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Screwdriver tip left in engine during maintenance results in engine failure on take-off
16 August 2021

An engine power loss and rejected take-off incident involving an Airbus A320 at Brisbane Airport occurred after a screwdriver tip was left inside the engine during maintenance, an Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation notes.

On 23 October 2020, the Jetstar Airways operated A320 was departing on a scheduled passenger flight from Brisbane to Cairns.
As power was being applied for take-off, the crew felt a vibration and heard a popping noise, which rapidly grew faster and louder. At the same time, the aircraft diverged to the right of the runway centreline despite the first officer applying full left rudder pedal.
The captain immediately selected reverse thrust and brought the aircraft to a stop.

Some of the passengers onboard the aircraft, a Brisbane tower air traffic controller, and flight crew of a following aircraft reported momentarily seeing flames coming out of the right engine.

The aircraft was taxied back to the airport gate, and all passengers and crew disembarked safely.

Engineers then reported finding metallic debris in the tailpipe of the aircraft’s right engine. On disassembly, it was discovered the engine’s high-pressure compressor had sustained significant damage. A removable screwdriver tip was found in the engine’s combustion section.

The ATSB’s investigation determined the screwdriver tip had been in the engine for over 100 flights.

The liberated blade then caused greater damage to the engine’s high pressure compressor, and the engine surged, resulting in the loss of power and the low-speed rejected take-off.

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