|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : bff|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 33000|
msl bound upper : 33000
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zdv|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Large Transport, Low Wing, 3 Turbojet Eng|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Route In Use||enroute airway : j94|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Experience||flight time total : 14000|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : instrument
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : detected after the fact|
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
I went into the cabin to use the forward blue room. Because it was occupied, I waited outside by forward entrance door for what seemed like a very long time for occupant to vacate the blue room. Finally, a male passenger, about age 25 with dark, receding hairline and dressed sloppily in a white shirt, came out. I immediately stepped in the blue room and noticed a very strong, pungent, sweet odor unlike anything I had smelled before. After I used the facs, I noticed that the entire smoke detector had been covered over with wet paper hand towels. Since I suspected that the passenger had been in the blue room smoking marijuana, I asked the #1 flight attendant to inspect the blue room and note that the smoke detector had been tampered with. I also asked her if she had also noticed which passenger had been in the blue room before me. She told me that she knew which one it was and eventually gave me his seat # as in the coach cabin. I also requested the second officer to inspect the blue room. Since a few mins had passed since I first went in there and I had kept the door opened, the second officer could not verify the odor I had smelled. However, while the second officer was still in the cabin discussing this matter with the #1 flight attendant. The same passenger in came forward and went back into the blue room and after a short time came out. Upon re-inspection of the blue room, the second officer and the #1 flight attendant discovered that the wet paper hand towels had been removed from the smoke detector. I then asked the #1 flight attendant to observe the suspect passenger and report to me any other misconduct. She later told me that he had been drinking and appeared intoxicated and that he was not being served anymore alcoholic drinks. I reviewed fom (passenger misconduct and commission of a crime) and in compliance I called chidd sector 31. We initially attempted contact through the use of ACARS, but after about 3 tries and no response, a request via commercial radio operator and a long wait, I reported the details to dispatch. Since I did not actually observe that a crime had been committed, I only reported my own observations and suggested to the dispatcher that he should also consult the fom & take appropriate action. I did not request law enforcement to meet the flight. Later in descent about 30-40 mi from ord, dispatcher selcaled us and advised that local and fbi law enforcement officers would meet the flight. Because we were busy on the approach. We forgot to advise the #1 flight attendant that law enforcement would meet the flight so she was surprised by that when we blocked in at gate. The passenger service rep came into the cockpit and asked me to sign a criminal complaint and she also asked the #1 flight attendant to do so. However, neither I nor the #1 flight attendant would sign the complaint because we did not actually see the crime committed and of concern for potential personal liability repercussions. However, I told the passenger service rep that I would gladly describe my own personal observations and facts as I knew them and submit this report as required and any other requested by investigators. She then told me that by my refusal to sign the complaint, the law enforcement officer would have to let the suspect passenger go free, which was not a problem for me since I did not request that he be arrested in the first place. As I left the aircraft, nobody was there to ask me any questions, so I considered the matter closed except for this written report. A maintenance item was entered in the aircraft log book so that the smoke detector would be checked for proper operation. Apparently the wet towels are an effective means of disabling the smoke detectors in the blue room's since the at one did not sound an alarm (assuming marijuana smoke in sufficient amount). It also has occurred to me that a simple thin, plastic wrap or shower cap with a rubber band placed around the smoke detector would disable it for anyone wanting to smoke in the blue rooms. These type of smoke detectors may not be sufficient determine to those who would break the law and put us all at risk with an in-flight fire in the blue rooms just to satisfy their selfish craving. Smoke detectors should not be accessible to passenger.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: PASSENGER DEACTIVATED SMOKE ALARM IN BLUE ROOM.
Narrative: I WENT INTO THE CABIN TO USE THE FORWARD BLUE ROOM. BECAUSE IT WAS OCCUPIED, I WAITED OUTSIDE BY FORWARD ENTRANCE DOOR FOR WHAT SEEMED LIKE A VERY LONG TIME FOR OCCUPANT TO VACATE THE BLUE ROOM. FINALLY, A MALE PAX, ABOUT AGE 25 WITH DARK, RECEDING HAIRLINE AND DRESSED SLOPPILY IN A WHITE SHIRT, CAME OUT. I IMMEDIATELY STEPPED IN THE BLUE ROOM AND NOTICED A VERY STRONG, PUNGENT, SWEET ODOR UNLIKE ANYTHING I HAD SMELLED BEFORE. AFTER I USED THE FACS, I NOTICED THAT THE ENTIRE SMOKE DETECTOR HAD BEEN COVERED OVER WITH WET PAPER HAND TOWELS. SINCE I SUSPECTED THAT THE PAX HAD BEEN IN THE BLUE ROOM SMOKING MARIJUANA, I ASKED THE #1 FA TO INSPECT THE BLUE ROOM AND NOTE THAT THE SMOKE DETECTOR HAD BEEN TAMPERED WITH. I ALSO ASKED HER IF SHE HAD ALSO NOTICED WHICH PAX HAD BEEN IN THE BLUE ROOM BEFORE ME. SHE TOLD ME THAT SHE KNEW WHICH ONE IT WAS AND EVENTUALLY GAVE ME HIS SEAT # AS IN THE COACH CABIN. I ALSO REQUESTED THE S/O TO INSPECT THE BLUE ROOM. SINCE A FEW MINS HAD PASSED SINCE I FIRST WENT IN THERE AND I HAD KEPT THE DOOR OPENED, THE S/O COULD NOT VERIFY THE ODOR I HAD SMELLED. HOWEVER, WHILE THE S/O WAS STILL IN THE CABIN DISCUSSING THIS MATTER WITH THE #1 FA. THE SAME PAX IN CAME FORWARD AND WENT BACK INTO THE BLUE ROOM AND AFTER A SHORT TIME CAME OUT. UPON RE-INSPECTION OF THE BLUE ROOM, THE S/O AND THE #1 FA DISCOVERED THAT THE WET PAPER HAND TOWELS HAD BEEN REMOVED FROM THE SMOKE DETECTOR. I THEN ASKED THE #1 FA TO OBSERVE THE SUSPECT PAX AND RPT TO ME ANY OTHER MISCONDUCT. SHE LATER TOLD ME THAT HE HAD BEEN DRINKING AND APPEARED INTOXICATED AND THAT HE WAS NOT BEING SERVED ANYMORE ALCOHOLIC DRINKS. I REVIEWED FOM (PAX MISCONDUCT AND COMMISSION OF A CRIME) AND IN COMPLIANCE I CALLED CHIDD SECTOR 31. WE INITIALLY ATTEMPTED CONTACT THROUGH THE USE OF ACARS, BUT AFTER ABOUT 3 TRIES AND NO RESPONSE, A REQUEST VIA COMMERCIAL RADIO OPERATOR AND A LONG WAIT, I RPTED THE DETAILS TO DISPATCH. SINCE I DID NOT ACTUALLY OBSERVE THAT A CRIME HAD BEEN COMMITTED, I ONLY RPTED MY OWN OBSERVATIONS AND SUGGESTED TO THE DISPATCHER THAT HE SHOULD ALSO CONSULT THE FOM & TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION. I DID NOT REQUEST LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MEET THE FLT. LATER IN DSCNT ABOUT 30-40 MI FROM ORD, DISPATCHER SELCALED US AND ADVISED THAT LCL AND FBI LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WOULD MEET THE FLT. BECAUSE WE WERE BUSY ON THE APCH. WE FORGOT TO ADVISE THE #1 FA THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT WOULD MEET THE FLT SO SHE WAS SURPRISED BY THAT WHEN WE BLOCKED IN AT GATE. THE PAX SVC REP CAME INTO THE COCKPIT AND ASKED ME TO SIGN A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AND SHE ALSO ASKED THE #1 FA TO DO SO. HOWEVER, NEITHER I NOR THE #1 FA WOULD SIGN THE COMPLAINT BECAUSE WE DID NOT ACTUALLY SEE THE CRIME COMMITTED AND OF CONCERN FOR POTENTIAL PERSONAL LIABILITY REPERCUSSIONS. HOWEVER, I TOLD THE PAX SVC REP THAT I WOULD GLADLY DESCRIBE MY OWN PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS AND FACTS AS I KNEW THEM AND SUBMIT THIS RPT AS REQUIRED AND ANY OTHER REQUESTED BY INVESTIGATORS. SHE THEN TOLD ME THAT BY MY REFUSAL TO SIGN THE COMPLAINT, THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER WOULD HAVE TO LET THE SUSPECT PAX GO FREE, WHICH WAS NOT A PROB FOR ME SINCE I DID NOT REQUEST THAT HE BE ARRESTED IN THE FIRST PLACE. AS I LEFT THE ACFT, NOBODY WAS THERE TO ASK ME ANY QUESTIONS, SO I CONSIDERED THE MATTER CLOSED EXCEPT FOR THIS WRITTEN RPT. A MAINT ITEM WAS ENTERED IN THE ACFT LOG BOOK SO THAT THE SMOKE DETECTOR WOULD BE CHKED FOR PROPER OPERATION. APPARENTLY THE WET TOWELS ARE AN EFFECTIVE MEANS OF DISABLING THE SMOKE DETECTORS IN THE BLUE ROOM'S SINCE THE AT ONE DID NOT SOUND AN ALARM (ASSUMING MARIJUANA SMOKE IN SUFFICIENT AMOUNT). IT ALSO HAS OCCURRED TO ME THAT A SIMPLE THIN, PLASTIC WRAP OR SHOWER CAP WITH A RUBBER BAND PLACED AROUND THE SMOKE DETECTOR WOULD DISABLE IT FOR ANYONE WANTING TO SMOKE IN THE BLUE ROOMS. THESE TYPE OF SMOKE DETECTORS MAY NOT BE SUFFICIENT DETERMINE TO THOSE WHO WOULD BREAK THE LAW AND PUT US ALL AT RISK WITH AN INFLT FIRE IN THE BLUE ROOMS JUST TO SATISFY THEIR SELFISH CRAVING. SMOKE DETECTORS SHOULD NOT BE ACCESSIBLE TO PAX.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 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.