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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 238516
Last updated: 31 August 2021
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Time:06:15 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH8C model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-8-315
Owner/operator:Skippers Aviation
Registration: VH-XKJ
MSN: 588
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 55
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Category:Serious incident
Location:Perth Airport, WA (PER/YPPH) -   Australia
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Perth Airport, WA (PER/YPPH)
Destination airport:Duketon Gold Airport, WA
Investigating agency: ATSB
A DHC-8-315, registered VH-XKJ and operated by Skippers Aviation, was being prepared for a charter flight to Duketon Gold Airport, about 750 km north-east of Perth, Western Australia. At about 06:15 local time VH-XKJ departed Perth Airport with two flight crew, two cabin crew and 51
passengers on board.
Shortly after take-off, as the aircraft was climbing through approximately 250 ft above ground level, the first officer (FO), who was the pilot monitoring, retracted the landing gear. At about this time, both flight crew detected a popping or banging sound from the vicinity of the number one (left) engine. The captain (pilot flying) also noted a slight left yaw through the flight controls. The FO observed a reduction in torque, to just below 60 per cent on the left engine. The FO reported a ‘failure’, but further advised ‘it’s not indicating a failure’, as there was no associated master warning.
The captain reviewed the left engine instrumentation and noted that torque was 58 per cent. Other indications, such as fuel flow, appeared relatively normal. The captain then advised that, because the left engine was still producing some power, they would not shut it down, but would conduct a return to Perth. As the aircraft climbed through a height of approximately 800 ft, the flaps were retracted and the FO transmitted a PAN PAN call. Perth air traffic control acknowledged and the captain elected to return via a right circuit.
At about this time, the captain noted that the torque on the right engine was indicating lower than expected for the phase of flight. The captain advised the FO that they might need to upgrade to a MAYDAY. The throttles on both engines were then advanced to approximately 80-90 per cent, with both engines responding as expected. In addition, the banging sound in the left engine
In preparation for landing, and to reduce airspeed, the throttles on both engines were retarded to about 30 per cent. The flight crew noted that, with this reduction in power, the banging sound in the left engine returned. Following a normal landing, the aircraft was taxied to the terminal, under power from both engines.

• Excessive erosion to the left engine’s high-pressure turbine blades likely resulted in the power loss.
• At the time of the occurrence, the maintenance program for the detected erosion was in accordance with the manufacturer's maintenance manual requirements.
• The aircraft experienced an uncommanded gradual reduction of torque in the right engine, a mechanical issue with the engine as the cause was considered unlikely.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 3 months
Download report: Final report


Photo of VH-XKJ courtesy

Perth (YPPH / PER)
3 November 2017; (c) Kurt Finger


Revision history:

23-Jul-2020 09:13 harro Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description