Event Details

Title:Uncontained engine failure, Smoke in cabin following RTO, Lockheed Tristar, C-FTNG
Micro summary:Following an aborted takeoff, smoke entered the cabin, prompting an emergency evacuation.
Event Time:1997-10-20 at 1335 UTC
File Name:1997-10-20-UK.pdf
Publishing Agency:Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB)
Publishing Country:United Kingdom
Report number:EW/C97/10/2
Site of event:Runway 08R at London Gatwick Airport
Departure:Gatwick Airport, London, England
Destination:Lester B Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Airplane Type(s):Lockheed L-1011
Flight Phase:Takeoff
Operator(s):Air Transat
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:11
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:The aircraft arrived at London Gatwick from Athens with 322 passengers. During this flight, there had been no unserviceabilities and the inbound commander reported this to the commander of the new crew who would be operating C-FTNG onwards to Toronto. The new commander also confirmed from the Technical Log that there were no carried forward defects and completed a satisfactory external inspection of the aircraft. The passengers from Athens were continuing on to Toronto with an additional 35 passengers who boarded the aircraft at Gatwick.

Engine starts were normal and C-FTNG was fully serviceable while taxiing to Runway 08R. The weather was good with a surface wind of 075/16 kt, varying between 030 and 110, maximum 27 kt and minimum 10 kt. With his clearance to line up and take off, the commander as handling pilot, taxied on to Runway 08R and advanced the thrust levers. The Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) was 'Off', the engine bleed switches were 'Open' and the air conditioning packs were 'Off'. As the engine power was increasing and the aircraft accelerating, warning lights illuminated on the Caution and Warning Annunciator Panel (CAWP); in addition to these two lights of 'Hydraulic System' and 'Flight Control Panels', he also noted a 'Rudder Hydraulic Limiter Push' light illuminate on the overhead panel. Coincident with this, there were also indications of system malfunctions on the flight engineer's panel. These included 'J ' 'Area Overheat' light, hydraulic system 'A' pump output 'Lo Pr' light and a quantity decrease on the hydraulic system 'A' quantity gauge. As the commander retarded the thrust levers, the 'Area/ Duct Overheat' light illuminated on the CAWP. At about the same time, Gatwick ATC transmitted to the aircraft: "'CALLSIGN' ABORT YOUR TAKE-OFF ABORT YOUR TAKE-OFF YOU'VE GOT SMOKE FROM ONE OF YOUR ENGINES ABORT YOUR TAKE-OFF". The flight crew acknowledged this instruction and then asked ATC where the smoke was coming from. When the controller advised them that it appeared to be from the "CENTRAL ENGINE BY THE LOOKS OF IT NUMBER TWO", the commander closed down Number two engine; while this R/T exchange was going on, the flight crew checked all engine instruments and detected no abnormalities.

With C-FTNG continuing at slow speed down the runway, the commander was aware of the location of the 'Fast Taxy Exit' and could already see fire vehicles in that area; this exit is 1,895 metres along the runway and is close to the fire station. Coincident with his call to the aircraft, the ATC controller had activated the crash alarm and the AFS were positioned at the north of the 'Fast Exit' before C-FTNG had cleared the runway. The Aft Fuselage 'Isoln Valve' was selected off, to stop bleed air entering area 'J' in the aft fuselage and as the aircraft taxied off the runway, the flight engineer started the 'B' system electric pump to provide main brake pressure; this system is normally powered by engine Number two. On the 'Fast Exit', the commander stopped the aircraft just short of the AFS vehicles on a heading of 055(M) and asked ATC if the smoke was still there; meanwhile, the flight engineer had selected numbers two and three 'Packs' on and also noted a decrease in both quantity and pressure on the 'B' hydraulic system. The controller confirmed that the smoke was still present and asked the crew to call the AFS on frequency 121.6 MHz. Radio contact was quickly established between the flight crew and the fire officer.

On initial contact, the fire officer requested that the commander close down his Number three (right) engine to enable the AFS personnel to carry out a visual inspection of the rear underside of the fuselage. Then, while this inspection was taking place, the commander confirmed to the fire officer that Numbers two and three engines were closed down, that the APU was not running and that two hydraulic systems on the aircraft were inoperative. The inspection revealed that there was no sign of fire but that smoke was coming from the leading edge of the tailplane and from a grill at the bottom of the fuselage; additionally, the right of the rear area of the aircraft was covered with a liquid. As this information was being passed to the commander, the flight service director (FSD) entered the cockpit to advise the commander that 'light smoke' was entering the rear of the passenger cabin. When this later information was relayed to the AFS, the fire officer recommended that the commander should initiate a controlled evacuation from the front slides. The commander accepted this recommendation, briefed his FSD and flight crew and then initiated the evacuation.

With the commander and first officer remaining in the cockpit and in radio contact with the fire officer, the two front slides on each side of the fuselage were deployed and AFS personnel stationed at the bottom of each one; the evacuation took approximately 10 minutes to complete and the passengers were quickly transported to the terminal area.

After the evacuation, the slides were removed from the aircraft , the aircraft was checked by engineers from another company and then towed clear of the runway. The runway was re-opened at 1509 hrs, 34 minutes after the initiation of the incident.

Eleven passengers subsequently were taken to hospital; one had a fractured collar bone and the others had chest and back pains. Four of these latter patients were retained overnight.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Cabin or Cockpit Smoke
Operations - Evacuation
Operations - Rejected Takeoff before V1
Systems - Engine - Uncontained Engine Failure
Systems - Hydraulics


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