Serious incident Avro RJ100 VH-NJI, Tuesday 29 April 2014
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Date:Tuesday 29 April 2014
Time:10:45 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic RJ1H model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Avro RJ100
Owner/operator:Cobham Aviation
Registration: VH-NJI
MSN: E3265
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 90
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Serious incident
Location:near Perth Int Airport, WA -   Australia
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Perth Airport, WA (PER/YPPH)
Destination airport:Barrow Island Airport
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
On 29 April 2014 an AVRO 146-RJ100 aircraft, registered VH-NJI and operated by Cobham Aviation Services Australia (Cobham) on a on a charter flight from Perth Airport to Barrow Island, Western Australia, sustained an in-flight fuel-fed fire in the No. 2 engine during or shortly after take‑off. The flight crew shut the engine down and activated the fire suppression system before returning to Perth for landing.

ATSB examination of the combustion turbine module found that the engine combustor housing was previously weld-repaired on three separate occasions. These repairs were in the area of the combustion lining locating pin boss that was located at the two o’clock position on the module’s circumference (looking forward). The weld and a section of the combustor housing had undergone grinding as part of the repair process, which reduced the wall thickness of the combustor housing. A crack developed in this area of the combustor housing during subsequent operational service.

The engine manufacturer’s maintenance schedule specified that the combustor housing should be inspected for cracks at each scheduled heavy maintenance check. The crack and subsequent fracture of the combustor housing occurred prior to the next scheduled heavy maintenance check. The engine manufacturer advised that the reduction of the combustor housing wall thickness was not an approved process by the manufacturer.

Honeywell instigated several actions in response to this occurrence. These included amendment of the LF507 engine maintenance and overhaul manuals to address crack limits and weld repair specifications, and the issue of a Service Bulletin to alert operators of possible welded boss cracking.

Contributing factors
• A repair to the two o’clock combustion liner retention boss of the No. 2 engine combustor turbine module housing was not performed in accordance with the manufacturer’s repair specification, resulting in a thin-walled housing that increased local stresses in that location.
• As a result of fatigue, the No. 2 engine combustor turbine module housing cracked, then fractured adjacent to the two o’clock combustion liner retention boss weld, propagating at an unpredictable rate as a result of the non-approved repair.
• High-temperature combusting fuel and gases escaped radially from the fracture in the No. 2 engine combustor turbine module housing, leading to an in-flight engine fire.
Other factors that increased risk
• The Honeywell International Inc documentation for blending did not limit the amount of material that could be removed from the combustor housing.
Other findings
• The Honeywell International Inc LF507-1F heavy maintenance schedule was adequate to identify and repair cracks in the combustor turbine module housing combustion liner retention boss weld.

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: ATSB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration:
Download report: Final report

Sources:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-29/plane-engine-fire-in-perth/5418328
http://avherald.com/img/cobham_rj1h_vh-nji_perth_140429_2.jpg in flight photo
http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2014/aair/ao-2014-076.aspx
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/cobham-bae-146-makes-emergency-landing-after-engine-398671/
http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/5770199/ao-2014-076-final.pdf

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
29-Apr-2014 07:00 Útila Added
29-Apr-2014 07:08 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
29-Apr-2014 11:28 bizjets101 Updated [Registration, Cn, Source]
06-Sep-2014 19:44 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
01-Nov-2014 07:37 Edwin Updated [Source]
07-Dec-2014 14:20 Aerossurance Updated [Damage, Narrative]
02-May-2016 10:51 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Nature, Source, Narrative]
02-May-2016 19:18 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Cn]
10-Jun-2022 09:13 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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