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Engine of ill-fated TransAsia flight cut off after the other fails

Engine of ill-fated TransAsia flight cut off after the other fails

Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) Both of the engines on the TransAsia Airways (????) flight that crashed in Taipei on Wednesday lost power before the plane went down, but one had its power cut off rather than suffering from mechanical failure, the Aviation Safety Council (ASC, ???) said Friday. Citing data from the two black boxes retrieved from the ill-fated ATR 72-600 turboprop, ASC Managing Director Wang Hsing-chung (???) painted a picture of mounting problems and warnings that may have confused the pilots and led to the plane's demise.
He said a master warning signaled that engine No. 2 lost power at 10:52:38 a.m. as the plane was reaching 1,200 feet in altitude after taking off. Engine No. 1 on the two-engine plane was still operating normally at that point in the flight but was then cut off at 10:53:24 a.m. for unknown reasons, according to information obtained from the plane's flight data recorder (FDR). "We cannot answer any question concerning the 'why' at the moment," Wang said, stressing it remained unclear what led to the sudden loss of power in the plane's good engine. Wang said the plane could be flown with one engine.
According to the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), the crew discussed throttling back engine No. 1 at 10:52:43 a.m., just four seconds after the master warning for the other engine went off. The CVR showed that the crew mentioned a procedure for handling engine flameout shortly afterwards, while confirming at 10:53:07 a.m. that engine No. 2 was not working. Around that time, the first warning of that the plane was losing speed sounded out, both the FDR and CVR showed. The CVR showed that the pilots mentioned at 10:53:19 a.m. that engine No. 1's propeller was auto-feathering and fuel had been cut off to the engine, followed by second and third warnings of the aircraft losing speed and potentially stalling two seconds later. Feathering describes the action when a propeller's blades are rotated parallel to the airflow in case of an engine failure to reduce drag. The crew then issued their first mayday call and notified the control tower of an engine flameout at 10:53:34 a.m., and two more warnings that the plane could stall sounded shortly afterwards. Things quickly seemed to spiral out of control after that, as the crew said it restarted an engine just before another warning of a loss of speed and a master warning occurred at 10:54:34 a.m., the time when an unidentified noise was recorded, Wang said. Two seconds later, the exact time when the plane crashed to the river, both the FDR and CVR stopped recording, he said. TransAsia Airways' flight crashed three minutes and 23 seconds after getting clearance at 10:51:13 to take off from Songshan Airport in northern Taipei en route to Kinmen. Fifteen of the 58 people on board survived the accident while 35 have been confirmed dead and the other eight remain unaccounted for. The ATR72-600 aircraft was less than a year old but had experienced engine problems before. The plane swerved over tall buildings in Taipei's Nangang District shortly after taking off before careening toward the river, clipping an overpass and a taxi riding on it before crashing upside down.
Representatives from the French Land Transport Accident Investigation Bureau, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, the plane's manufacturer ATR and engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada in Taiwan to investigate the crash also attended the press conference. An initial report of the crash will be released within a month, Wang said. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)


Updated : 2021-09-20 19:12 GMT+08:00