Monday, January 29, 2007

Mesa CRJ200 loses turbine blade during cruise

This past Thursday, a CRJ200 aircraft operated by Mesa Airlines experienced an uncontained engine failure during a flight between Denver and Phoenix. According to media reports, the number one engine, a GE CF34-3B1, threw a fan blade during cruise. The failed blade took out the engine's forward cowling as it departed the aircraft.

The aircraft, which was said to be about 50 nm out from Denver when the incident happened, returned to DIA where it made an emergency landing. There were 50 pax and 3 crew aboard the flight. No evacuation was necessary, and no one was injured.

For more info, check out the article about the incident posted on the Aero-News Network, and another article with a photo of the aircraft showing the damaged engine on the website.

The NTSB is investigating the incident, and says that "engine manufacturer GE has sent three representatives to support the NTSB in its investigation." According to the Aero-News Network, "GE says there hasn't been a failure such as this in any of the more than 2000 CF34-3B1 engines placed in service since 1992."

UPDATE Jan. 31, 2007: The NTSB issued a press release today about this investigation. Among other things, it mentions that they have notified local law enforcement agencies on the ground near the area where the incident occurred "that there could be engine debris on the ground in their jurisdictions," and asking that the NTSB be notified if any such debris is found. Here is the link to that press release: NTSB Investigating Uncontained Engine Failure in Colorado, Seeking Lost Engine Components

UPDATE Feb. 5, 2007: The Aero-News Network is reporting that NTSB searchers have found the debris from the jet engine that failed over Colorado last week. According to the article, "Using trajectory analysis, NTSB crews pinpointed an area in Teller County where they searched for and found most of the engine debris. The debris will be studied to determine the cause of the failure and if the problem affects similar jet engines."