDITION. THE MAINT PERSON SAID THIS WAS PRETTY SERIOUS AND THE LAST TIME HE SAW THIS THEY TOOK THE AIRPLANE AWAY TO DISASSEMBLE THE DOOR. HE SAID SOMETHING ABOUT A POSSIBLE ENGINEERING ORDER BEING REVIEWED. ABOUT 30-40 MINS LATER THE MAINT GUY CAME BACK WITH AN ENGINEERING ORDER THAT STATED IN THE PREAMBLE THAT 'THIS IS NOT A SAFETY OF FLT ISSUE.' IT THEN WENT ON; ON HOW THE MECH SHOULD DO HIS PROC TO DETERMINE THE FUNCTIONABILITY OF THE WINDOWS (BASICALLY A VISIBILITY TEST). I THOUGHT THIS WAS A LITTLE LATE IN THE GAME AS THE CONDITIONS OF THE WINDOWS HAD CHANGED FROM WHEN THE AIRPLANE FIRST ARRIVED. THE EDGES WERE STARTING TO CLR AND THE CTR WAS BECOMING MARGINALLY CLRER. I SOUGHT THE INPUT FROM MY FO AND THE LEAD FLT ATTENDANT AS TO WHAT THEY THOUGHT. I ALSO SOUGHT GUIDANCE FROM THE DUTY OFFICER. IN TALKING WITH THE DUTY OFFICER (AFTER HE CALLED ME BACK AFTER HE HAD A CHANCE TO GET UP TO SPD WITH THE SITUATION) HE MENTIONED THAT HE SPOKE WITH A FLT ATTENDANT SUPVR AND THEY INDICATED THAT IF THE LEAD FLT ATTENDANT WAS UNABLE TO ASSESS THE CONDITIONS FROM THE PORTHOLE WINDOWS IN THE L1 AND/OR R1 DOORS THAT THEY ARE TAUGHT TO GO BACK TO FIRST CLASS AND LOOK OUT THE WINDOWS FROM THERE. I THOUGHT THIS WAS BAD GUIDANCE WITH PERSPECTIVE FROM SOMEONE WHO ONLY SITS BEHIND A DESK. IN A REALISTIC UNPLANNED EVAC THE LEAD FLT ATTENDANT IS GOING TO BE BARELY ABLE TO CTL THE ONSLAUGHT OF FOLKS WANTING TO GET OUT THE DOOR THEY CAME IN ON (L1) LET ALONE BE ABLE TO GET OVER TO THE (R1) DOOR. YOU THROW IN ANY DELAYS IN ASSESSING THE OUTSIDE CONDITIONS AND IT WOULD BE ABSOLUTE PANDEMONIUM. NOW YOU TRY TELLING THOSE SAME PANICKED PEOPLE TO GET BACK SO THE LEAD FLT ATTENDANT CAN LOOK OUT THE FIRST CLASS WINDOWS -- IT JUST ISN'T REALISTIC. IN DISCUSSING THIS AMONGST ALL THE KEY PLAYERS -- MY FO; THE LEAD FLT ATTENDANT AND THE MECH -- WE WERE ALL IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT THAT WE JUST WEREN'T COMFORTABLE TAKING THE JET IN THE CONDITION KNOWING THAT AFTER A 3+ HR FLT THAT WE WOULD FACE THE SAME EXACT COLD SOAKED CONDITIONS WITH THE WINDOWS ON ARR. I LISTENED TO THEM AS WELL AS MY LITTLE VOICE TELLING ME THAT THIS JUST ISN'T RIGHT. WITH THAT I INFORMED THE GATE AGENT TO TELL HER THAT WE WOULD NOT ACCEPT THE ACFT IN ITS CURRENT CONDITION AND THAT I'D NOTIFY OPS AS WELL. WE AGREED TO WAIT A FEW MINS BEFORE INFORMING THE PAX TO DEPLANE. OPS INFORMED US OF AN ACFT SWAP AND WE OPERATED A FEW HRS BEHIND SCHEDULE.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of January 2009 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.