The airplane that had its engine shut down and was forced into anemergency landing Monday in Toronto has had two previous documentedcases of mechanical damage since it started flying five years ago,according to Transport Canada. The Japan-bound Air Canada Flight 001 had to make an emergencylanding Monday afternoon after experiencing an engine shutdown.That particular plane, a Boeing 777, had been involved in two other"incidents" involving mechanical failure since it was built in2007, according to Transport Canada's Civil Aviation DailyOccurrence Reporting System (CADORS) database. 'I was certainly typing up some letters that may have been my lastones. I was certainly in that mode of thinking for a while.' Passenger Jason Flick After landing at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, France, onMar. 30, 2010, "smoke and flames were observed" coming out of theaircraft as it taxied to its gate. |
The problem was tracked to anauxiliary power unit, which provides power for some aircraftfunctions. The crew switched it off, and safely taxied to the airport,eventually getting parts replaced, according to a CADORS report. And on June 9, 2009, the plane struck a flock of geese as itapproached the Vancouver International airport on a flight fromHong Kong. Pilots had spotted the flock and tried to avoid them, only tostrike approximately six geese causing dents to the fan nosecowl and damage to four fan blades on its Number 2 engine. Theplane was taken out of service for extensive repairs.
Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told CBC News on Tuesdaythat in-flight shutdowns are "extremely rare" for Boeing 777aircraft, and there have not been any such shutdowns in the lastyear. There is regular day-to-day maintenance of the aircraft by AirCanada staff, Fitzpatrick said. The last major check of theaircraft not including the engines was done by a companycalled Haico in Hong Kong "as per its regular schedule," saidFitzpatrick, without specifying exactly when. Debris fell from engine An investigation into what happened Monday has only just begun.
An official with the Transportation Safety Board confirmed Tuesdaythat debris that fell from the sky and damaged a number of carsnear Toronto's Pearson International Airport originated from theengine of the Air Canada airplane. Pieces of oxidized metal are believed to have fallen from Flight AC001. (Ivy Cuervo/CBC) Don Enns, the regional manager of air investigations at the TSB,told CBC News that the pieces that fell from the aircraft came fromthe turbine section of the engine. The flight took off from Pearson at 2:10 p.m. ET and returned tomake its emergency landing at 3:53 p.m.
The plane had 318 passengers and 16 crew aboard when it landed onRunway 23. Peel Regional Police had identified at least four vehicles that hadbeen hit by pieces of metal about the size of a cellphone. There were no reports of any injuries due to the falling debris. Enns said the TSB is still looking into why the engine failed.After TSB officials take a superficial look at it, the engine willbe dismantled and examined more thoroughly.
"It's extremely rare that this kind of thing happens," Enns said. "I cannot offhand remember an event where we had engine partsfalling out of the back of the engine like this." No apparent damage to front of engine Enns didn't want to engage in "idle speculation" over the cause ofthe failure until a thorough examination has been conducted. But he said a preliminary examination has shown that there isn'tany damage to the front of the engine, where the fans are located. "The failure appears to have happened in the turbine section,"located at the back of the engine, said Enns.
Investigators have collected the flight data recorder and cockpitvoice recorder, which may yield more clues about what happened,said Enns. It could be a few weeks before investigators are able to remove theengine, disassemble it and examine it thoroughly, he said. Before its flight to Tokyo's Narita International Airport, theaircraft flew in to Toronto from Frankfurt "without any snags orany problems whatsoever," he said. Fitzpatrick told CBC News that the plane had an engine shutdown that occurred shortly after takeoff. The crew then followed standard procedures for dealing with thesituation, which saw them request an emergency landing.
Jason Flick, a passenger aboard the flight, said he first knewsomething was wrong about 10 or 15 minutes into the ascent when theaircraft was still on an upward incline but wasn't gaining anyaltitude. The captain then addressed the passengers and said theengine had to be turned off due to overheating, and that fuel hadto be dumped. "I was concerned. I didn't think we were going to land the plane.If the engine is going, you can t climb anymore.
That s not agood place to be," Flick told CBC News. "I was certainly typing up some letters that may have been my lastones. I was certainly in that mode of thinking for a while." Enns said the airplane is designed to fly for up to two to threehours with just one engine. With files from the CBC's Dave Seglins.
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