Aviation safety investigations & reports

Evacuation Hobart Airport, Boeing 717-200, VH-VQI

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 17 May 2005, a Boeing 717-200, registered VH-VQI, was scheduled to operate a regular public transport flight from Hobart to Sydney, departing at 0600 Eastern Standard Time. During the starting of the right engine, the aircraft dispatcher informed the flight crew that there was smoke and sparks shooting from the right engine and advised 'we'll have to get everyone off'. The pilot in command called for an emergency evacuation without initiating the Passenger Evacuation Checklist. As a result, the wing flaps were not set to the extended position and the tail section of the aircraft was dark without emergency lighting while passengers were exiting the aircraft. All three of the floor level exits were opened by cabin crew. The forward Door Right 1 escape slide fell to the ground uninflated when the door was opened. A number of ground personnel ran to the front of the aircraft and helped 22 passengers off the forward Door Left 1 slide and directed them towards the terminal. Four passengers exited by the Door 2 slide at the rear of the aircraft and ran into the middle of the apron. The overwing exits were not opened. The aircraft's dispatcher had not received any education in emergency communications with flight crew nor aircraft evacuations at the terminal. The flight crew were engaged in conversations not confined to the engine start process or other operational matters during both engine start sequences until the problem with the right engine was first mentioned by the dispatcher. The reported smoke and sparks was a result of the right engine air turbine starter failing during the engine start sequence.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 748KB]
General details
Date: 17 May 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0606 hours EST    
Location   (show map): Hobart, Aero.    
State: Tasmania   Occurrence type: Fire  
Release date: 31 October 2006   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 717  
Aircraft registration VH-VQI  
Serial number 55095  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Hobart, TAS  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command ATPL 2778 9724
Last update 16 February 2016