Engine failure forces Air France A380 to divert into Goose Bay – IMAGES and VIDEO

A serious uncontained engine failure forced an Air France Airbus A380 to divert into the small Canadian town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador on 30-Sep-2017 while operating a scheduled service between Paris and Los Angeles. Dramatic images from passengers both from onboard the aircraft and after landing at the Canadian Forces Base at Goose Bay show considerable damage to the number four engine on the Super Jumbo.

Air France remains tight lipped on the matter until a full investigation is carried out into the incident. It confirmed in a statement that the aircraft, operating flight AF66’ suffered “serious damage to one of its four engines,” adding “the regularly trained pilots and cabin crew handled this serious incident perfectly”.

Despite the limited infrastructure available at Goose Bay, on the eastern tip of Canada, the 496 passengers and 24 crew members were successfully deplaned and continued their journeys to Los Angeles either on a Boeing 737-300 chartered from local Canadian carrier Nolinor Aviation, via Winnipeg, or onboard a diverted Air France Boeing 777-300ER which initially connected them to partner carrier Delta Air Lines’ Atlanta hub and a further connection on to Los Angeles from the US carrier.

Passengers onboard the aircraft report hearing “a loud pop” then “a quick descent” and “some vibration” before flight crew confirmed “a small engine explosion” and plans to divert. It is believed the incident occurred while the aircraft was in its cruise at 37,000ft somewhere close to Greenland). Emergency services reported debris and a hydraulic leak upon inspection of the aircraft once it was on the ground.

Photos quickly populated social media platforms showing the entire front of the engine and its casing missing…

The Canadian TSB have sent investigators to the airport while representatives from the French Aviation Accident Investigation Bureau, Airbus and Air France have also been dispatched to assess the situation. The aircraft is likely to remain in situ in Goose Bay for some time while investigations take place. While the airport is regularly used for trans-Atlantic flight diversions it has limited infrastructure to support maintenance and repair work.

Engine failures are extremely rare and while manufacturers attempt to keep these contained to avoid additional damage to aircraft structures, uncontained failures can occur. Engine Alliance, a joint venture between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, says it is “working with authorities to assess the situation”.

This is the second major engine related failure on an A380. In November 2010, a Qantas aircraft suffered a major engine failure on departure from Singapore, but this involved a powerplant produced by Rolls-Royce. Its small fleet of A380s were grounded for over three weeks in the aftermath of the incident.

The Air France aircraft involved in this weekend’s incident had the registration F-HPJE and serial number ‘052’. It is one of ten A380s currently operated by Air France, according to data from the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Fleet Database. The aircraft is leased on a finance basis from DS-Rendite-Fonds NR137 Flugzeugfonds XII, of the Dr Peters Group. Initially delivered to the carrier on 17-May-2010, by July-2017 it had accumulated 26,336 hours and 2,905 cycles and according to CAPA’s partner Oriel had a market value of USD110 million.