Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine malfunction and return involving Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-XKJ, Perth Airport, Western Australia, on 23 April 2019

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


Update: 23 April March 2020

The investigation into the engine malfunction and return involving a De Havilland Aircraft of Canada DHC-8-315, VH-XKJ, near Perth Airport, Western Australia, on 23 April 2019 is continuing.

The investigation report is currently in the ‘Final report: Internal review’ phase. Final ATSB investigation reports undergo a rigorous internal review process to ensure the report adequately and accurately reflects the evidence collected, analysis, and agreed findings of the Safety Factor Review. Final investigation reports also undergo other technical and administrative reviews to ensure the reports meet national and international standards for transport safety investigations.

If a review identifies any issues with a report, such as information that needs to be expanded or findings that need to be modified, investigators will look to collect new evidence or conduct additional examination and analysis of existing evidence.

ATSB investigators have so far gathered and analysed information from multiple sources, including:

  • Recorded flight data
  • Maintenance documentation
  • Operator procedures.

Refer to the General details table below for the anticipated completion date.


Initial summary:

The ATSB is investigating an engine malfunction and return incident involving a Bombardier DHC-8-315, registered VH-XKJ, near Perth Airport, Western Australia, on 23 April 2019.

Shortly after take-off, the crew detected a popping sound in the aircraft’s left engine and the left engine’s torque reduced to approximately 60 per cent. The crew declared a PAN and returned to Perth Airport.

The ATSB will liaise with the aircraft operator to obtain relevant evidence and interview the crew.

A final report will be released at the end of the investigation.

Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify those affected and seek safety action to address the issue.

General details
Date: 23 April 2019   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 0615 AWST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Perth Airport   Investigation phase: Final report: Approval  
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
  Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 3rd Quarter 2020    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8-315  
Aircraft registration VH-XKJ  
Serial number 588  
Operator Skippers Aviation  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Perth, WA  
Destination Duketon Gold, WA  
Last update 06 July 2020