Event Details

Title:Uncontained engine failure, Aircraft Incident Report, Northwest Airlines 79, McDonnell Douglas DC-10-40, N143US, Leesburg, Virginia, January 31, 1981
Micro summary:This McDonnell Douglas DC-10-40 experienced an uncontained engine failure on climb.
Event Time:1981-01-31 at 1806 EST
File Name:1981-01-31-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-81-10
Site of event:6000'
Latitude/Longitude:N3906'50" W7734'59"
Departure:Washington Dulles International Airport, Washington DC, USA
Destination:Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington, USA
Airplane Type(s):McDonnell Douglas DC-10-40
Flight Phase:Climb
Operator(s):Northwest Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:About 1806 EST on January 31, 1981, the No. 3 engine failed as Northwest Airlines Flight 79, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-40, N143US, was climbing through 6,000 feet after departing Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, Virginia. The flightcrew performed the appropriate emergency procedures, requested an immediate return to Dulles, and dumped 40,000 pounds of fuel. The aircraft, with 10 crewmembers and 43 passengers aboard, landed on runway 12 a t 1825 EST without further incident. No one aboard was injured, and damage to the aircraft was minor. There was no damage to property or injury to persons on the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the incident was the high cycle fatigue fracture of the No. 30 fan blade in the No. 3 engine. The origin of the fatigue fracture on the leading edge of the fan blade was a preexisting high temperature arc burn from an undetermined source. Contributing to the damage to the aircraft and the No. 2 engine was the failure of the No. 3 engine nose cowl and fan containment case flanges/fasteners due to aerodynamic loading, fan imbalance, and fan/fan case interaction which resulted in an inflight separation of the nose cowl assembly and the fan containment case.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Maintenance
Systems - Engine - Foreign Object Damage
Systems - Engine - Uncontained Engine Failure
Close match:Engine failure, National Airlines, Inc., McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-10, N60NA, Near Tampa, Florida, July 8, 1974


Accident Reports on DVD, Copyright © 2006 by Flight Simulation Systems, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.
 All referenced trademarks are the property of their respective owners.