An aircraft flying over the Atlantic had to redirect after a pilot spilled his coffee in the cockpit and damaged sound control panel.
The Condor-powered Airbus A330-243 flew 326 passengers from Frankfurt, Germany, to Cancun, Mexico, when cabin crew gave the pilot a coffee without a lid, according to a report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).
Airbus reportedly recommends pilots to use the provided cup holders for drinks, but the AAIB study found that the Condor pilot, who had 13,135 hours of flying experience, left his coffee cup on a board table. The cup was not in place, and the coffee spilled on the pilot's lap and on the sound control panels.
The spill "resulted in instant malfunction." And about 40 minutes after the spill, an audio control unit became very hot and failed, and there was an electric burning smell in the cockpit, "according to the report.
About 20 minutes later, the audio control unit on the co-pilot side" was hot enough to begin to melt one of the buttons and failed ”and a“ small amount of smoke from ”the control unit that had failed first was observed.
At that time the pilot made the decision to divert the aircraft to Ireland. The flight crew used extra oxygen for the remainder of the flight, and the pilots had difficulty sending or receiving transmissions due to damage to the sound control panels.
"Flight DE2116 from Frankfurt to Cancun on February 6, 2019, turned over to Shannon Airport as a precautionary measure due to a smaller amount of smoke in the cockpit for liquor spills," a Condor spokesman told Gizmodo, in a statement. “After the aircraft was fully inspected and repaired by our team of engineers, the aircraft continued via Manchester due to the crew's legal hours of operation. As safety is always our top priority, we have thoroughly investigated this incident and reviewed the procedures for cockpit fluids. "
The spokesman continued," Our crews were reminded of careful handling as well as using appropriate containers for their water or coffee. "