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Enjine Cowlings




Engine Cowling Blown Off

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NTSB Identification:                    ATL04IA156


Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121:        Air Carrier operation of Ryan International Airlines, Inc. (D.B.A. AirTran Airways) Incident occurred Tuesday, July 13, 2004 in Atlanta, GA

Aircraft:                    Airbus Industrie A320-233, registration: N951LF

Injuries:                 110 Uninjured.

(This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors.  Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.)

On July 13, 2004, about 1200 eastern daylight time, an Airbus Industrie A320-233, N951LF, operated by Ryan International Airlines, Inc., as AirTran Airways Flight 4, returned for landing after a portion of the left engine cowling separated from the airplane in flight in the vicinity of Atlanta, Georgia. The scheduled domestic air carrier flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 121 with an instrument flight plan filed.

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The airline transport-rated captain, airline transport-rated first officer, four flight attendants, and 104 passengers were not injured, and the airplane sustained minor damage.

The flight departed Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, at 1140 on July 13, 2004.  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 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 felt the airplane "shutter," and he contacted air traffic control and requested to return for landing. The lead flight attendant confirmed to the captain the left engine cowling was missing.

The captain stated the No. 1 engine oil quantity indicator illuminated amber, and he declared an emergency. The engine continued to operate normally, and the flight returned for landing without further incident.

Preliminary examination of the airplane revealed both sides of the left engine cowling were separated, the left engine pylon 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 side of the left engine cowling from a dirt roadway approximately 7.5 nautical miles west southwest of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Airport authorities found the outboard side of the left engine cowling in the grass beside runway 27R.


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Last modified: 21 December 2004 00:08