Boeing Part Failure, Airbus Crew Distraction


Investigators have made progress toward explaining the failure of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner GEnx engine during a taxi test and a separate incident that many pilots might understand involving the crew of an A380 out of LAX. The 787 incident took place July 28 at Charleston, S.C., and resulted in a contained engine failure. The NTSB has found that a fan located mid-shaft on the 787’s GEnx engine fractured. Detailed metallurgical and dimensional analysis of the parts is ongoing. Meanwhile, ATSB investigators found that complications and interruptions introduced into the cockpit of an A380 as the crew prepared for takeoff last October ultimately left them without automated lift-off target speeds during the takeoff roll.

The ATSB found that the A380 crew had been asked to make a late runway change and while the captain prepared to enter the data into appropriate systems, the cabin crew called to report a problem with one of the jet’s doors. As a result, the captain failed to follow all appropriate data entry procedures relevant to the change of runway and wind information, when his attention was diverted by the door problem. The first officer had two opportunities to catch the error and dismissed a first alert thinking the information would later be checked. Then he dismissed the second, believing the information had already been checked, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. As the aircraft accelerated down the runway, the crew became aware of the lack of lift-off target speed information present in their instrumentation but initially thought it was the result of another system failure. But as the jet accelerated through 100 knots the captain made the decision to continue and the cockpit crew fell back on “handwritten notes to recall liftoff target speeds,” the Herald reported. The flight continued to a safe landing in Melbourne without additional drama.