Engine Cowling Blown Off
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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
Airbus Industrie A320-233, registration: N951LF
(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.