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On 15 December 2009, a De Havilland Canada DHC-8-102 aircraft, registered VH-XFU, departed Perth, Western Australia (WA) on a charter passenger service to Darlot, WA. While cruising at flight level (FL) 230, the aircraft sustained multiple system failures, followed by a depressurisation. The crew actioned the aircraft depressurisation checklist and commenced an emergency descent. During the descent, a number of system cautions and warnings illuminated. The crew elected to return to Perth and a descent to 8,000 ft was made. Shortly after, the majority of the aircraft's systems returned to normal.

A subsequent engineering investigation was unable to replicate the system faults. However, it appeared that the number-1 direct current (DC) generator output was spiking, causing power to the left DC buses to be repeatedly switched between the number-1 transformer rectifier unit and the left DC generator. This repeated power switching resulted in some of the aircraft's systems behaving erratically.

As a precaution, the number-1 generator control unit, number-1 DC generator and left bus tie relay were replaced.

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General details
Date: 15 December 2009 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1457 WST  
Location   (show map):296 km NE of Perth Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia Occurrence type: Diversion/return 
Release date: 20 April 2010 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: de Havilland Canada 
Aircraft model: DHC-8 
Aircraft registration: VH-XFU 
Serial number: 151 
Type of operation: Charter 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
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Last update 14 November 2018