You’ve all seen the movies (some of them comedy, some of them drama) where a crisis on an aicraft flight deck leads the cabin crew to put out urgent appeals for a pilot or a doctor. There has not yet, however, been a movie where the aircraft crew need assistance from a plumber.
Yet truth can be stranger than fiction. It was a plumbing problem that very nearly caused an air transport disaster according to a report issued this week.
It reports on an incident of nearly three years ago where a blocked drain in the toilet on a Qantas Boeing 747 led to a flood that knocked out the aircraft’s radar, cabin pressurisation, auto-pilot, auto-throttle and some fuel pumps. The pilots succeeded in landing the plane safely just minutes before (investigators say) the flood would have also disabled the plane’s communications, air speed, altitude and heading displays, warning systems, navigation and engine instrumentation.
In most circumstances , if you have a plumbing emergency, you can call Drain Doctor (telephone 0800 70 71 72 or visit www.draindoctor.co.uk). If you are a few thousand metres up in the air over Bangkok, however, you just better hope that there is Drain Doctor on board.