Volunteers find missing engine parts of Swiss Airbus A220

Twitter @BEA_Aero

Answering the call of the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), volunteers recovered parts of the Swiss Air Airbus A220 that suffered an uncontained engine failure earlier in 2019.

On July 25, 2019, a Swiss Airbus A220, registered HB-JCM, was en route from Geneva to London when the left engine suffered a mechanical failure as it was passing over a forest in the East of France. The flight crew shut down the PW1524G engine and landed the diverted flight at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

The BEA was put in charge of the investigation, with the assistance of the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). After failing to retrieve the missing engine parts, it had called for a voluntary search on November 6 and 8, 2019. Investigators are specifically looking for titanium parts of the first stage of the low-pressure compressor (LPC).

From the very first day, the search proved fruitful. “Three fragments from the engine have been found by the volunteer team,” announced the BEA on Twitter on November 6, 2019, thanking all participants. 40 BEA agents, 85 agents of the National Geographic Institute (IGN), and 65 volunteers participated in the effort. These initial findings confirm the accuracy of the search area. The research will now continue to reconstruct as much of the missing piece as possible.

In total, three instances of Swiss A220 engine failures were reported: one in July, one in September and one in October 2019. The last one prompted the airline to temporarily ground its aircraft for inspection. The two-day inspection forced the Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) subsidiary to cancel about a hundred flights. Operations resumed after the engines were found in “impeccable condition”.

On October 26, 2019, Transport Canada issued a directive stating that pilots of both the A220-100 and A220-300 models must fly at 94% of their full thrust capacity when they are over 29,000 feet (about 9 kilometers) of altitude. The automatic throttle control must be disabled before climbing at this altitude.

 

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