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On 23 August 2016, at about 0634 Eastern Standard Time (EST), a Regional Express Saab 340B aircraft, registered VH-ZRJ, taxied at Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport, for a scheduled passenger flight to Sydney, New South Wales. On board were two flight crewmembers, one cabin crewmember and 22 passengers.

Shortly after take-off, while the gear was retracting, the crew heard loud bangs and the left engine performance degraded noticeably, reducing the climb performance. The crew also noticed that the left engine instruments were fluctuating rapidly and indicating a high inter-turbine temperature. At that time, the cabin crewmember advised the flight crew that passengers could see flames coming from the left engine.

Based on the noises and engine instrument indications, the crew identified the issue as a compressor stall and carried out the failure management procedure. This included reducing the power on the left engine and setting maximum continuous thrust on the right.

The crew then commenced the checklist procedures for a compressor stall. Although reducing the fuel flow to the left engine reduced the popping noises, the compressor stall continued. The crew therefore commenced the appropriate failure management procedure to shut down the left engine and feather the left propeller.                    

After levelling out at 5,000 ft, the captain completed two to three holding patterns while the crew completed all relevant checklists. They then made an RNAV approach to runway 24 and the aircraft landed at about 0720.

There were no injuries to crew or passengers and no damage to the aircraft.

This incident highlights the importance of well-designed simulator training and robust failure management procedures. Faced with an abnormal scenario, from their training and robust procedures, the crew was able to manage the situation efficiently and safely.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 54

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General details
Date: 23 August 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 06:40 EST  
Location   (show map):Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport, North 19 km  Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction 
Release date: 22 November 2016 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Saab Aircraft Co. 
Aircraft model: 340B 
Aircraft registration: VH-ZRJ 
Serial number: 340B-396 
Operator: Regional Express 
Type of operation: Air Transport Low Capacity 
Sector: Turboprop 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Ballina/Byron Gateway, NSW
Destination:Sydney, NSW
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Last update 14 November 2018