Aviation Investigation Report A98H0003

2.6.2  In-Flight Emergency Diversions

Swissair pilots were directed, through information provided in the Swissair General/Basics: Flight Crew Manual, to land at the nearest emergency airport if confronted with persistent smoke from an unknown source. These directions did not indicate that an emergency diversion was to be initiated immediately, or that any smoke should be assumed to be an in-flight fire until proven otherwise. Therefore, in the presence of smoke, crews were expected to classify the smoke, select the appropriate checklist, and divert the aircraft when warranted.

The SR 111 pilots quickly investigated the situation and made a timely decision to divert the flight, even though, based on the perceived cues, the situation was not classified as an emergency.

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