Leeds United's plane was 'rapidly disembarked' after pilots smelled smoke in the cockpit on landing

Leeds Bradford Airport
Fire crews were called to the plane but service at Leeds Bradford Airport "resumed quickly".

A plane taking the Leeds United football team home after a Premier League game underwent a "rapid disembarkation" on the runway after the pilots smelled smoke, a report has said.

The privately-chartered plane - operated by Eastern Airways - was carrying 41 passengers and four crew when it landed at Leeds Bradford Airport following the Whites' 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on 9 October 2022.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

A report published by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said an electrical fault was indicated while the plane was slowing down on the runway.

After the flight crew smelled smoke, they decided to "initiate a rapid disembarkation on the runway" once the plane had stopped instead of taxiing to the terminal.

The report says the crew specifically chose not to call for a full evacuation to "avoid any panic" it might cause.

It stated that the main difference is that the "emergency exits are not used in a rapid disembarkation" - only the normal boarding doors are used. The pilots considered there would have been an "increased risk of injuries" through using the emergency exits.

The source of the smell was identified as a failure of a static inverter on the aircraft - a device which converts direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC).

The report says the manufacturer had previously identified 42 instances of "smoke or a smell of smoke" where the cause was the failure of a static inverter, and that both of the devices on the plane had a known potential fault.

This had been communicated to Eastern Airways through a technical report, but the operator had not seen it ahead of the flight.

The AAIB's report said Eastern Airways had "introduced new procedures" toensure future reports of the same nature would be "treated as safety bulletins".

At the time of the incident fire crews were called to the plane, but a spokesperson for the airport said normal services "resumed quickly."

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