I remember well that night 17 years ago when TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed off the coast of Long Island, killing all aboard. I was settling down with some friends at my brother’s Manhattan apartment to watch a game between the Red Sox and their arch-rival Yankees when the game broadcast was interrupted by news that an airliner had crashed soon after takeoff from JFK International.
The recently issued FAA Notice JO 7110.616 “adds the detection of sulfur gases (H2S and SO2) in the aircraft cabin,” to questions briefers might ask pilots when soliciting for Pireps. H2S, also known as sewer gas, has the odor of rotten eggs, while SO2 is identifiable as the sharp, acrid odor of a freshly struck match. The FAA plans to report volcanic activity when pilots do not see an ash cloud but do smell sulfur gases within the cockpit and or cabin.