Incident BAe 3206 Jetstream 32 VH-OTE, Thursday 30 March 2017
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Date:Thursday 30 March 2017
Type:Silhouette image of generic JS32 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
BAe 3206 Jetstream 32
Owner/operator:Pelican Airlines
Registration: VH-OTE
MSN: 980
Year of manufacture:1993
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:near Canberra, ACT -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Canberra Airport, ACT (CBR/YSCB)
Destination airport:Newcastle-Williamtown Airport, NSW (NTL/YWLM)
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Pelican Airlines flight FP314 was a regular flight from Canberra Airport, to Newcastle Airport, Australia.
All pre-flight checks, taxi and engine run-ups at Canberra were normal, however, the left engine single red line computer was unserviceable. This did not prevent the aircraft from operating the flight but meant that the flight crew had to set the power of the engine using the manufacturer’s documented torque tables.
At about 15:45, the aircraft departed from runway 17 at Canberra Airport. As the aircraft passed about 7,000 ft on climb, the flight crew observed that the right engine was producing about 40 per cent torque, while the left was producing about 65 per cent torque. Fuel flow to the right engine and exhaust gas temperature (EGT) were also slightly lower than the left. The captain tried to use the power lever to increase torque to the right engine but it did not respond to produce greater than 40 per cent.
The first officer retrieved the appropriate section of the quick reference handbook (QRH), which they then actioned. The most common cause of low torque was icing on the compressor inlet pressure (P2T2) sensors. The QRH response was to turn on heat to melt the ice and wait 5 minutes to see if there was a power response.
After completing the actions and waiting the prescribed 5 minutes, there was still no positive response in the right engine to moving the power lever so the crew elected to return to Canberra Airport. At about 15:59, passing about 9,000 ft, the first officer advised air traffic control (ATC) that they intended to return to Canberra and ATC provided a clearance for their approach.
About 5 minutes later, as the crew prepared for the approach to return, normal power returned to the right engine. Both engines were now responding to power lever inputs over the full range. Hence, the flight crew assessed that icing had been the cause of low torque and it had taken longer than 5 minutes for the ice to melt and the engine to respond.
At about 16:04, when at about 9,000 ft, the first officer advised ATC that they had rectified the situation. The first officer advised that they intended to continue to Newcastle, and subsequently obtained a clearance to reroute.
Less than 2 minutes after turning the aircraft to track towards Newcastle, the right engine issue recurred. The captain verified that they could not get more than 40 per cent torque but that by pulling the power lever back, they could get flight idle torque. In those circumstances, the flight crew elected to return to Canberra but not to shut down the right engine.
The flight crew did not declare an emergency, conducted a normal approach and, at about 16:21, the aircraft landed on runway 17 at Canberra Airport without further incident.

- During climb, the right engine was limited to a reduced torque value and the engine did not respond to the pilot’s power lever inputs to increase torque. Due to this reduced torque and poor weather conditions in Newcastle, the flight crew elected to return to Canberra.
- The reduced engine torque was consistent with leakage of the fuel control unit P3 piston into the P2 section.
- The flight crew used effective communication and threat and error management techniques in responding to the issue. Although making an urgency (PAN) broadcast would certainly have appropriately alerted air traffic control (ATC) to the situation, the flight crew did not consider a PAN broadcast was necessary in this case as they had advised ATC of the reduced engine torque, and because a normal approach was possible.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 11 months
Download report: Final report



History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

29 March 2022 VH-OTE Fly Pelican 0 near Newcastle-Williamtown Airport, NSW (NTL/YWLM) min

Revision history:

11-Mar-2018 15:51 harro Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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