The ATSB is investigating an aircraft preparation occurrence involving a Link Airways Saab 340B, registered VH-VEQ, at Canberra Airport, Australian Capital Territory, on 10 November 2022.
The aircraft was operating as Virgin Australia flight VA633, scheduled from Canberra to Sydney, New South Wales. Prior to the flight, a strap for retaining the left propeller blade was not removed and the engine was started with the strap attached. The strap was thrown free of the blade during the final stages of take-off and it penetrated the fuselage. One passenger received minor injuries and the aircraft sustained minor damage.
The flight crew notified air traffic control and returned to Canberra where emergency services were in attendance as a precaution.
To date, the ATSB investigation has included:
• interviewing involved parties including flight crew, ground crew and cabin crew
• inspection of the propeller strap and other components from the occurrence
• analysis of flight recorder data
• examining available closed-circuit television video of the occurrence and preparation for other flights
• analysis of ground handling procedures and training
• examination of the fleet-wide serviceability of propeller straps
• analysis of flight crew procedures.
The ATSB has completed the evidence collection and analysis phases of the investigation and is drafting the final report.
The final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken.