|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|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||A320|
|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 attendant : on duty|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
maintenance problem : improper maintenance
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other other : 2|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : landed as precaution|
flight crew : landed in emergency condition
|Maintenance||contributing factor : non availability of parts|
contributing factor : schedule pressure
performance deficiency : repair
performance deficiency : unqualified personnel
performance deficiency : fault isolation
Maintenance Human Performance
Cabin Crew Human Performance
I am combining 2 separate incidents into 1 report. As you will see; the first incident relates to the second. The day before the flts in question; my first officer and I coincidentally ran into our flight attendants at the hotel while on the layover. We introduced ourselves and discovered we would be flying out in the morning together. The purser told us a story about a flight they had just had earlier that day. The story went on about how they had an aircraft on the ground at ZZZ1; experienced significant flooding from the aft lavatory. The water (it appeared potable) went forward all the way to row 20 flowing out doors 2L and right and gushing out the drain valves under the jet. As we listened to her story we could begin to tell by the tone and animation of her voice that this was a fairly significant event and she was not pleased with the outcome. It wasn't until she showed me the pictures she had taken with her cell phone; that I too realized this was significant flooding. The next morning we reported to the jet. As we are doing our preflight duties; the purser comes forward and tells me this is the same aircraft from the day before and the carpet in the back half of the airplane is still very wet. I went back to look and it was so wet I almost slipped to the floor. I went forward and called maintenance to check on the status of the airplane. While he was looking up the log history; I started the APU and pressurized the manifold. Less than 1 min later; the flight attendants come running forward telling us the aft lavatory has water pouring out into the aisles. I go back to look and it was doing the exact same thing she had described to me from her story about the day before. I run back to the cockpit and turn off the APU but the water continued to flow for almost 20 mins. It went everywhere! It went through the floor and was running overboard through the drain holes. There was a very large amount accumulating on the ramp. I wish I could estimate accurately the amount of water in question. It was not a puddle of water; more like a kiddie pool full of water spread out. I called maintenance control and advise them of the situation. Contract maintenance is on the way he says. They are able to isolate the leak in the toilet and close it off. They do a cursory check of the affected area's flooring. They vacuum up as much of the standing water as they can. They did the minimum required to sign this airplane off. I still had major concerns about where all that water went; down below inside of the aircraft. The flight attendants had major concerns about safety with how slippery the carpet was in the back half of the airplane. They had witnessed people slip the day before when they took it in that condition. Ultimately; they were concerned that in an emergency evacuate/evacuation; it would have a negative effect on a successful evacuate/evacuation using the aft exit doors. After consulting with the entire crew; I advised operations I was refusing to fly this aircraft in this condition. I believed panels needed to be removed to actually see if we had a bigger problem. What other system down below could be affected? I was concerned about wiring; hydraulic lines and actuators; pneumatic manifolds; and whatever else is down below being exposed to all that water. What happens if we go up to altitude and the water freezes around these components? Could there be a weight and balance center of gravity problem? Could there be icing in the electrical system? I didn't know the answers to those questions; so in the interest of the safety of my crew; my passenger; and myself; I refused to fly the aircraft until further inspections were made. I called a flight manager to discuss the situation and my concerns. He said he would look into it and get back to me. He called me back and said the plane will be taken OTS and panels would be removed with further inspections made. A couple of hours later and after lengthy discussions with maintenance about the system in question and the findings by maintenance; I and the first officer agreed the plane was worthy enough to ferry back to a maintenance base. Everything was normal about the preflight; taxi; and takeoff.first officer was PF. While climbing through 10000 ft I felt and heard; a loud bam; bam; bam; bam in the floor below us. It was not a normal sound or feel for that phase of flight. It got my attention. I asked the first officer if he felt it? Over the next 10+ mins this continued with random and varying occurrence and intensity. We had no idea what it was. We could not rationally explain it. All other cockpit indications were normal. The nose gear and east&east compartment are below us. I couldn't think of anything going on in there that would cause this. I'm thinking how there should be nothing in the cargo pits. This is a ferry flight and I did the walkaround and saw absolutely nothing in them. Were there straps in the pits just banging off the walls? It was too loud and heavy of a feel for that. Now I'm starting to wonder about the flooding conditions from earlier. I went to the back of the jet and made a cabin inspection and everything was normal. Then I am wondering if there is someone trapped in the pit who is banging on the floor. The first officer and I were discussing it when I finally sent out a 'call me' to dispatch. I figured it was time to talk to maintenance control. We were now being cleared into the higher flight levels by ATC. You couldn't ignore it. It continued without predictability to deck angle; turns; speed changes; any variable we tried to associate with it. Passing FL240; I looked over to the first officer and said I think we need to get it on the ground. He was thinking the same thing. Our level of concern had risen high enough at this point. I advised center that we would like to return to ZZZ. They asked for the reason. I explained and they asked if I was declaring an emergency? I said not at this point; but only as a precaution. Needless to say; once they started to work us back in; they advised me they were treating us as an emergency and therefore we were. I didn't argue as I just wanted it on the ground. Throughout all of this maneuvering; the first officer said it felt normal in the controls. Everything else about the approach and landing was normal. The fire and rescue folks were waiting. After clearing the runway and getting an all clear to taxi; we taxied to the gate. After engine shutdown; parking checklist; and ferry checklist the fire chief came on board the aircraft. He said 'good job skipper.' I thanked them for their service and asked how it looked outside. He replied 'it looks good; but you may want to come look at this.' I followed him downstairs as he walked to the forward cargo door which was open by now. There in the middle of the pit was a very large; hard-sided; steel-molded parts container. It was not secured or anchored down. It was roughly 2 by 3 by 2 ft in size weighing who knows how much? From reading the placards on the side; it appeared to be the faulty toilet components that had been removed which caused the flooding earlier in the day. I believe that explains what happened; but how did this happen? If we had done a high speed abort or encountered serious turbulence; then what kind of report would I be writing?
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A320 EXPERIENCES FLOODING FROM AFT LAV INTO CABIN AND BELOW DECKS. SUBSEQUENT FERRY FLT FOR MAINT EXPERIENCES LOUD BANGING BELOW DECKS LATER FOUND TO BE LOOSE TOILET COMPONENTS FROM TEMPORARY MAINT OF FLOODING CONDITION.
Narrative: I AM COMBINING 2 SEPARATE INCIDENTS INTO 1 RPT. AS YOU WILL SEE; THE FIRST INCIDENT RELATES TO THE SECOND. THE DAY BEFORE THE FLTS IN QUESTION; MY FO AND I COINCIDENTALLY RAN INTO OUR FLT ATTENDANTS AT THE HOTEL WHILE ON THE LAYOVER. WE INTRODUCED OURSELVES AND DISCOVERED WE WOULD BE FLYING OUT IN THE MORNING TOGETHER. THE PURSER TOLD US A STORY ABOUT A FLT THEY HAD JUST HAD EARLIER THAT DAY. THE STORY WENT ON ABOUT HOW THEY HAD AN ACFT ON THE GND AT ZZZ1; EXPERIENCED SIGNIFICANT FLOODING FROM THE AFT LAVATORY. THE WATER (IT APPEARED POTABLE) WENT FORWARD ALL THE WAY TO ROW 20 FLOWING OUT DOORS 2L AND R AND GUSHING OUT THE DRAIN VALVES UNDER THE JET. AS WE LISTENED TO HER STORY WE COULD BEGIN TO TELL BY THE TONE AND ANIMATION OF HER VOICE THAT THIS WAS A FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT EVENT AND SHE WAS NOT PLEASED WITH THE OUTCOME. IT WASN'T UNTIL SHE SHOWED ME THE PICTURES SHE HAD TAKEN WITH HER CELL PHONE; THAT I TOO REALIZED THIS WAS SIGNIFICANT FLOODING. THE NEXT MORNING WE RPTED TO THE JET. AS WE ARE DOING OUR PREFLT DUTIES; THE PURSER COMES FORWARD AND TELLS ME THIS IS THE SAME ACFT FROM THE DAY BEFORE AND THE CARPET IN THE BACK HALF OF THE AIRPLANE IS STILL VERY WET. I WENT BACK TO LOOK AND IT WAS SO WET I ALMOST SLIPPED TO THE FLOOR. I WENT FORWARD AND CALLED MAINT TO CHK ON THE STATUS OF THE AIRPLANE. WHILE HE WAS LOOKING UP THE LOG HISTORY; I STARTED THE APU AND PRESSURIZED THE MANIFOLD. LESS THAN 1 MIN LATER; THE FLT ATTENDANTS COME RUNNING FORWARD TELLING US THE AFT LAVATORY HAS WATER POURING OUT INTO THE AISLES. I GO BACK TO LOOK AND IT WAS DOING THE EXACT SAME THING SHE HAD DESCRIBED TO ME FROM HER STORY ABOUT THE DAY BEFORE. I RUN BACK TO THE COCKPIT AND TURN OFF THE APU BUT THE WATER CONTINUED TO FLOW FOR ALMOST 20 MINS. IT WENT EVERYWHERE! IT WENT THROUGH THE FLOOR AND WAS RUNNING OVERBOARD THROUGH THE DRAIN HOLES. THERE WAS A VERY LARGE AMOUNT ACCUMULATING ON THE RAMP. I WISH I COULD ESTIMATE ACCURATELY THE AMOUNT OF WATER IN QUESTION. IT WAS NOT A PUDDLE OF WATER; MORE LIKE A KIDDIE POOL FULL OF WATER SPREAD OUT. I CALLED MAINT CTL AND ADVISE THEM OF THE SITUATION. CONTRACT MAINT IS ON THE WAY HE SAYS. THEY ARE ABLE TO ISOLATE THE LEAK IN THE TOILET AND CLOSE IT OFF. THEY DO A CURSORY CHK OF THE AFFECTED AREA'S FLOORING. THEY VACUUM UP AS MUCH OF THE STANDING WATER AS THEY CAN. THEY DID THE MINIMUM REQUIRED TO SIGN THIS AIRPLANE OFF. I STILL HAD MAJOR CONCERNS ABOUT WHERE ALL THAT WATER WENT; DOWN BELOW INSIDE OF THE ACFT. THE FLT ATTENDANTS HAD MAJOR CONCERNS ABOUT SAFETY WITH HOW SLIPPERY THE CARPET WAS IN THE BACK HALF OF THE AIRPLANE. THEY HAD WITNESSED PEOPLE SLIP THE DAY BEFORE WHEN THEY TOOK IT IN THAT CONDITION. ULTIMATELY; THEY WERE CONCERNED THAT IN AN EMER EVAC; IT WOULD HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON A SUCCESSFUL EVAC USING THE AFT EXIT DOORS. AFTER CONSULTING WITH THE ENTIRE CREW; I ADVISED OPS I WAS REFUSING TO FLY THIS ACFT IN THIS CONDITION. I BELIEVED PANELS NEEDED TO BE REMOVED TO ACTUALLY SEE IF WE HAD A BIGGER PROB. WHAT OTHER SYS DOWN BELOW COULD BE AFFECTED? I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT WIRING; HYD LINES AND ACTUATORS; PNEUMATIC MANIFOLDS; AND WHATEVER ELSE IS DOWN BELOW BEING EXPOSED TO ALL THAT WATER. WHAT HAPPENS IF WE GO UP TO ALT AND THE WATER FREEZES AROUND THESE COMPONENTS? COULD THERE BE A WT AND BAL CTR OF GRAVITY PROB? COULD THERE BE ICING IN THE ELECTRICAL SYS? I DIDN'T KNOW THE ANSWERS TO THOSE QUESTIONS; SO IN THE INTEREST OF THE SAFETY OF MY CREW; MY PAX; AND MYSELF; I REFUSED TO FLY THE ACFT UNTIL FURTHER INSPECTIONS WERE MADE. I CALLED A FLT MGR TO DISCUSS THE SITUATION AND MY CONCERNS. HE SAID HE WOULD LOOK INTO IT AND GET BACK TO ME. HE CALLED ME BACK AND SAID THE PLANE WILL BE TAKEN OTS AND PANELS WOULD BE REMOVED WITH FURTHER INSPECTIONS MADE. A COUPLE OF HRS LATER AND AFTER LENGTHY DISCUSSIONS WITH MAINT ABOUT THE SYS IN QUESTION AND THE FINDINGS BY MAINT; I AND THE FO AGREED THE PLANE WAS WORTHY ENOUGH TO FERRY BACK TO A MAINT BASE. EVERYTHING WAS NORMAL ABOUT THE PREFLT; TAXI; AND TKOF.FO WAS PF. WHILE CLBING THROUGH 10000 FT I FELT AND HEARD; A LOUD BAM; BAM; BAM; BAM IN THE FLOOR BELOW US. IT WAS NOT A NORMAL SOUND OR FEEL FOR THAT PHASE OF FLT. IT GOT MY ATTN. I ASKED THE FO IF HE FELT IT? OVER THE NEXT 10+ MINS THIS CONTINUED WITH RANDOM AND VARYING OCCURRENCE AND INTENSITY. WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS. WE COULD NOT RATIONALLY EXPLAIN IT. ALL OTHER COCKPIT INDICATIONS WERE NORMAL. THE NOSE GEAR AND E&E COMPARTMENT ARE BELOW US. I COULDN'T THINK OF ANYTHING GOING ON IN THERE THAT WOULD CAUSE THIS. I'M THINKING HOW THERE SHOULD BE NOTHING IN THE CARGO PITS. THIS IS A FERRY FLT AND I DID THE WALKAROUND AND SAW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THEM. WERE THERE STRAPS IN THE PITS JUST BANGING OFF THE WALLS? IT WAS TOO LOUD AND HVY OF A FEEL FOR THAT. NOW I'M STARTING TO WONDER ABOUT THE FLOODING CONDITIONS FROM EARLIER. I WENT TO THE BACK OF THE JET AND MADE A CABIN INSPECTION AND EVERYTHING WAS NORMAL. THEN I AM WONDERING IF THERE IS SOMEONE TRAPPED IN THE PIT WHO IS BANGING ON THE FLOOR. THE FO AND I WERE DISCUSSING IT WHEN I FINALLY SENT OUT A 'CALL ME' TO DISPATCH. I FIGURED IT WAS TIME TO TALK TO MAINT CTL. WE WERE NOW BEING CLRED INTO THE HIGHER FLT LEVELS BY ATC. YOU COULDN'T IGNORE IT. IT CONTINUED WITHOUT PREDICTABILITY TO DECK ANGLE; TURNS; SPD CHANGES; ANY VARIABLE WE TRIED TO ASSOCIATE WITH IT. PASSING FL240; I LOOKED OVER TO THE FO AND SAID I THINK WE NEED TO GET IT ON THE GND. HE WAS THINKING THE SAME THING. OUR LEVEL OF CONCERN HAD RISEN HIGH ENOUGH AT THIS POINT. I ADVISED CTR THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO RETURN TO ZZZ. THEY ASKED FOR THE REASON. I EXPLAINED AND THEY ASKED IF I WAS DECLARING AN EMER? I SAID NOT AT THIS POINT; BUT ONLY AS A PRECAUTION. NEEDLESS TO SAY; ONCE THEY STARTED TO WORK US BACK IN; THEY ADVISED ME THEY WERE TREATING US AS AN EMER AND THEREFORE WE WERE. I DIDN'T ARGUE AS I JUST WANTED IT ON THE GND. THROUGHOUT ALL OF THIS MANEUVERING; THE FO SAID IT FELT NORMAL IN THE CTLS. EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT THE APCH AND LNDG WAS NORMAL. THE FIRE AND RESCUE FOLKS WERE WAITING. AFTER CLRING THE RWY AND GETTING AN ALL CLR TO TAXI; WE TAXIED TO THE GATE. AFTER ENG SHUTDOWN; PARKING CHKLIST; AND FERRY CHKLIST THE FIRE CHIEF CAME ON BOARD THE ACFT. HE SAID 'GOOD JOB SKIPPER.' I THANKED THEM FOR THEIR SVC AND ASKED HOW IT LOOKED OUTSIDE. HE REPLIED 'IT LOOKS GOOD; BUT YOU MAY WANT TO COME LOOK AT THIS.' I FOLLOWED HIM DOWNSTAIRS AS HE WALKED TO THE FORWARD CARGO DOOR WHICH WAS OPEN BY NOW. THERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PIT WAS A VERY LARGE; HARD-SIDED; STEEL-MOLDED PARTS CONTAINER. IT WAS NOT SECURED OR ANCHORED DOWN. IT WAS ROUGHLY 2 BY 3 BY 2 FT IN SIZE WEIGHING WHO KNOWS HOW MUCH? FROM READING THE PLACARDS ON THE SIDE; IT APPEARED TO BE THE FAULTY TOILET COMPONENTS THAT HAD BEEN REMOVED WHICH CAUSED THE FLOODING EARLIER IN THE DAY. I BELIEVE THAT EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED; BUT HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? IF WE HAD DONE A HIGH SPD ABORT OR ENCOUNTERED SERIOUS TURB; THEN WHAT KIND OF RPT WOULD I BE WRITING?
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.