A Condor captain’s spilled cup of coffee required the Cancun-bound A330 to divert to Shannon in February, according to a UK AAIB report released Thursday. The flight was over the Atlantic Ocean this February when the coffee came in contact with the captain’s audio control panel (ACP), disabling it and damaging the first officer’s ACP as well. The flight from Frankfurt to Cancun resumed the following day after new panels were installed.

Condor flight DE2116

DE2116 flight path
The flight path of DE2116

According to the UK AAIB report, the coffee was spilled at approximately 16:20 and resulted in the immediate failure of the captain’s ACP. Approximately 1 hour later, the first officer’s ACP also failed and the captain decided to divert to Shannon. The aircraft landed safely in Shannon at 19:14.

Put a lid on it

An example A330 flight deck with the ACP panels highlighted
The ACP panels highlighted in red on an example A330 flight deck

The investigation revealed the chain of events and decisions that resulted in the coffee being spilled. The coffee cup was delivered to the flight deck without a lid. Because of the small size of the cups used on Condor flights, the captain elected to place the coffee on his extended table (example shown in the image above) and not into the cup holder. Prior to fully consuming the coffee, the captain’s attention turned to his duties related to an upcoming waypoint. The coffee was subsequently spilled on the captain’s audio control panel (highlighted in red above) on the left side of the console.

According to the report, the failure of the ACPs resulted in communication difficulties, but the landing was accomplished without further incident.

The airline has since reiterated the use of lids for all cups and initiated sourcing for cups that properly fit into the A330’s cup holders.

Featured image © Daniel Klein

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