Incident Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia VH-ASN, Tuesday 1 June 1999
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Date:Tuesday 1 June 1999
Type:Silhouette image of generic E120 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia
Registration: VH-ASN
MSN: 120056
Year of manufacture:1987
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:87 km NW Tindal Airport -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Darwin, NT
Destination airport:Tindal, NT
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
The EMB-120ER Brasilia was cruising at Flight Level 190, en route from Darwin to Tindal. Just prior to top-of-descent, the crew reported that they heard a loud bang from the right side of the aircraft, and the aircraft simultaneously yawed to the right. Suspecting an engine failure, the pilot-in-command disconnected the autopilot and re-trimmed the aircraft, noting that a considerable amount of rudder trim was required to maintain directional control.
Observation of the engine instruments by the crew confirmed a right engine failure, with the right engine torque gauge indicating 1%. A burning smell and fine smoke then became evident in the cockpit, and the crew put on their oxygen masks. Communications between the two pilots proved difficult with the masks fitted, due to a faulty right oxygen mask microphone. The crew positioned the right engine power lever to flight idle and commenced a descent. The flight attendant also indicated to the crew that smoke had begun to enter the cabin area.
The smoke immediately began to dissipate, following the reduction in engine power. The crew then shut down the right engine in accordance with company operating procedures, and broadcast to Air Traffic Control requesting that emergency services be made available on arrival at Tindal. Air Traffic Control declared a distress phase.
The crew removed their oxygen masks as the smoke had dissipated from the cockpit, however, they still fitted the masks intermittently due to the residual strong burning smell.
By that time the flight attendant had completed the company emergency plan actions, and following approval from the pilots, conducted the emergency briefing. During the briefing, some of the passengers indicated that they were experiencing difficulty hearing the details of the pre-recorded instructions, and the flight attendant had to stop the presentation several times to repeat unheard information. After the flight attendant's briefing, the pilot in command used the public address system to inform the passengers of the right engine problem.
After the single-engine landing, the crew stopped the aircraft on the runway. Emergency services indicated that there was a fuel leak from the right engine cowling. As a precaution, the crew shut down the left engine and instructed the flight attendant to disembark the passengers onto the runway through the main cabin entrance door.
The operator conducted an initial inspection of the failed Pratt and Whitney PW118A engine. This inspection revealed extensive damage to the engine's power turbine and a jammed low-pressure compressor. The reduction gearbox also appeared to have decoupled from the engine, with internal damage to the reduction gearbox case. The engine oil filter bypass indicator had activated, with evidence of metal contamination in the oil filter and on the reduction gearbox chip detector.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) then quarantined the engine, and delivered it to Pratt and Whitney Canada (PWC) for an investigation supervised by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. The PWC investigation found that the in-flight shut down had occurred due to the decoupling of the reduction gearbox drive from the power turbine rotor. This was considered to be a direct result of the fracture of the reduction gearbox input shaft by torsional overload.


Revision history:

20-Feb-2017 19:38 TB Updated [Narrative]

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