Aviation safety investigations & reports

Inflight engine shutdown involving Bombardier DHC-8, VH-XKI, Meekatharra Airport, WA, on 18 April 2017

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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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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[Download  PDF: 97KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 168KB]

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General details
Date: 18 April 2017   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 9:34 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Meekatharra Airport    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 27 July 2017   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8-315  
Aircraft registration VH-XKI  
Serial number 587  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Meekatharra, WA  
Destination Leinster, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018