Losing an engine
A aviation disaster was averted the other day.
Nationwide Airlines has praised the captain and crew of Flight 723 as the heroes of the drama that unfolded at Cape Town International Airport this week.A little bit of web searching showed that an engine could come off. Never heard that before, but you learn something every day. Kudos to the pilots for making a safe landing. The worst aviation disaster in US history, saw an engine detach. Because of other damage done, the plane was doomed.
Chief executive officer Vernon Bricknell complimented pilot Trevor Arnold, co-pilot Daniel Perry and the crew of the flight for their "heroic efforts" that averted disaster after a Boeing 737 jet lost one its engines on take-off on Wednesday.
On Thursday the company insisted the incident had nothing to do with maintenance or the age of the aircraft.
Rather, the company said, the plane had done what it was supposed to do if a foreign object was sucked in, causing dangerous vibrations that might damage the wing: shear off its engine.
Preliminary investigations yesterday showed the engine had broken off the aircraft's starboard wing because of vibrations from damage done to the internal moving parts of the engine after it had sucked in an object while at the top end of its thrust during take-off.
The engine landed next to the runway, while the aircraft lifted off under full power. Arnold and Perry reacted instantly and kept the plane stable while flying it out of danger, moved over False Bay to jettison fuel for safety reasons and landed safely back at the airport.
In the statement, Bricknell said the engine-to-wing supporting structure was designed to "release" the engine under such circumstances to prevent structural damage to the wing.
Independent Cape Town aviation analyst Linden Birns agreed, noting a foreign object in the engine could cause further damage.
"If the engine is out of kilter, it will begin to vibrate at a very high frequency and this would cause the bolts holding the engine to the wing to shear. It is important for that to happen, to prevent damage to the wing."
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