Aviation occurrence briefs

Propeller malfunction involving Bombardier DHC-8, Cairns, Qld, on 22 August 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 22 August 2018, at 1235 Eastern Standard Time, a Bombardier DHC-8 departed Cairns, Queensland (Qld) for a regular public transport flight to Moranbah, Qld.

During initial climb between 600 ft and 1,000 ft, the crew detected severe engine surging. The crew identified the no. 2 engine as the affected engine and shut it down. The crew completed the relevant checklists, declared a PAN PAN[1] and continued climb to 7,000 ft. The crew then returned the aircraft for landing on runway 33 at Cairns.

Engineers replaced the propeller control unit and the over speed governor and returned the aircraft to service.

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.



  1. PAN PAN: an internationally recognised radio call announcing an urgency condition which concerns the safety of an aircraft or its occupants but where the flight crew does not require immediate assistance.
General details
Date: 22 August 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1235 AEST    
Location   (show map): Cairns    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 21 November 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  
Departure point Cairns, Qld  
Destination Moranbah, Qld  
Last update 12 December 2018