The aviation regulator’s team that inspected a Jet Airways aircraft grounded on Monday after its left engine caught fire, suspects that the engine could have encountered a snag when the plane was airborne.
Airport staff had spotted smoke coming from the plane’s engine soon after it arrived from Riyadh with 158 passengers on board on Monday.
According to sources in the DGCA, about two hours before reaching the city, the cockpit crew had experienced an unusual wobble mid-air when the commander increased the air-craft’s speed.
But as the vibration was short lived, the pilots did not realise that a fault with the engine could have caused it. “Normally, cockpit crew seek permission to land on priority if they encounter a snag mid-air. But in this case the flight landed under normal circumstances,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity.
Following preliminary inspection of the engine, DGCA officials said that it appeared completely damaged. “We will probe the history of the aircraft used for the flight and whether the airline has done the necessary maintenance checks laid down by the DGCA,” added the official.
DGCA officials added that fuel accumulated in the aircraft’s tailpipe could have caused the smoke. “There were two huge black marks around the plane’s tailpipe ostensibly caused by flames. There is a possibility that fuel or engine oil accumulated in the tailpipe caught fire,” said another DGCA official.
The regulator’s team has also told the airline to download the black box to access the crew’s role during the emergency. “According to the preliminary examination it seems that the flight crew had little role to perform as the smoke was spotted by the airport staff. However, we want to check if they followed the standard operation procedure laid down by the DGCA for such situations,” added the DGCA official.