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11th February 2010, Dual Engine Failure, Blog #638

An ATR 42-300 was operating a Domestic Scheduled Passenger flight between Tanjung Redep/Berau-Kalimaru Airport and Samarinda Airport, both in Indonesia.

On board the aircraft a crew of six (two flight crew, two cabin crew, one engineer and a dispatcher) and 43 adults and three minors as passengers.

The aircraft in its final position, note the left propeller is feathered, the right propeller is not feathered (Source and ©: NTSC)

After departure from Berau, at 10;30 lt (local time) the aircraft climbed to Flight Level 140 (14.000 feet with standard barometer setting)

The flight progressed smoothly and ATC cleared the aircraft for a direct routing to Samarinda Airport. While approaching its destination, the crew received instructions from ATC to join the left downwind for runway o4. As the aircraft got closer to Samarinda the aircraft was configured for landing as ATC provided the latest wind information to the crew, 060 degrees at 12 knots.

During the final approach for runway 04 the ECU (Engine Control Unit) light came on for the left engine (Pratt & Whitney PW121), immediately followed by a low oil pressure and low torque indications for the same engine. A go-around was initiated by the Pilot in Command and the QRH (Quick Reference Handbook) procedure was completed for the failed engine. A diversion to Balikpapan was requested, which lay 50 kilometres (50 Nm) to the south, as this airport has a longer runway and better facilities than Samarinda.

Failed main landing gear (Source and ©: NTSC)

A single-engine climb to 4000 feet was performed. About 16 Nm from their diversion destination at 3800 feet altitude the right engine ECU light illuminated, followed by a low oil pressure and low torque indications, the right engine spooled down. A MAYDAY call was made to Balikpapan approach, as they could not reach Balikpapan the aircraft was prepared for a forced landing in a clear field in the area of Samboja, The Cabin Crew was briefed and a short while later a successful forced landing was carried out. As soon as the aircraft came to a stop an evacuation was initiated. Two passengers sustained injuries, one minor, and one serious. Damage to the aircraft was extensive;

  • All landing gears and the surrounding structures were substantially damaged

  • A nose wheel penetrated the fuselage and ended up in the cabin

  • The cabin overhead lining was damaged and there was mud throughout the passenger cabin

  • The four propeller blades of the right propeller were substantially damaged

Mud and a nosewheel in the cabin (Source and ©: NTSC

The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) was alerted and an investigation was launched. After a 3 year investigation, the NTSC published their investigation report.

There were a large amount of findings listed in the report, a summary;

  • The left fuel tank contained two litres of fuel, meeting specifications

  • The right fuel tank contained 400 litres of fuel, meeting specifications

  • After SB ATR42-28-039 was completed the incorrect test of the fuel system was carried out

  • Both wing tanks contained a lot of deposits, dirt and uncured sealant

  • Both engines were tested at the manufacturer, no faults were present

  • Both propellers turned freely

  • The FDR was inoperative, possibly since the 10th of April 2009

  • The CVR was inoperative for an undertermined time

The NTSC concluded that the causes of the accident were;

Both engines suffered a lack of fuel before flaming out, it was indicated that the fuel management was out of control during the flight, which might have resulted in a misleading fuel quantity indication. The proper analysis could not be carried out due to both the FDR and the CVR were unserviceable.

The NTSC report, which served as the source for this report can be accessed by clicking on the .pdf file below;

11feb2010 ATR 42-300 Dual Engine Failure
Download PDF • 933KB

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