Niugini DH8B near Port Moresby on Aug 4th 2017, tyre burst at FL200

Last Update: January 8, 2018 / 15:23:07 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 4, 2017


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

An Air Niugini de Havilland Dash 8-200, registration P2-ANK performing flight PX-713 from Port Moresby to Tari (Papua New Guinea) with 28 passengers and 3 crew, was climbing through FL200 out of Bulolo when a bang sound occurred, the aircraft shuddered, and the crew received a door open indication for the left main gear. The flight attendant reported the left main landing gear door was open. The crew decided to return to Port Moresby, burned off fuel, and selected the landing gear down early cross checking the main indication with the alternate indications seeing all gear indications at green. The aircraft landed safely back at Port Moresby and taxied to the apron. Papua New Guinea's (PNG) Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) wrote: "The PIC reported that it was at that moment they realized that everyone on the tarmac was looking at the aircraft, particularly the left side. It wasn’t until the passengers and the crew disembarked, that the crew were advised by the engineers that panels were missing aft of the left exhaust nacelle." There were no injuries, the aircraft sustained substantial damage. The occurrence was rated an accident.

PNG's AIC released their final report concluding the probable causes of the accident were:

It is likely that the FOD damage occurred when a jagged rock impacted the non-serial sidewall of the number-two tyre during the landing at Bulolo on 3 August 2017. The aircraft returned to Jacksons safely, but the damage was not found during post-and pre-flight inspections. During the subsequent flight after departure from Jacksons on 4 August, the casing plies in the impacted area fractured, propagating from the serial side sidewall along the cord direction to tread area and the non-serial side sidewall. It is likely that the significantly damaged and weakened casing of the tyre, and the differential of the atmospheric pressure compared with the pressure within the tyre, caused the tyre to blow out, resulting in substantial damage to the left nacelle.

A post flight inspection revealed that the #2 tyre (inboard left main tyre) had blown out in flight causing substantial damage to the wheel well and the inside of the nacelle.

The damage tyre was sent to the manufacturer for further analysis. The manufacturer found evidence of an impact of a hard object on the serial tyre sidewall causing a fracture of the tyre, which in combination with the ambient pressure changes caused the tyre to rupture. The object must have been sharp.

The AIC analysed that the aircraft had flown to Bulolo the previous day and landed there safely. However, the runway in Bulolo did not meet the requirements exposing large jagged rocks on the surface of the runway.

Following the landing in Bulolo the aircraft overnighted in Bulolo, then returned to Port Moresby as flight PX-713. An inspection of the aircraft at Port Moresby did not reveal any anomaly and the aircraft departed for the accident flight.

The AIC commented with respect to Bulolo Aerodrome:

Under the Bulolo Airport Lease Agreement signed on the 2 June 2013 between PNG Forest Products (Licensor) and Hidden Valley Services (Licensee), both companies were required to abide by specific obligations.

Under chapter 3 of the agreement, the Licensor’s responsibility was mostly administrative. They were to ensure they maintained the aerodrome licence for the term of this licence, and comply with all relevant PNG Civil Aviation Rules.

Under chapter 5 of the agreement the Licensee must, during the term of the agreement at its own effort and cost, carry out and complete specified airport works to maintain the strip to CASA requirements.

The investigation determined that Licensee had neglected its primary responsibility of properly maintaining the airstrip, to allow for safe landings and take-offs of aircraft, in particular LinkPNG aircraft. It is likely that this neglect contributed to the cause of the tyre blow out.

Pre-flight inspections were carried out by the PIC at Bulolo and at Jacksons. The duty engineer at Jacksons carried out the mandatory pre-flight inspection prior to ANK’s departure from Jacksons, and the aircraft was certified as being airworthy.

Due to weather erosion over time, and the lack of maintenance by the Licensee, large jagged rocks had become exposed on the surface of the Bulolo strip.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 4, 2017


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

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