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German Airbus A330 suffers in-flight loss of improperly latched engine cowlings
15 December 2012

Engine nr.1 of the A330 with cowling missing (photo: BFU)

The German accident investigation board BFU released the final report of their investigation into the causes of an accident involving an Airbus A330-300 which lost two engine cowlings in-flight.

On October 4, 2007 an LTU Airbus A330-300 operated on a flight from Düsseldorf International Airport (DUS) to Thessaloniki International Airport (SKG), Greece. On board were 114 passengers and eleven crew members .

As the airplane climbed through FL105 after departure, the crew heard a loud bang, followed by some unusual noises. The crew then checked the locking of the doors and hatches but found no problems. Since no errors were detected by the aircraft monitoring system (ECAM) the flight continued. Shortly afterwards a cabin crew member reported the loss of a large part of the engine cowling of the left engine.

The crew then decided to cancel the flight and return to Düsseldorf. The crew did not declare an emergency. The aircraft landed without further problems in Düsseldorf. At the parking position fuel was seen leaking from the left wing because of hole in the underside of the wing. Further damage was caused to the belly fairing and underlying structure and hydraulics.

BFU concluded that “the accident was due to the fact that the front two or all three of the cowling latches were not properly closed. Contributing to the accident, was that the warning color on the handles was worn. There was no evidence of a structural failure of the composite cladding.”

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