Aussie airline grounds five turboprops after propeller falls off
After propeller fell off a plane as it was preparing to land at Sydney Airport on March 17, Australian Regional Express (Rex) decided to ground five of its Saab 340B turboprop aircraft as a precaution for similar events, according to Business Insider.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the incident when the right-hand propeller separated from a Saab 340 plane during a flight from Albury to Sydney. The aircraft carried 19 people onboard, including crew members, when the right-hand engine showed “abnormal indications,” as quoted by Business Insider.
Following the indications, the crew shut down the engine and witnessed propeller assembly separating from its shaft, which then rotated upwards and to the right in a horizontal position, leaving the aircraft untouched and unharmed.
The airplane managed to land safely and with no person injured. The propeller has not yet been found.
Commenting upon the occurrence, Rex chief operating officer Neville Howell said that the incident is so rare that only one similar event was registered in 1991 “when US carrier Comair's aircraft also landed safely after a separation of its propeller.”
He also commended the crew’s professionalism. “The Captain displayed exceptional skills in landing the aircraft so smoothly in bad weather and strong winds, so much so that the passengers did not notice anything different,” Howell said.
Rex operates around 1,500 weekly flights throughout 58 destinations is Australia, which makes it the largest independent domestic carrier.
Following the incident, the airline keeps in touch with Saab and the engine manufacturer - General Electric.