A Cathay Dragon flight was forced to return to Kaohsiung International Airport less than an hour after takeoff due to an engine failure, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said yesterday.
The agency said it has ruled out the possibility of a bird strike based on the findings of a preliminary investigation.
The blades of the Airbus A330’s engine that malfunctioned were neither deformed nor did they show any signs of being hit by a foreign object, and the engine’s air intake cover was not damaged, the agency said.
An endoscope would be used to conduct an internal inspection of the engine, it added.
The agency said it would conduct only a basic investigation by asking the Hong Kong-based airline to provide a report from the captain and an inspection report of the malfunctioned engine, adding that it would notify the Civil Aviation Department in Hong Kong about the results of its investigation.
The department, on the other hand, would be in charge of investigating whether the engine failure happened due to personnel error or maintenance problems.
“We will ask Cathay Dragon to notify us before it resumes flight service with the aircraft. The airline would only be permitted to fly the aircraft after we ascertain that the engine problem is addressed,” the department said.
Aviation Safety Council executive director Kuan Wen-lin (官文霖) said that the council has determined that the engine failure was not caused by an issue resulting from activity in the cockpit or the passenger cabin, nor did the incident cause any structural damage to the aircraft or its operating systems.
As such, the council would not intervene in the investigation, although it does not completely rule out a bird strike as a possible cause for the engine failure, Kuan said.
The airline said that Flight KA 451, with 317 passengers and 13 crew members on board, departed from Kaohsiung International Airport for Hong Kong at 7:51am, but it was forced to return after the pilots detected a failure in the second starboard engine.
The aircraft landed safely at 8:31am, the airline said.
Although the airline said that the pilot followed standard operating procedure to turn off the malfunctioned engine and denied that the engine had caught fire, several residents living near the airport told local media that they heard an explosion and saw sparks as the aircraft took off.
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