Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Georgia lawsuit questions Spirit Airlines’ safety

After an engine failure aboard a Spirit Airlines flight, Atlanta passengers are asking a federal court if the budget airline cut corners when it came to their safety.

Passengers Ben Askew and Sam Madanat told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman that they were aboard Spirit Airlines Flight 165, traveling back to Atlanta, in October of 2013. They said that soon after their flight left the Dallas-Fort Worth airport the chaos began.

“As soon as my eyes shut, you just hear ‘boom,’ a huge explosion,” Madanat told Stockman. “Smoke started coming inside. When I saw that right there, I was like, this is it.”

According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, shortly after flight 165 left Dallas, one of the plane’s two jet engines failed. After an audible bang and engine fire warnings, the flight crew shut down the engine and the plane returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. The report said aircraft damage was minor.

According to the NTSB, a final report is pending an ongoing investigation.

Cellphone video from that flight showed light-colored smoke entering the aircraft through the cabin’s ventilation system. One passenger sent this text his wife: “Ashlee, I love you. Make sure my kids know that forever.”

“Things started spiraling out of control, there were different noises coming from different parts of the plane,” Askew told Stockman. “Between the screams, the cries, the noise of the engine, you didn’t realize what was real. You have so many noises going on, and emotions.”

The 150 passengers aboard Flight 165 said they’ve been trying to get answers from Spirit for more than a year.

“Are they saving money in administrative costs, are they saving money in salaries, or are they saving money in maintenance?” aviation attorney Bruce Lampert asked.

Spirit airlines denies they cut any corners when it comes to safety.

We're digging into other questions about Spirit's maintenance records and asking the airline about the safety of Flight 165, on Channel 2 Action News at 5:45.


 NTSB Identification: ENG14IA001
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Spirit Airlines (D.B.A. operation of Spirit Airlines)
Incident occurred Tuesday, October 15, 2013 in Greenville, TX
Aircraft: AIRBUS A319 132, registration: N516NK
Injuries: 150 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft incident report.


On October 15, 2013 at about 1451 CDT, a Spirit Airlines (NKS) Airbus A319, registration number N516NK, experienced a No. 1 (left) engine failure during climb out from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Dallas, Texas. The airplane was equipped with two International Aero Engines (IAE) V2524-A5 turbofan engines. The flight crew reported that about ten minutes after takeoff, at FL190, the electronic centralized aircraft monitor (ECAM) displayed a No. 1 engine pressure ratio (EPR) mode fault, N2 over limit warning, and an exhaust gas temperature (EGT) over limit warning. The ECAM notifications coincided with heavy vibrations that could be felt throughout the cockpit and cabin. Both engines were advanced to the take-off/go around (TO/GA) power setting until a No. 1 engine fire warning registered about four minutes later at which time the flight crew shutdown the No. 1 engine and discharged one fire suppression bottle. During the event sequence smoke began entering the cockpit and the crew donned oxygen masks. The airplane returned to DFW and executed an uneventful single engine landing. Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) personnel met the aircraft on the runway and determined the fire had been extinguished. The flight was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a regularly scheduled flight from DFW to Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport (ATL), Atlanta, Georgia.


No injuries were reported to passengers or crew.


An on scene evaluation of the aircraft and No. 1 engine was conducted at DFW with members from IAE, NKS, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). During a visual examination of the airplane minor impact damage was observed on the aft engine fairing, left wing fairing (canoe) and the leading edge of the left horizontal stabilizer. The impacts did not penetrate the outer panel or affect the underlying structure.

The No. 1 engine low pressure turbine (LPT) 3rd and 4th stage disks, turbine exhaust case center body, and the No. 5 bearing housing were jettisoned from the engine. The LPT 5th stage disk had separated from the 6th stage disk and was hanging on the LPT shaft. There was extensive damage to all remaining high pressure turbine (HPT) and LPT hardware. Large sections of the LPT and exhaust cases were breached and not recovered. The engine cowlings were in good condition without indications of radial uncontainment.

After removal of the engine, the No. 1 engine pylon was examined and exhibited sooting and substantial metal splatter in areas above the LPT plane of rotation. The pylon structure was deemed to be beyond repair limits by Airbus and was removed and replaced.

NTSB Report:

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