Aviation occurrence briefs

Foreign object debris involving Bombardier DHC-8-402, Sydney Airport, NSW, on 1 March 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 1 March 2018, at about 0730 Eastern Daylight-saving Time (EDT), the flight crew of a Bombardier DHC-8-402 aircraft reported to engineering staff at Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), that a torch was missing from the flight deck. The engineering staff subsequently inspected the flight deck and found the torch behind the left-side rudder pedals. It was unknown as to how or when the torch moved from its usual position.

Safety message

This incident highlights the importance of not only ensuring unaccounted items are located, but loose items are secured to prevent interference with the aircraft’s controls.

ATSB investigation report AO-2017-108 (Foreign object damage involving Airbus A320) notes that the presence of foreign object debris poses a significant threat to aircraft safety and demonstrates the effect that foreign object debris can have on aircraft operations. Similarly, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration aviation safety reporting system provided an example of where a foreign object jammed the rudder pedals during a critical phase of flight (aviation safety reporting system report number 736444). While taking off, the left rudder pedal became jammed on a Regional Jet CRJ700 aircraft and the take-off was successfully rejected. The pilot reported that directional control was difficult, but maintained during the rejected take-off. The pilot subsequently found a small tissue box under the rudder pedal.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.

General details
Date: 01 March 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0730 EDT    
Location   (show map): Sydney Airport    
State: New South Wales    
Release Date: 16 May 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8-402  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 16 May 2018