A QantasLink Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop aircraft, similar to the one involved the incident.
A QantasLink Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop aircraft, similar to the one involved the incident.

Cockpit filled with smoke on regional Qantas flight

A COCKPIT of a QantasLink aircraft filled up with smoke as it was about to land at Adelaide Airport with 50 passengers and crew aboard, it emerged after a safety probe into the incident.

The pilots on a QantasLink Bombardier flight from Port Lincoln to Adelaide reported fumes in the cockpit only 60 seconds from touchdown at an altitude of 70m.

The passengers were forced to emergency exit the aircraft after it had landed at 3.50pm on June 23.

The Australian Safety Transport Bureau on Wednesday released their findings into the plane drama, blaming a faulty control panel switch.

It reported that at 3.49pm, the first officer, who was flying the aircraft at the time, noticed fumes in the cockpit about a minute from landing.

Both pilots smelt "electrical burning" and saw light grey smoke coming from a switch on the control panel.

The captain instructed the first officer to focus on the landing, while he contacted air traffic control to request emergency services.

A 'PAN' call was made, which recognised an urgent condition which concerns the safety of the aircraft or its occupants - but the flight crew does not require immediate assistance.

The aircraft stopped and shut down on the taxiway after landing while the pilots donned oxygen masks.

The captain later reported he decided to land the plane first rather than handing the controls between the pilots while donning masks, which is "dangerous" when close to landing.

Passengers seated in rows four and five reported smelling the fumes before all passengers were told to get off the plane as a precaution.

Airport fire personnel arrived and assessed there was no risk.

The captain briefed the passengers about the incident and no-one was injured or suffered ill effects from the smoke and fumes.

The aircraft was not damaged but the rudder trim potentiometer, which measures electromotive force in a circuit, was blackened and burnt.

The trim control panel was later replaced.

The ATSB reported that the findings "should not be read as apportioning blame or liability to any particular organisation or individual".