Aviation safety investigations & reports

In-flight engine malfunction and air turn-back, 240 km W Darwin, NT, 24 September 2006, VH-TJI, Boeing Co. 737-476

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 24 September 2006, during a scheduled passenger service from Darwin, NT, to Denpasar, Indonesia, the left engine of a Boeing Co 737-400 series aircraft sustained a mechanical failure within the first-stage low-pressure turbine (LPT) section. After reducing the engine thrust to minimise vibration and further damage, the flight crew returned the aircraft to Darwin.

Following an analysis overseen by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the engine manufacturer found that it was likely that thermally-induced microstructural creep damage had contributed to the blade failure and subsequent damage to the turbine stage. An examination of the engine maintenance and operating records did not reveal any instance/s of hot-starting or significant take-off exhaust-gas temperature exceedence that may have contributed to the premature failure.

A total of seven related LPT stage-one failures had been identified by the engine manufacturer, including two from the subject Australian operator. While work by the engine manufacturer to better understand the issue was continuing, a range of stage-1 LPT blade production batches were identified as possibly being predisposed to premature failure. The engine manufacturer has recommended that LPT blades from the identified batches be removed from service and quarantined at the next maintenance opportunity, pending their further investigation and assessment of the issue.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.94MB]
General details
Date: 24 September 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1302 UTC    
Location   (show map): 130 NM west of Darwin    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 14 May 2008   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737  
Aircraft registration VH-TJI  
Serial number 24434  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Darwin, NT  
Destination Denpasar, Indonesia  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command ATPL
Last update 18 April 2018