Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine power loss involving Airbus A330, VN-A371, at Melbourne Airport, Vic. on 6 May 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final report

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What happened

On 6 May 2014, an Airbus A330 aircraft, operated by Vietnam Airlines and powered by Pratt and Whitney PW4168A engines, was conducting a regular passenger service from Melbourne, Victoria to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. During the take-off roll, the crew received indications that the right engine had failed. The flight crew responded by discontinuing the take‑off. There were no injuries to passengers or crew.

Examination of the right engine determined that it had sustained an uncontained failure of the stage four low‑pressure turbine. Fragments of the turbine exited the engine via perforations in the low-pressure turbine front case but were retained within the engine cowls. Turbine debris exiting the exhaust duct damaged the right inboard and outboard flaps, flap fairings and a spoiler.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the engine failed due to high-cycle fatigue cracking and the fracture of a single stage four low-pressure turbine blade. Release of the fractured blade resulted in the subsequent failure of the turbine. The fatigue crack initiation point on the remaining blade stub of the fractured blade was obscured by damage from rotational contact that occurred during the engine failure sequence. This prevented the ATSB from determining whether any pre-existing material anomaly or damage contributed to the crack initiation.

No similar failures in Pratt and Whitney PW4168A engines were identified.

The ATSB found the flight crew’s handling of the rejected take-off reduced the risk of a runway excursion, preventing further damage to the aircraft or injury to passengers or crew.

Safety message

Although in this case the cause of the turbine blade failure could not be identified, this occurrence highlights the benefits of timely and appropriate flight crew action in response to an unexpected engine failure on take-off.

PW4168A engine S/N P733510
PW4168A engine S/N P733510Source: United States National Transportation Safety BoardPW4168A engine S/N P733510Source: United States National Transportation Safety BoardSource: United States National Transportation Safety Board


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The occurrence


Safety analysis


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General details
Date: 06 May 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 10:52 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Melbourne Airport    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 01 June 2017   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus  
Aircraft model A330-223  
Aircraft registration VN-A371  
Serial number 275  
Operator Vietnam Airlines  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Melbourne, Vic.  
Destination Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam  
Last update 03 April 2020