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Report: Engine vibrations and in-flight shutdown involving Airbus A330, near Sydney Airport

Christian Fernsby |
On 1 June 2018, a Qantas Airways Limited Airbus A330 aircraft, registered VH-QPI (QPI), was operating a scheduled passenger flight from Sydney, New South Wales to Bangkok, Thailand.

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Topics: AIRBUS    SYDNEY   

On board were 13 crewmembers and 297 passengers.

Shortly after take-off, a ‘pop’ sound was heard, followed by light airframe vibration and a reduction in the rotational speed of the right engine. A cockpit advisory message relating to the right engine’s vibration level was also displayed to the crew.

The flight crew discontinued the climb and consulted the ‘High Engine Vibration’ checklist, which directed them to reduce the right engine’s thrust to idle. With the reduction in thrust, the vibration on the right engine reduced but remained relatively high.

To prevent further engine damage the flight crew decided to shut the engine down. With the engine shut down, the airframe vibration ceased.

Following an uneventful descent and return to Sydney Airport, an overweight landing with one engine inoperative was conducted.

Initial inspection by engineering staff revealed visible damage to the right engine low-pressure turbine, and engine debris generated impact damage to the aircraft’s wing flap lower surfaces and body fairings. The engine was removed and sent to the operator’s overhaul facility for detailed examination and repair.

Technical examination identified that the effects of oxidation and deterioration of the protective coating of the low‑pressure turbine stage 4 nozzle guide vane segments, led to intergranular oxidation, crack development and loss of an aerofoil from the No. 5 segment.

The liberated aerofoil impacted downstream rotating components, resulting in a loss of turbine blade material, rotor imbalance and subsequent airframe vibration.

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