Second US Airways Engine FoundJan 22, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
The second engine from the US Airways plane that was forced to crash-land in the Hudson River near Manhattan has been found. Bloomberg News reported that “organic material” and a feather were found on parts of the engine, which corroborates the pilot’s report of a bird collision leading to the forced landing.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a statement today that said that the jet engine’s fan blades suffered “soft body impact damage” and that a variety of other engine parts were “significantly damaged,” Bloomberg News reported. The organic material, which was found on the right engine, wings, and fuselage was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for DNA analysis, while the feather was sent to bird experts at the Smithsonian Institute for identification, said the NTSB. The feather was found on a track for one of the wing flaps. The Washington Post reported that other physical evidence was also found and that internal engine parts, in addition to being significantly damaged, were missing.
The left engine was located at the bottom of the Hudson River, said Bloomberg News, in about 50 feet of water and will likely be retrieved Friday. The NTSB believes the engine shook loose on impact, said Bloomberg News.
Just two weeks before the now infamous airbus was forced to crash land into the Hudson, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandated increased inspections for that plane’s engine, reported Newsday, which noted that the engine was no stranger to a type of engine stall. It turns out that the same plane that was forced to crash-land in the waters off of Manhattan also experienced mid-flight engine problems two days earlier, reported Newsday. And while it remains unclear if the problems are related, the engine involved seems to require more in-depth inspections due to the engine stall to which it is more prone.
Of the earlier, January 13th incident, a passenger told Newsday that the pilot announced that the plane’s right engine experienced a “compressor stall.” And while experts say compressor stalls can be resolved with a throttle decrease, such problems can cause permanent engine damage, reported Newsday. The Charlotte Observer explained that compressor stalls occur when air is reversed inside the engine, such as in the event of a strong gust of wind. Some stalls can be dangerous enough to cause bending or breaking of the engine blades and can shake planes to the point where instrument panels become unreadable, according to Kirk Koenig, a pilot and president of Expert Aviation Consulting, said The Charlotte Observer. Koenig pointed out that the January 13th problem could have potentially damaged the engine, making it more susceptible to the January 15th bird collision.
Meanwhile, news of the FAA’s December notification of the need for more intense engine inspections—an FAA Airworthiness Directive—was revealed as the probe widened to include the airbus’ mid-air engine stall, said Newsday. The directive discussed compressor stalls and explained that such stalls could cause “an abrupt shutdown and violent shuddering of the plane,” said Newsday, which quoted the directive as explaining that this problem was “likely to exist or develop on” two of the engines that powered the plane that suffered two incidences in two days.