Wednesday, January 31, 2018

National Transportation Safety Board Urges Updates of Engine-Inspection Procedures and Passenger Evacuation Rules For United States Airlines: Wide-ranging recommendations prompted by American Airlines jet that lost part of an engine and caught fire in 2016

The Wall Street Journal

By Andy Pasztor
January 30, 2018 8:36 p.m. ET

U.S. air-accident investigators have called for upgraded engine-inspection practices and better-coordinated procedures for passenger evacuations, in their final report about a fire that badly damaged an American Airlines Group Inc. jet on a Chicago runway two years ago.

The findings and recommendations released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday stem from an October 2016 accident in which a rare manufacturing defect caused part of the right engine on a Boeing Co. 767 bound for Miami to rupture violently late in the takeoff roll. Metal parts flew as far as 3,000 feet, a fuel leak caused a massive fire under the right wing and all 161 passengers used emergency slides to leave the jet.

There were no fatalities, but the National Transportation Safety Board issued industrywide recommendations for modernized engine inspections and stepped-up airline crew training to ensure safer emergency evacuations.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, United States regulators haven’t updated guidance on conducting emergency evacuations for three decades, despite several high-profile examples of problems getting passengers off airliners in just the past few years.

Investigators concluded that a rare manufacturing flaw dating back to the late 1990s—and likely undetectable through recent years—created microscopic cracks in the high-energy internal disc that eventually led to the accident at O’Hare International Airport. General Electric Co. manufactured the engines.

Even with significant safety advances in engines and overall airline performance over the last few decades, “there’s still improvements that can be made,” said Robert Sumwalt, the safety board’s chairman. Inspection methods “that can fail to uncover a defect in a safety critical component of an airliner,” he said, “need a closer look.:

Regarding the crew’s response, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the pilots, after hearing a loud bang, acted appropriately to halt the takeoff and shut down the damaged engine. But the report was critical of the level of cooperation between the cockpit crew and flight attendants.

Investigators, among other things, found that flight attendants hadn’t received adequate training on systems to communicate with the cockpit or passengers. Two attendants told the safety board they couldn’t operate the intercoms to contact the pilots, as smoke billowed inside the cabin and passengers disregarded instructions by climbing over seats and insisting on grabbing carry-on bags.

With one of the wide-body jet’s engines still running as the evacuation began, a passenger suffered a serious injury as he was hit by jet blast. The pilots told investigators the only emergency engine shut-off checklist they had didn’t call for immediately turning off the remaining engine.

Modern jet turbines are designed to prevent broken parts from being spewed outside the engine cover. But violent disintegration of some internal parts has dogged certain models of GE’s CF6-80 model engines since 2000, prompting a series of stepped-up safety actions by the manufacturer and the Federal Aviation Administration.

An Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman didn’t have any immediate comment on the nonbinding safety recommendations.

American, which has revamped flight attendant training, told investigators the cabin crew took appropriate steps to initiate the evacuation despite communication difficulties.

Original article can be found here ➤

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

American Airlines Inc:

Location: Chicago, IL
Accident Number: DCA17FA021
Date & Time: 10/28/2016,  
Registration: N345AN
Aircraft: BOEING 767
Injuries: 1 Serious, 19 Minor, 150 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 121: Air Carrier - Scheduled 

On October 28, 2016, at about 2:32 CDT, American Airlines flight number 383, a Boeing B767-300, N345AN, powered by two General Electric CF6-80C2B6 turbofan engines, experienced a right engine uncontained failure and subsequent fire during the takeoff ground roll on runway 28R at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago, Illinois. The flightcrew aborted the takeoff and stopped the aircraft on runway 28R and an emergency evacuation was conducted. Of the 161 passengers and 9 crew members onboard, one passenger received serious injuries during the evacuation and the airplane was substantially damaged as a result of the fire. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a domestic scheduled passenger flight to Miami International Airport (MIA), Miami, Florida. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BOEING
Registration: N345AN
Model/Series: 767 323
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Flag carrier (121) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KORD
Observation Time: 1951 UTC
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots, 180°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 25000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Chicago, IL (KORD)
Destination: Miami, FL (KMIA) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 9 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 19 Minor, 141 None
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 19 Minor, 150 None
Latitude, Longitude: 


the Last Inspector said...

"The metal was inspected twice during its production using ultrasonic equipment that would have shown any subsurface cracks or voids in the metal. None were found."

Sounds like rollerstamping by GE inspectors missed this "as close as you can get to catastrophic" defect.

This proves Kevin McAllister from GE was the right choice by corrupt Boeing management for BCA President/CEO in order to continue Boeing's own longstanding QA rollerstamping fraud that makes Boeing hundreds of millions of dollars a year (minimum) by selling largely uninspected airplanes for the price of fully inspected and conforming airplanes.

Anonymous said...

With long haul (over oceans) using TWO engines, this is IMPERATIVE!!

... long live the 747!

Anonymous said...

American has yet to recover from Robert Crandall's supposed great leadership.

Anonymous said...

I love how aviation is indisputably the safest it has been in the history of mankind, period, and yet it's all doom and gloom. Boeing is killing it's customers to make a profit, American is broken beyond repair, etc. 30 years ago the plane fills with acrid smoke and people die. Today, it was one passenger with bad jet wash luck.

Load factors are at an all-time high on so by all means please drive instead of flying - it will be more convenience for me. Besides, cars are far safer than transport aircraft and car manufacturers never, ever cut corners.