Iranian Fokker 100 engine parts penetrate cabin after failure
October 22, 2020
Iranian investigators are probing the serious uncontained failure of a Fokker 100 engine which forced the crew to abort take-off from Tehran’s Mehrabad airport. The Iran Aseman Airlines jet (EP-ATE) had been operating a service to Ardabil, near the Caspian Sea coast in northwestern Iran, on 13 October. Preliminary investigation by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation has determined that flight EP3962 left the gate at 14:45 and commenced its take-off roll from runway 29L. Around 500m into the run, at an airspeed of 91kt, the right-hand Rolls-Royce Tay 650-15 engine sustained damage. “Engine efficiency parameters immediately reduced,” says the inquiry. As the aircraft was still travelling below the V1 decision-speed threshold, the crew aborted the departure. Analysis of the engine showed that the failure in the area of the high-pressure turbine had caused turbine blades and other parts to be ejected from the engine, penetrating the nacelle. Some of these parts pierced and entered the fuselage.“Despite the proximity of one of the flight attendants to the incident location inside the cabin, fortunately no injuries were inflicted on anyone,” the inquiry states. Flight recorders from the aircraft – which was transporting 87 passengers and seven crew members – were retrieved for assessment by the Civil Aviation Organisation. The aircraft is listed by fleet data as a 1990 airframe originally delivered to the Swedish arm of Braathens in 1993. Details of the engines’ usage and maintenance have not yet been disclosed by the inquiry. But the Iranian investigators suggest there are similarities with the fatal accident involving a TAM Fokker 100 (PT-MRN) which suffered uncontained engine failure in flight on 15 September 2001. The twinjet had been en route at 31,000ft from Recife to Campinas, and was 70nm from Belo Horizonte when the accident occurred, with the fan disc and the first three stages of the compressor separating. High-energy parts penetrated the cabin, fatally injuring a passenger in window seat row 19, who was hit by fragments of a stator vane disc. Three other passengers were also struck. Brazilian investigation authority CENIPA concluded that two to five fan blades had initially failed, and that the failure appeared related to fatigue induced by flutter. It said examination of the blade roots and the profile of engine damage was similar, in turn, to that arising from two prior Tay events on 5 December 1995 and 29 August 1997. The TAM inquiry posited that the routine use of maximum reverse-thrust during operations at Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont airport might have resulted in exposure to engine thrust in a critical range, inducing fatigue cracks. Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation says “further investigations” on the engine are needed, and that – given the previous fatal accident – it is notifying Dutch, German and UK counterparts of the Iran Aseman event.

Source: Cirium

Disinfectants kill Covid-19 virus on cabin surfaces: Boeing study
October 22, 2020
A joint study by Boeing and the University of Arizona found that disinfectants already used on aircraft are successful in killing viruses like the one that causes Covid-19. Boeing says the results demonstrate that passengers face little risk of catching the virus from recently disinfected aircraft surfaces. The study comes as the airline industry continues stressing to the public that they are safe from the virus when flying. The sector has said several other recent studies support that conclusion. Boeing’s study, the first of its kind, aimed to determine how well various disinfectant methods, many already in use, kill a virus called MS2 on aircraft cabin surfaces, the Chicago airframer says. MS2 is harmless to humans, and more difficult to kill than SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, says Boeing. The tests involved placing MS2 on “touch points” within an aircraft cabin, including on tray tables, armrests, seat cushions and storage bins, and in lavatories and galleys. Study participants then disinfected the surfaces using various products and methods. Surfaces were wiped and sprayed with virus-killing chemicals and treated with “antimicrobial coats” and ultraviolet light. The study confirmed that the disinfectants killed the virus, Boeing says. The University of Arizona “validated” the testing and “correlated those results in a lab to the virus that causes Covid-19,” it adds. “The probability of getting infected is close to zero. Using these techniques, there will be no transmission of the virus on these surfaces,” says University of Arizona virology professor Charles Gerba, who participated in the study. “Current cleaning solutions effectively destroy the virus that causes Covid-19,” Boeing adds. Michael Delaney, who heads Boeing’s “Confident Travel Initiative”, says the study confirms that cleaning recommendations Boeing provides its customers work. Last week, the US military released results from a study into the possible airborne spread of the Covid-19 virus within aircraft cabins. That study concluded that the “overall exposure risk from aerosolised pathogens, like coronavirus, is very low”. On 8 October, IATA said the risk of catching Covid-19 on an aircraft “appears very low”. IATA said “computational fluid dynamics” research completed by Airbus, Boeing and Embraer demonstrated that “aircraft airflow systems do control the movement of particles in the cabin, limiting the spread of viruses”. Boeing’s study was an effort by its Confident Travel Initiative, which the company created earlier this year to establish safety recommendations and to study the risk of Covid transmission on aircraft.

Source: Cirium

Cathay shutters Cathay Dragon brand and axes 5,900 jobs
October 21, 2020
Cathay Pacific Group will cut 8,500 jobs, in a HK$2.2 billion ($284 million) restructuring exercise that will also see the Cathay Dragon brand cease operations effective immediately. As part of restructuring efforts, the group will eliminate 8,500 positions, or about 24% of its existing headcount. Of these, 2,600 are currently unfilled, owing to cost reduction initiatives in recent months including a hiring freeze and the closure of certain overseas bases. The majority of the staff — more than 5,000 — to be axed will be Hong Kong-based employees. Cathay did not disclose which jobs were affected. As for the closure of Cathay Dragon, Cathay states it intends to take over the majority of the carrier’s routes, together with its low-cost arm HK Express. Data shows that Cathay Dragon only operates five routes now, the majority of which are to mainland China. Before the coronavirus outbreak affected its network, the carrier — which began life as Dragonair — flew a network of more than 50 points across mainland China and Asia, including to Japan, the Philippines, India as well as Malaysia. News of Cathay Dragon’s closure ends months of speculation about the carrier’s fate. As recent as June, the group was mum about whether or not the carrier might be absorbed into either Cathay or HK Express’ operations. The restructuring announcement caps off a business model review that began in June, shortly after the carrier unveiled a HK$39 billion recapitalisation plan. The carrier said then that by the fourth quarter of the year, its senior management team will make recommendations to its board on the “optimum size and shape” of the group. Cathay Pacific Group reported a staggering operating loss of HK$8.7 billion for its half-year financial results, amid plunging travel demand amid the coronavirus outbreak. It has since parked about 40% of its fleet in long-term storage overseas as well as deferred delivery of its Airbus aircraft. Cathay also recently said it only expects to operate at half capacity in the coming year, given that recovery will be slower than expected.

Source: Cirium


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