Days ago we learned of the crash of a TransAsia flight from Taipei to Kinmen which hit a bridge and landed in the water.
This was a horrible event, and it’s tough to shake the images we saw caught on a dashcam.
Since the aircraft and its recorders were recoverable, we already know much of what happened.
With the caveat that there are still unanswered questions, and a final report will ultimately likely explain even those, it appears that:
- There was a malfunction with the aircraft’s right engine.
- The pilots shut down the left engine.
So they were essentially operating without either engine. One presumes they intended to shut down the right engine, which was neither necessary nor desirable to do in any case.
Data from the ATR 72-600’s flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) indicates that a right engine flameout warning sounded in the cockpit shortly after takeoff… data indicates that the engine didn’t actually flame out, but went into auto-feather mode, which means it was operating at a reduced level and not producing thrust.
For unexplained reasons, the pilots then set the left engine—which data indicates was not malfunctioning—“to fuel shutoff position resulting in left engine shutdown,” according to ASC. Investigators said they did not know why the flight deck crew shut off the left engine, which should have provided enough thrust to keep the ATR 72-600 flying even with the right engine experiencing problems.
The right engine shouldn’t have been shut down under basic procedures. Of course, there could be more information still to come out about this incident, and not yet revealed by voice and data recorders.
My thoughts remain with the 35 people who lost their lives in this crash, their families, and with the airline.
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