February 19, 2020, 11:43:15 am

Hot beverages in the cockpit

Started by Live2Learn, September 13, 2019, 03:36:00 pm

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Live2Learn

Opps, coffee can short out glass panels...  bad news in the cockpit... https://www.newsweek.com/pilot-spills-coffee-flight-plane-controls-melt-atlantic-1458943 The good news here is that the Captain's crotch wasn't scalded like the hapless McDonald's customer a few years ago.  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/mcdonalds-counts-the-cost-of-hot-hot-coffee-big-macs-naive-defence-crumbles-in-face-of-scalded-1446536.html

Think about it before opening your Yeti, Stanley, or bringing your steaming hot latte with you to sip after takeoff or during ground ops.

THRAWN

2 caffeine pills and a canteen. Leave the mocha soy latte on the deck.
Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
AFRCC SMC 10-97
NSS ISC 05-00
USAF SOS 2000
USAF ACSC 2011
US NWC 2016

PHall

They weren't using lids on the cups, which according to the article was within the airline's company policy, which is why they spilled.
The company has since changed the policy and now requires lids.

SarDragon

We used to have to deal with pilots and copilots using the SH-3 nav plotter as a coffee table. It was mounted horizontally in the center console, and had a glass face plate. At least once a month we would get a plotter sent in with coffee spilled into it, or even better, a cracked/broken face plate because someone had dropper their ceramic cup onto it. Oh, the joy of pouring coffee out of a piece of avionics.
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

Luis R. Ramos

I guess they never saw Fate is the Hunter. Coffee in the cockpit can lead to problems...
Squadron Safety Officer
Squadron Communication Officer
Squadron Emergency Services Officer

Live2Learn

Quote from: PHall on September 13, 2019, 08:27:55 pm
They weren't using lids on the cups, which according to the article was within the airline's company policy, which is why they spilled.
The company has since changed the policy and now requires lids.


Have you ever opened a sealed thermos or other similar container at altitude?  It can be very exciting.  FWIW, merely having a lid on the coffee cup is no more that an ineffective minor mitigation if the cup is dropped or if the PF suddenly needs both hands and focused attention. 

TheSkyHornet

Drinks in the flight deck are not a new issue. It's a very tough diplomatic fight.

Pilots want coffee. They want water. Telling them not to bring it is an uphill fight that no Chief Pilot wants to wage.

But on the other hand, coffee spills. It shortens out circuitry. It ruins displays. It gets everywhere and stains. Water bottles also spill. They get left behind as trash. And they get caught under the rudder pedals and can be catastrophic.

We've had this same discussion around the boardroom table multiple times. It's a no-win.

So weigh the risk: What is the severity level of a coffee spill, and what is the probability that this severe of an outcome will occur given 100 coffee spill events. Is it likely (say, 80% probable) that coffee spills will shorten out the flight deck and destroy your command of the aircraft? What risk controls are in place that, if you short-circuited the FMC or the comms stack, you can still manage to get the aircraft on the ground safely with minimal risk?

Topics like this need to be analyzed through the eyes of safety risk management process flow and not knee-jerk bans on beverages (which is what the general public will cry for).

SarDragon

As a former maintainer, I can add some commentary.

Black coffee isn't too bad. Cream and sugar are evil. When they dry out, they cause mechanical, as well as electrical, problems. The dried mung and drool inhibits switch action, obscures panel legends and lighting, and creates a general sticky mess that is almost impossible to totally clean up.

That said, anything wet around avionics is usually bad news.
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

PHall

That's why we had a rule in most of the units I flew with (EC/KC-135, KC-10, C-141), no liquids are passed over the center console.
Pass the cup on the outboard side of the pilot/co-pilot seats. And use the cup holders...