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Author Topic: Delta B-737 leaving MSP loses engine cowling.  (Read 6485 times)
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« on: March 12, 2014, 11:38:03 PM »
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Passengers on Delta Flight 309 to the Dominican Republic reported that the plane returned  to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Monday after parts of the starboard engine cowling went missing.

Wonder where the cowling "parts" came off and where they fell?  Did anybone find the bath tub size parts on their lawns or roofs?

Note: If the cowling fell off on the runway, that would have been a serious hazard, and a report should have come from MSP.  There is the possibility that other aircraft used the runway before the Delta flight asked to return.

An emergency was declared so the flight could get priority from air traffic control to return to MSP.  That should have resulted in an incident report in the FAA system.

MAC PR department head Pat Hogan would have issued a statement, or should have, in either case above.  And operations were suspended during at least the emergency and part of the tow time. (Passengers should have been deplaned on the runway, but we haven't heard the details (not from Delta, not from MSP).

If the cowling was taken off -- the link below has a photo, but it may or may not be the aircraft involved -- on the ground, it was not a very thorough pre-flight inspection. It would seem some Delta disciplinary action would have been reported.

So, unless Delta and MAC are engaged in a cover-up, the parts came down near but not on MSP.

Source: http://airnation.net/hangar/threads/delta-737-returns-to-msp-when-engine-cowling-separates-photo.9977/
Read the comments there for sure. The publication asked an industry  safety consultant about incident, and his viewpoint was roughly refuted by readers.


« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 12:44:30 PM by Forum Manager » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2014, 11:02:37 AM »
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We became aware of a KSTP-TV story quoting MAC media spokesman Pat Hogan to the effect that the return was not an emergency, but a routine precaution. Hogan was quoted as saying the plane flew around for 25 minutes to reduce fuel for landing.  We assume therefore that Flight 309 was delayed three hours after taxiing to a gate.  The photo of the uncovered engine appears to have been taken from the aircraft in flight, with some of the cowling still attached.

The outboard side of the engine is not pictured.  We have a hard time believing the airplane flew a half-hour and landed in the condition shown, and it was not considered an emergency.  If FAA reported the incident -- an emergency landing -- an investigation woould be by FAA. 

Perhaps MAC or Delta could shed more light on the incident
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 10:48:06 PM by Forum Manager » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2014, 10:45:04 PM »
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The FAA Preliminary Accident and Incident data table, Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) Preliminary Accident and Incident Reports page now has an incident report: "DELTA FLIGHT 309 BOEING 737 AIRCRAFT, REGISTRATION UNKNOWN, ON TAKEOFF, STRUCK A BIRD ,AIRCRAFT RETURNED AND LANDED WITHOUT INCIDENT, DAMAGE UNKNOWN TO WING, MINNEAPOLIS, MN".

Source: http://www.asias.faa.gov/pls/apex/f?p=100:93:0::NO:::

We have a number of problems with this preliminary report:

1. The table is accessed by REPORT date (in this case, 11 Mar 14), not the incident date (in this case, 10 Mar 14).
2.  Reported statements by MAC (Hogan) and Delta Airlines did not mention a "bird strike."
3.  "Landed without incident" implies no emergency; the pilots, however, were quoted as having declared an emergency after viewing the starboard engine.
4.  The well-remembered Hudson River crash landing suggests a motive for Delta Airlines to not report the  bird strike as a safety issue this time --the aircraft
was said to be "experiencing vibrations" and returned "as a precaution."
5.  The source of the statement above is not given.

SMAAC asked FAA MSP ATCT Manager Carl Rydeen for ATC details on 13 March 14 and a Reply was received March 19th.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 08:12:50 PM by Forum Manager » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2014, 02:39:40 PM »
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In response to an email request, Mr. Rydeen replied as below:

On March 10, 2014, at approximately 0722 local time, Delta 309, a 737-832, departed Runway 30L at MSP enroute Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ). Crew immediately noticed a vibration in the aircraft and returned to MSP, landing without incident at 0820 local. The crew declared an emergency, which is a regulatory procedure.  Runway 30L was closed after take-off to clear any parts that may have separated on the aircraft, and the runway was closed again upon landing for another sweep.  At the time of landing, a piece of the outboard cowling on the right engine was noticed to be loose.  After landing the aircraft was towed to gate G13 with passengers on board.

The FAA's Delta Certificate Management Office (CMO), which provides regulatory oversight to the Delta Airlines certificate, is investigating this event, which is standard procedure. The investigation is still open, and at this time, no conclusions have been drawn.

If you wish to request a copy of the final report, you may do so through FOIA.  You may file your FOIA request at:  http://www.faa.gov/foia/foia_request/

Carl Rydeen
Terminal District  Manager (Acting)
Northern Planes District


1. Almost an hour went by before Flight 309 returned and landed.  MAC spokesman Pat Hogan said the delay was to burn off fuel, and Mr. Rydeen did not exactly report that R30L was used for the landing, but R30L was the only runway mentioned in the "swept, cleared" sentence. So there may have been two reasons for the damaged aircraft to fly around.  In any event, Delta and FAA made a determination that flying a damaged aircraft around for 45 or 50 minutes over the Metro area was safe. Per Rydeen, the emergency landing request was required by rule, not caution or flight issues.
2. At that time in the morning on March 10, more arrivals than departures, but some of each, would be using R30L, and if R30L were closed for an hour, there would have been some delays other than Flight 309, but fewer than if all runways were closed during the "emergency."
3. Towing the aircraft after its return would not much delay operations if the landing was on R30L.  This is another sign that the aircraft was airworthy.
4. No bird strike was mentioned, but an immediate inspection of the aircraft was not possible.
5. There is no mention of any parts (of the aircraft or anything else) found on the runway.  Or of any parts missing from the aircraft, as of yet. Seeing a loose part of the cowling (still attached to the aircraft) suggests a maintenance/pre-flight issue.  Earlier reports that the "cowling separated" from the aircraft seems closer to "fell off" than "loosened."
6. R30L was closed to sweep up any debris or parts. But before another operation and after the emergency was declared are not necessarily the same. An arrival may have been only a minute behind and already landed. Or perhaps an approach was aborted.  "Immediately" after departure is not quantitative with 5 MSP operations in 2 minutes going on...

Keep looking for pieces in Southwest Minneapolis and out that way.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 08:16:28 PM by Forum Manager » Logged
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