Final Report


On 18 April 2017, at about 0934 Western Standard Time, a Bombardier DHC-8-315 aircraft, registered VH-XKI, departed from Meekatharra Airport, Western Australia (WA), for a charter flight to Leinster, WA. There were two flight crew, two cabin crew and 49 passengers on board.

The captain reported that the aircraft performed as normal during the take-off run. However, at some point between retracting the flap and 1,000 ft above ground level, the flight crew experienced a vibration through the airframe and noticed a change in the pitch of the aircraft noise (deep pitch sound). The flight crew noticed the right propeller was at about 500 RPM (normal governed flight range is 900–1200 RPM) and the engine torque was excessively high. The low propeller RPM and high engine torque led them to conclude the malfunction was an ‘unscheduled feather’ incident.

The flight crew shutdown the right engine, in accordance with their emergency operating procedures. Noting that the aircraft was above the maximum landing weight, the flight crew reviewed the performance charts, and concluded that the runway at Meekatharra was suitable for an emergency landing and elected to return. The aircraft landed without incident. No persons were injured and the aircraft was not damaged.

The aircraft captain reported that they felt the incident was handled well by the flight crew and cabin crew. They found that the use of automation was effective in reducing their workload while responding to the malfunction. The captain reported that the incident was completely unexpected, which highlighted to them the need for, and benefit of, regular simulator training.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin Issue 61

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