Monday, June 12, 2017

Airbus A330-200, China Eastern Airlines, B-6099, flight MU-736: Incident occurred June 11, 2017 in Sydney, Australia

Images of a gaping hole on the engine cowling of a China Eastern Airlines Airbus A330-200 hit Chinese social media on Monday, following the plane’s emergency landing in Australia.

The crew of the flight from Sydney to Shanghai reported problems with the plane’s left engine shortly after takeoff on Sunday night.

The plane returned to Sydney airport and landed safely, with no reported injuries. Pictures posted by passengers on Chinese social media showed that a large section of the cowling on the jet’s Rolls-Royce Trent 772 engine had been either burned or torn away.

China Eastern confirmed the incident on its own social-media account, and praised the crew for acting decisively and ensuring the safety of those on board.

A Rolls-Royce spokesperson said the company was aware of the incident and “working closely with our customer and relevant partners to understand the cause of the issue.”

Airbus didn’t immediately respond to questions.

The Airbus A330-200 typically carries around 250 passengers. China Eastern didn’t say how many people were on Sunday’s flight.

In February, a China Eastern flight from London to Shanghai was forced to divert to an airport in Russia after experiencing engine trouble.


Investigators examining the cause of a gaping hole in the left engine casing of a China Eastern Airlines flight are yet to recover all the debris from the A330-200.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau yesterday began its formal investigation into Sunday night’s incident on flight MU736 as it took off from Sydney to fly to Shanghai.

Although some debris was retrieved from the runway, more is believed to have been fallen off in the local area as the plane circled Sydney on its return to the airport.

In a notice on the investigation website, the ATSB warned any aircraft debris “was unsafe to handle and should be reported to local police”.

Debris from the plane will play a crucial role in the ATSB investigation centred on “the engine malfunction” of the Airbus aircraft.

The investigation will also look at aircraft maintenance records, engine damage and debris, and data from the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.

A similar incident occurred just a month ago in Cairo, involving an Egypt Air A330-200.

The aircraft have Rolls Royce Trent 772 engines, which have previously experienced an issue with air intake cowls due to acoustic panel collapse, and cracking due to acoustic vibration.

In Sunday night’s incident, the pilot became aware of a fault with the left engine and radioed Air Traffic Control.

After dumping fuel, flight MU736 returned to land at Sydney Airport without incident.

Aviation expert Byron Bailey said the China Eastern Airlines’ pilot made the right decision.

“The aircraft could not have continued to Shanghai as one engine could only reach 20,000-feet and would therefore burn up fuel quickly,” said Mr Bailey.

Last year China Eastern carried 569,235 passengers to and from Australia, representing 24.3 percent increase on the previous year.

Rolls Royce spokeswoman Erin Atan said they were working closely with China Eastern and “relevant partners to understand the cause of the issue”.

Australian Federation of Air Pilots safety and technical officer Marcus Diamond said it was likely Rolls Royce would need to issue a “fix” for the Trent 772 engine based on Sunday night’s incident, and the one in Cairo last month.

“They definitely will be looking at what they call certification,” said Mr Diamond.

“They’ll have to fix it, to provide assurances for other operators of this aircraft.”

He said to some extent, the aviation industry was still learning how carbon fibre responded to different situations.

“Because they’re making aircraft lighter and lighter, with more and more light materials, they’re not as sturdy,” Mr Diamond said.

“They’re still built to certification standards and are able to lift more payload, but they’re not made of aluminium and rivets and we’re still learning how this sort of stuff responds.”

No-one on board the China Eastern flight was hurt in Sunday night’s incident, and all 221 passengers were rebooked on other flights to reach their destination.

Read more here:

A disintegrating fan or a loose engine part are considered the most likely causes of a gaping hole in the left engine covering of a China Eastern Airlines' A330 in Sydney.

The pilot became aware of an engine fault within seconds of takeoff from Sydney at 8.30 Sunday night, and radioed Air Traffic Control.

Passengers on board flight MU736 to Shanghai, reported hearing a loud bang then a burning smell sparking some concern.

The giant tear in the engine cowling that could be seen from the plane only served to heighten the alarm.

Air Traffic Controllers warned other aircraft landing in Sydney of the "engine loss" and raced to get a runway inspection completed.

In just over an hour, the A330 was safely back on the ground, and the 221 passengers deboarded.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau yesterday began an investigation, focusing on the Rolls Royce Trent 772 engine.

Airbus spokesman Ted Porter said they would assist investigators where required.

"We are in contact with the airline and Rolls-Royce and will support the investigation of this engine issue," said Mr Porter.

It was the second incident resulting in damage to an A330's left engine cowling in a month, following on from a strikingly similar occurrence involving an Egypt Air plane in Cairo.

Aviation expert, Byron Bailey, a former Boeing 777 pilot, said it looked to him like "the fan blade detached from the large fan at the front of the engine and caused a penetration of the cowling".

"The interesting common denominator of the China Airlines A330, Egypt Air A330 one month ago in Cairo, and the magnificently handled Qantas A380 engine blow-up in Singapore years ago appears to be the very efficient Trent 700 engine," said Mr. Bailey.

"I guess Rolls Royce, the manufacturer of the Trent series of engines, will be now be rapidly finding out the cause of this engine " blow-up" and issuing instructions to airlines if any action such as immediate inspection is required."

Fellow aviation expert, Trevor Jensen, said if the engine had recently undergone work, a loose part may have caused the damage to the cowling.

"It is very unusual," said Mr. Jensen.

China Eastern Airlines' General Manager for the Oceania region, Kathy Zhang, said the A330 remained under investigation at Sydney Airport.

"All passengers and crew members were landed safely. They were then arranged accommodation by China Eastern Airlines," said Ms. Zhang.

"Today the passengers have been arranged to fly to their destinations on either China Eastern flights or other airlines."

Story and photo gallery:

1 comment:

  1. That's why you don't stand in the intake when doing visual maintenance looking at chipped intake blades ... they have special mats for that.