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Report: A320 had to avoid terrain after avoiding helicopter on departure
17 September 2021

Report: A320 had to avoid terrain after avoiding helicopter on departure

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

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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Poor braking conditions after heavy rain led to 737 runway overrun, Jacksonville

A Miami Air International Boeing 737-800 overran a rain-soaked runway due to an “extreme loss of braking friction,” the NTSB concluded in its investigation report (PDF).

Miami Air International flight 293, a Boeing 737-800 charter transporting U.S. Department of Defense personnel from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ended up in shallow waters of the St. Johns River after it overran runway 10 at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida, while landing in a heavy rainstorm May 3, 2019. Although none of the 143 passengers and crew onboard were seriously injured, several animals carried in the cargo compartment died in the accident.

The accident report details how the flight crew did not follow procedures, including continuing an unstabilized approach, landing the airplane at an excessive approach speed, and delaying deployment of the speedbrakes. However, investigators determined that even if none of those errors occurred, the airplane still would not have stopped on the ungrooved runway because the rainfall rate and runway characteristics contributed to water depths that caused the aircraft to hydroplane.

The investigation also found Miami Air International failed to provide its flight crews with adequate guidance for evaluating braking conditions for landing on wet or contaminated runways.

Miami Air International ceased operations May 8, 2020.

Pilot’s seatback reclining on takeoff from Tiruchirappalli, India, causes B737-800 to hit wall

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Report: DHC-8-400 runway excursion, gear collapse after landing on snow-covered runway

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) found that limited visual cues due to falling snow and a snow-covered runway contributed to the 2020 runway excursion involving a WestJet Encore DHC-8-402 in Terrace, BC Canada.

On 31 January 2020, a DHC-8-402 aircraft was conducting WestJet Encore flight WEN3107 from Vancouver, BC to Terrace, BC with four crew members and 43 passengers on board. During the landing roll, the aircraft drifted left from the snow-cleared area of the runway and the left main landing gear exited the runway surface, travelling for approximately 400 feet before returning to the runway. During the runway excursion, the aircraft’s nose landing gear collapsed. The aircraft came to a stop in the centre of the runway. The passengers were transported to the airport terminal by bus approximately 30 minutes after landing. No injuries were reported. The damage to the aircraft included the collapsed nose landing gear and damaged right propeller blades.

The investigation found that, given the falling snow and the snow-covered runway, there were limited visual cues available to the flight crew, which decreased their ability to accurately judge the aircraft’s lateral position once it was beyond the runway threshold. Snow clearing operations cleared the centre 100 feet of the runway, which resulted in windrows that were approximately 18 inches high along the edges of the cleared area. This reduced the pilot’s lateral maneuvering room during the landing.

It was also determined that the aircraft initially touched down 10 feet left of the centreline due to control inputs and variable wind conditions and, while the aircraft was still in a light weight-on-wheels condition, a gust contributed to a further deviation to the left until the left main landing gear came into contact with the windrow. As a result, the aircraft was pulled to the left and travelled through the uncleared portion of the runway. During the runway excursion, snow and ice became packed in the nose landing gear bay and caused structural deformation. Consequently, the nose landing gear was no longer being held in place and collapsed rearward into the fuselage, causing substantial damage to the aircraft.

Finally, the investigation also determined that, if aircraft operators do not provide pilots with all the possible tools and relevant information to assess runway suitability for landing, pilots may not evaluate all potential threats and may make decisions based on incomplete or conflicting information.

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