Incident Airbus A320-233 N951LF,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 205384
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Date:Tuesday 13 July 2004
Type:Silhouette image of generic A320 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Airbus A320-233
Owner/operator:AirTran Airways
Registration: N951LF
MSN: 460
Year of manufacture:1993
Total airframe hrs:32672 hours
Engine model:IAE V2527E-A5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 110
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:near Atlanta, Georgia -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, GA (ATL/KATL)
Destination airport:Orlando International Airport, FL (MCO/KMCO)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
An Airbus A320-233, N951LF, operated by Ryan International Airlines, Inc., as AirTran Airways Flight 4, returned for landing after the fan cowl doors of the No. 1 engine separated from the airplane in flight in the vicinity of Atlanta, Georgia.
The flight departed Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, at 11:40. The captain stated he performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and noticed no irregularities. The flight departed runway 27R en route to Orlando, Florida. According to the
captain, immediately after takeoff, the lead flight attendant called to inform him that a passenger reported seeing a "cover" come off the left [No. 1] engine. The captain received no cockpit indications of a problem, and the captain instructed the lead flight attendant to look out the window and verify. The captain stated he then felt the airplane "shudder," and he contacted air traffic control and requested to return for landing. The lead flight attendant confirmed to the captain the No. 1 engine fan cowl was missing. The captain stated the No. 1 engine oil quantity indicator illuminated amber, and he declared an emergency. The captain stated the engine continued to operate normally, and the flight returned for landing without further incident.
Examination of the airplane revealed both sides of the No. 1 engine fan cowl were separated, the engine pylon cantilever was bent up, aft, and inboard; and the left wing slat outboard of the engine nacelle displayed an approximate 12-inch area with dent and puncture damage. The
Union City Police Department retrieved the inboard fan cowl door from a dirt roadway approximately 7.5 nautical miles west southwest of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Airport authorities found the outboard fan cowl door in the grass beside runway 27R.
Examination of the latching mechanism components on each cowl door revealed no evidence of failure or mechanical malfunction. Examination of the No. 2 engine fan cowls revealed they were closed and latched.
A mechanic who performed a daily check on the airplane prior to the accident flight stated he opened the fan cowl for the No. 1 engine to check on what appeared to be an oil leak. The mechanic stated he found no leak and was in the process of closing the fan cowl when he was
called away to another aircraft. The mechanic later returned to the incident airplane to finish the maintenance checks, and he stated he could not recall if the cowl doors on the No. 1 engine were fully latched.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be:
The failure of company maintenance personnel to secure the nacelle/cowl doors, which
resulted in a separation of the doors during takeoff initial climb.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ATL04IA156
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

30-Jan-2018 20:07 harro Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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