Thursday, February 5, 2009

Splashdown probe rules out engine trouble

associated press: US Airways Flight 1549 passenger Jim Hanks first headed toward the back, submerged part of the crashed plane before trying another exit from the aircraft that landed in the Hudson River.

Transportation officials are ruling out an engine control malfunction and are now focusing their investigation on the remains of dead birds found in both engines of the US Airways airbus that ditched into the Hudson River on Jan. 15.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Wednesday that an engine surge occurred in the right engine just two days prior to the accident, however the engine recovered and the flight was completed without any further events.

"The NTSB determined that the surge was due to a faulty temperature sensor, which was replaced by maintenance ... following approved procedures," the agency said. "After the engine was examined with a [borescope] and found to be undamaged and in good working order, the aircraft was returned to service."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Dec. 31 issued an airworthiness directive on a specific series of turbofan engines, the same type that was on US Airways Flight 1549.

"After examining the engine maintenance records and interviewing relevant personnel, the NTSB determined that all of the requirements of the [directive] were complied with prior to the accident flight," the NTSB said.

During the accident, the flight data recorder revealed no anomalies or malfunctions in either engine up to the point where the captain reported a bird strike, after which there was an uncommanded loss of thrust in both engines, the NTSB said.

Flight 1549 lost power in both its engines just after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport, but Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his co-pilot and crew pulled off a successful crash landing on the Hudson, saving all 150 passengers on board.

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