Event Details

Title:Oil filter clog, Airbus A300-600, N70072
Micro summary:Oil filter clog light illuminated on climb, triggering diversion.
Event Time:1998-07-09 at 1145 UTC
File Name:1998-07-09-UK.pdf
Publishing Agency:Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB)
Publishing Country:United Kingdom
Report number:EW/C98/7/2
Site of event:Climb
Departure:London Heathrow Airport, London, England, United Kingdom
Destination:General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Airplane Type(s):Airbus A300-600
Flight Phase:Climb
Operator(s):American Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:The crew were operating a scheduled flight from London Heathrow (LHR) Airport to Logan International Airport, Boston, USA; the weather was good with a light south westerly surface wind for take off. There were no significant defects in the technical log and the aircraft appeared fully serviceable during the external and pre-start checks. Both engine starts were normal and the commander taxied out to Runway 27 Left. He was the handling pilot for the sector and used reduced power for a normal take off at 1137 hrs.

Everything appeared serviceable during the take off and initial climb but, as the aircraft climbed through Flight Level (FL) 100, the first officer saw the right 'Oil Filter Clog' caution light illuminate and reported this fact to the commander. Initially, the light flickered on and off, as did the indication on the Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitor (ECAM). However, after a short time, both the 'Oil Filter Clog' light and the ECAM indication remained on and steady. The crew checked the other engine indications but they were all normal; additionally, there were no asymmetric handling indications and no abnormal vibration. With clearance from ATC, the commander levelled N70072 at FL 150. Then, with the caution still indicating, the commander instructed the first officer to action the appropriate emergency drills. Initially, this required the No 2 throttle to be retarded to a position at which the caution light would go out. However, with the throttle at idle the light continually flickered on and off. Then, after 3 minutes at idle, the 'Oil Filter Clog' light was on and steady and the commander, in accordance with the emergency drills and in consultation with the first officer, decided to shutdown No 2 engine. With the commander retaining handling duties, the first officer actioned the appropriate drills.

After the drill was completed, the crew declared an emergency to ATC and stated that they wished to return to LHR; they were given full co-operation by ATC. Then, with the aircraft established back towards LHR, the commander briefed the purser on the situation and of his intentions, and informed the passengers. The recovery was uneventful and the aircraft landed on Runway 27 Right at LHR at 1230 hrs. The LHR emergency vehicles had been alerted by ATC and had pre-positioned on the taxiway adjacent to the western end of the runway.

The aircraft weight on landing was 368,000 lb and the crew used a configuration of Slat 15/ Flap 20 with a Vref speed of 166 kt. Normal maximum landing weight is 308,700 lb but, with no fuel jettison system, overweight landings are permitted in an emergency at any weight within the maximum take-off weight of 378,590 lb. For the landing, the crew had preselected the autobrakes to the 'LO' setting, thereby selecting a deceleration rate of 1.7 m/sec2. The crew assessed the touchdown as smooth, at less than 300 feet/min rate of descent and within 1,500 feet of the threshold; speed on touchdown was approximately 165 kt and the surface wind was reported as 240/13 kt. On the ground, the first officer confirmed that the spoilers had deployed and the commander selected medium reverse thrust on the left engine. The crew recalled that the autobrake had disconnected following the commander's use of manual brake during the ground roll and the first officer then selected 'Brake Fans'. Neither crew member considered the retardation as excessive and, although the commander was confident that he could have turned the aircraft off the runway early, he allowed it to roll to the last exit. As N70072 was turned off the runway, ATC advised the crew that there were no visible problems and transferred them to the Airport Fire Service (AFS) frequency; as they cleared the runway, the crew noted that the left brake temperatures were normal but that all four right brake temperatures were indicating at the gauge maximum of 700C.

Once clear of the runway, the crew brought the aircraft to a halt, established contact with the AFS and informed the fire officer of the brake temperature indications. The fire officer confirmed that there was smoke coming from the right main landing gear area and asked the commander to keep N70072 stopped and to shut down the left engine to allow the AFS unhindered access to the aircraft. Shortly afterwards, the fire officer reported to the crew that there was a small fire in the area of the right gear but that it was under control. The commander confirmed with him that there was no need to evacuate but then briefed the purser and asked her to be prepared to react quickly if the situation changed. Thereafter, the flight crew maintained a close liaison with the AFS and the cabin crew. The AFS used water to cool the brakes and stayed in attendance until the passengers had disembarked normally through door 4L using portable steps.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Evacuation
Operations - Maintenance
Systems - Brake/Tire/Wheel Well Fire
Systems - Engine - Contained Engine Failure
Systems - Landing Gear


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