The Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) on Friday said that the captain of a Uni Air plane acted according to standard operation procedures when he shut down an engine and called “Mayday” shortly after taking off in Taipei.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-90 jet took off from Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport), for Kinmen at 7:03am, but the captain noticed that the right engine reached an abnormally high temperature of 928°C when the plane attained an altitude of 1.37km.
To prevent engine damage, the captain manually shut down the right engine as a precaution and said “Mayday” three times before returning to Songshan airport at 7:29am.
An inspection of the aircraft found metal filings on the engine’s tail pipe, and the CAA felt they were the result of damage during engine operation and was not a preflight inspection problem.
The 151 passengers boarded an Airbus A321 that took off at 10:15am and landed in Kinmen at 11:43am.
Agency flight standards division director Lin Chun-liang (林俊良) said the captain found that the temperature of the right engine reached an alarming level shortly after take-off, shut it down as a precaution and called “Mayday” to air traffic controllers to obtain priority landing rights — all in line with standard operating procedures.
Flight Safety Council chief executive Thomas Wang (王興中) said that when a pilot needs urgent assistance, he can call “Mayday” to get the fastest response.
Because only one engine was left for normal operation, it was best to land as quickly as possible to ensure safety, said Wang, who described the captain’s approach as a “normal procedure.”
The agency said it demanded that Uni Air replace the plane’s engine before the MD-90 re-enter service.
In addition, the agency plans to investigate the cause of the incident based on interviews with crew members and information from the voice data recorder and flight data recorder.
The CAA said the last time the plane was inspected was on May 10.
The right engine, an IAV E2500 D5 type, was installed on Oct. 18, 2013, and had flown 3,864 hours.
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