News: Avoid debris damage

The ATSB is highlighting that all staff working near aircraft need to be aware of their roles and responsibilities for reporting when they find a foreign object.

Foreign object damage involving an Airbus A320, VH-VGY at Auckland, New Zealand

The ATSB’s investigation into foreign object damage involving an Airbus A320, VH-VGY at Auckland International Airport on 27 October 2017 found the aircraft’s right engine was damaged by metal debris from a clipboard left in the engine cowling.

After the loading of VH-VGY, the clipboard was left on the right engine cowling to protect it from the weather, with the intent of it being collected later. This did not happen. The presence of the clipboard was noticed during a ‘duty of care’ walk around but not reported.

ATSB Executive Director Transport Safety Nat Nagy says the incident highlights the need for everyone operating near the aircraft to take ownership of reporting foreign objects.

It is easy to think that someone else will report or remove a foreign object but that kind of thinking usually just increases the risk that it won’t get done.

“It is easy to think that someone else will report or remove a foreign object, but that kind of thinking usually just increases the risk that it won’t get done.” Mr Nagy said.

In this instance, staff recalled the need to collect the clipboard as VH-VGY was taxiing. Staff returned to where the aircraft was loaded, saw paper debris on the ground, and realised it had been left in the engine.

After the flight crew were notified, they checked their engine instruments and saw no abnormal indications. However, upon learning that sheared metal had also been found, the aircraft returned to Auckland. An engineering inspection found paper throughout the engine and minor damage to the fan blade and attrition liner.

Both Jetstar and the ground handling operator, Aerocare, have taken steps to educate staff of their reporting responsibilities around foreign objects. Jetstar has also updated their aircraft dispatch procedures to provide more detailed information about aircraft checks and responsibilities.

Read the investigation report AO-2017-108: Foreign object damage involving Airbus A320, Auckland, New Zealand

Last update 02 May 2018