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Timeline of occurrences and regulatory actions on Airbus A320-family engine fan cowl door loss incidents
1 December 2018

Airbus A319 that lost fan cowl doors on takeoff (AAIB)

On November 30, 2018, an Airbus A320-214 operated by Frontier Airlines lost the fan cowl doors of engine no.2 upon takeoff from Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, Nevada, USA. This incident was at least the 45th fan cowl door loss event involving an Airbus A320-family aircraft.

In July 2015 the U.K. AAIB published an investigation report into a fan cowl door loss accident involving an Airbus A319. Prior to this May 2013 accident , there were a total of 34 previous occurrences of fan cowl door loss on Airbus A320-family aircraft, including 21 events for aircraft fitted with IAE V2500 engines and 13 events for aircraft fitted with CFM-56 engines. Following the A319 accident, three further instances of fan cowl door losses occurred, bringing the total number of occurrences to 38.

ASN was able to trace 29 occurrences, of which seven after the publication of the AAIB report, bringing the total to at least 45 occurrences.

A common safety issue among these incidents is the fact that the cowl doors were not closed and latched following maintenance. This was not detected by the engineers, nor by flight crew members during the walk-around check. The design of the fan cowl door latching system, in which the latches are positioned at the bottom of the engine nacelle in close proximity to the ground, increased the probability that unfastened latches would not be seen during the pre-departure inspections.

Timeline of occurrences and regulatory actions:

1992

1993-1996

no occurrences known to ASN

1997

1997-1999

no occurrences known to ASN

2000

  • 20 January 2000; A320-231 of Airtours International at London-Gatwick, U.K.
  • 12 June 2000; A320-232 of America West at Las Vegas, USA
  • 13 September 2000; A320-232 of Skyservice at Toronto, Canada
  • 11 October 2000: Transport Canada issues Service Difficulty Alert AL 2000-06: “Engine Fan Cowl Loss”
  • 31 October 2000: DGAC France issues AD 2000-444-156(B), mandating fan cowl door latch improvements.

2001

  • 5 September 2001: DGAC France issues AD 2001-381(B), superseding AD 2000-444-156(B), and requiring the installation of additional fan cowl latch improvement by installing a hold open device.

2002

no occurrences known to ASN

2003

  • 29 October 2003, FAA issued AD 2003-18-06, requiring that the door latches for engine fan cowls on certain Airbus airplanes be modified and that a new hold-open device be installed; all operators were required to comply by April 2005.

2004

2005-2006

no occurrences known to ASN

2007

2008

  • 9 January 2008; A319-114 of Northwest Airlines at Detroit, USA
  • 6 May 2008; A319-132 of Spirit Airlines at Detroit, USA
  • 10 October 2008NTSB issues safety recommendations A-08-79 through -82 on engine fan cowl separation prevention

2009

  • 20 August 2009: FAA issues Notice 8900.91
    FAA issues Notice 8900.91 to its safety inspectors to educate operators about revising their maintenance program

2010

2011

  • 2 August 2011: FAA recognizes, after additional research that fan cowl latching issues are found predominantly with A319 and CRJ200 aircraft and “found no records indicating engine-fan cowl separation incidents due to improper latching since August 2008
  • 28 October 2011: NTSB closes recommendations A-08-79 through -82; three as ‘Unacceptable Action’, one as ‘Acceptable Action’
  • 30 November 2011; A320-232 of Wizz at Bucharest, Romania

2012

2013

2014

2015

  • 26 January 2015; A320-214 of flynas at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • 14 July 2015 AAIB publishes 24 May 2013 A319 accident report with 5 safety recommendations (the report mentioned 40 cases of fan cowl loss events)
  • 31 August 2015: EASA issues recommendations to prevent loss of fan cowl doors on A320
  • 14 October 2015; A319-111 of Sky Airline at Santiago, Chile
  • 16 October 2015; A320-232 of Tigerair at Singapore

2016

  • 14 March 2016: EASA publishes AD 2016-0053; which supersedes DGAC AD 2001-381(B), and requires modification and re-identification of fan cowl doors (FCDs) on IAE engined A320-family aircraft.
  • 13 June 2016; A320-232 of American Airlines at Phoenix Sky Harbor, USA
  • 19 September 2016; A320-232 of Aruba Airlines at Miami, USA

2017

  • 29 June 2017: FAA issues AD AD 2017-13-10, superseding AD 2003-18-06; requiring modifying the engine fan cowl doors (FCDs), installing placards, and re-identifying the FCDs. The AD also adds airplanes to the applicability.
  • 25 July 2017; A320-232 of Bangkok Airways at Bangkok, Thailand

2018

  • 7 March 2018; FAA issues AD 2018-05-04, requiring modification and re-identification, or replacement, of certain FCDs and installation of a placard. Applicable to CFM56 engined aircraft (A319/A320/A321 series -x1x); Compliance within 35 months
  • 8 August 2018; FAA issues AD 2018-16-03, requiring modification and re-identification, or replacement, of certain FCDs and installation of a placard in the flight deck of  A319-133 and A321-232 airplanes (IAE engines).
  • 25 October 2018; A320-232 of Vueling at Bilbao, Spain
  • 30 November 2018; A320-214 of Frontier Airlines at Las Vegas, USA

 

A talk on the issue by Dr K I Kourousis of the University of Limerick in this YouTube video:

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