Shortly after starting the left engine, the flight crew noticed a transient smell of burning rubber, which they described as being identical to that of tyre smoke from a landing aircraft. There were no visible indications of anything abnormal and, as the smell then disappeared, the aircraft was taxied for departure with the crew monitoring for any recurrence. Just after completing the turn onto Runway 11, the commander noticed a small amount of pale grey smoke, below the level of the instrument coaming, which was confirmed by the co-pilot. The aircraft was brought to a halt and the crew reviewed the situation, before deciding to carry out the Emergency Evacuation Drill. Air Traffic Control was informed and an evacuation was carried out through the aircraft main door, with the passengers being led upwind of the aircraft as the Airport Fire Service arrived.
A post-incident inspection by the operator’s maintenance engineer identified that the cabin air cycle machine had failed, causing smoke to enter the cabin.