Delta A333 at Atlanta on Apr 18th 2018, engine fire

Last Update: October 6, 2021 / 15:59:29 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Apr 18, 2018


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A330-300

ICAO Type Designator

A Delta Airlines Airbus A330-300, registration N806NW performing flight DL-30 from Atlanta,GA (USA) to London Heathrow,EN (UK) with 288 people on board, was in the initial climb out of Atlanta's runway 26L when the crew, just when they were about to be handed off to departure, declared emergency reporting they had a fire on the #2 engine (PW4168), the fire bell sounding in the background. The crew stopped the climb at 7000 feet. Another crew reported they did indeed have black smoke coming from the right hand engine. The crew requested runway 27R and a long approach while they were working the checklists. The crew shut the engine down and activated the fire suppression. The crew advised they might have hot brakes after landing and wanted emergency services to check out the right hand engine. Tower reported the right hand still appeared to be smoking. The aircraft landed on Atlanta's runway 27R about 25 minutes after departure. Tower reported there was an active engine fire on the right hand engine and cleared all fire vehicles onto the runway stating repeatedly there was an active fire. Flames were seen from the right hand engine after the aircraft came to a stop, emergency services foamed the engine and put the fire out. The passengers disembarked normally. The aircraft substained substantial damage to the right hand engine and the right hand engine pylon.

A replacement A330-300 registration N822NW reached London with a delay of 4 hours.

On Apr 26th 2018 the NTSB reported the crew received a number 2 engine fire ECAM message at 500 feet AGL, declared emergency, shut the engine down, discharged both fire bottles and returned to Atlanta for an overweight landing without further incident. The aircraft sustained minor damage. The occurrence was rated a serious incident and is being investigated.

On Oct 6th 2021 the NTSB released their investigation docket indicating the occurrence had been re-rated an accident and including the power plant group chairman report stating that a fuel puddle had been observed below the right hand engine 3 days and the day prior to the occurrence in Amsterdam. Maintenance observed fuel leaks from the main fuel supply (FM-13) hose and replaced the parts conducting leak tests afterwards with satisfactory results. The NTSB wrote:

On April 15, 2018, three days before the accident flight, DAL AMTs at AMS noticed fuel puddling on the ground under the No. 2 engine drain mast during pre-departure checks. The cowls were opened, and fuel was observed dripping from the Main Fuel Supply (FM-13) Hose to Pylon Interface Panel3 connection. The FM-13 hose upper flange Gask-O-Seal was replaced and a No. 2A engine motor leak test5 (wet method) was performed. No fuel leaks were observed during the leak test or during subsequent post maintenance/pre-departure checks, and the airplane was returned to service. Two flights later (AMS to Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), Minneapolis, Minnesota to AMS), on April 17, 2018, maintenance crews at AMS again observed fuel puddling under the No. 2 engine drain mast during pre-departure checks. DAL AMTs performed a visual inspection of the engine and reported a leak that appeared to originate from a tear on the FM-13 hose fire sleeve and the sleeve was wet and shiny along the length of the exterior silicone surface. A wet method leak check was performed, and AMTs reported that fuel appeared to leak from the cut in the main fuel supply line fire sleeve. The FM-13 hose and upper and lower Gask-O-Seals® were removed and replaced with new parts. No leaks were observed during post maintenance/pre-departure checks and the airplane was returned to service. The accident engine fire occurred three flights later (AMS to MSP, MSP to ATL, accident flightATL to LHR).

Following the occurrence flight the NTSB summarized first steps taken:

Before the investigation team arrived in ATL, the NTSB gave DAL permission to perform a FM13 hose fuel pressurization check. The No. 2 engine fire handle was reset in the cockpit to open the LPSOV and gravity feed fuel into the FM-13 hose. Minor fuel wetting was observed along the length of the FM-13 hose after the LPSOV was opened, but no clear leak origin was visible. The fuel boost pump was cycled on, and a large quantity of fuel sprayed through the FM-13 hose outer wall. Fuel was also observed dripping at the main fuel supply line to pylon hydraulic interface panel connection.

Charred debris was collected in the pylon hydraulic interface panel drip tray prior to the pressurization check. The No. 2 engine was removed and transferred to the DAL TechOps engine test cell shop for examination.

An engine tear down was conducted. The NTSB wrote: "The teardown did not reveal evidence of internal engine component failure or fire."

The FM-13 hose replaced in Amsterdam was tested, including a pressure test, and was found not leaking.

The accident FM-13 hose was prepared for a test by installing a new gasket and a brazed tube end and tested in the pressure test bench with no leaks observed. The NTSB continued:

The accident hardware was removed from the pressure test bench and the flanges were separated. To simulate Gask-O-Seal damage, a razor was used to cut through the elastomer in the radial direction at one location. The Gask-O-Seal was then installed between the rigid pipe flange and the FM-13 hose flange hardware was torqued to 200 in.-lbs. torque in accordance with the AMM procedure.

The assembly was pressurized to 72 psi and no leaks were observed. In the next test, approximately 45 degrees of elastomer material from a new Gask-O-Seal® was removed and then installed between the flanges and torqued in accordance with the AMM. The assembly began leaking heavily when pressure reached about 30 psi.

The NTSB reported:

The NTSB was notified of a second Airbus A330-300/P&W PW4168A-1D fuel leak finding that occurred in March 2018 with a different operator. The fuel leak did not cause an engine fire and the leak was traced to the FM-13 hose to rigid fuel pipe interface at the pylon hydraulic interface panel. The aircraft had recently undergone maintenance where the FM-13 hose was separated at the hydraulic interface panel and a new Gask-O-Seal® was installed. Eight flights after the maintenance, ground crews observed fuel puddling under the engine drain mast after aircraft pushback and engine start.

Maintenance crews reported that the four FM-13 hose to pylon hydraulic interface flange attaching bolts were lock wired, but the lower two bolts were found loose. The FM-13 hose was removed, and the flange and Gask-O-Seal were inspected and determined to be in serviceable condition. The FM-13 hose was reinstalled, the attaching bolts were retorqued and the aircraft was released back to service. There have been no additional fuel leak findings since the maintenance was performed. Low resolution photographs of the FM-13 hose to pylon hydraulic interface panel interface were sent to Airbus for review where it was observed that the rigid fuel pipe lower flange was installed on the wrong side of the pylon hydraulic interface panel.

In response to the fuel leak event, Airbus performed an airworthiness risk assessment. The root cause of the fuel leak was determined to be either inadequate torquing of the FM-13 hose upper flange bolts either due to too low a torque or not using a cross pattern during the torquing process. Airbus also concluded that installation of the rigid fuel pipe on the wrong side of the pylon interface panel was not suspected to be a contributing factor.

The NTSB further reported:

After the on-scene pylon and engine examination, DAL reviewed their A330 AMM and Aircraft Illustrated Parts Catalog (AIPC)24 and determined that the rigid fuel pipe installation position on the Pylon Hydraulic Interface Panel was depicted incorrectly in several figures. The Rigid fuel pipe lower flange was shown installed on the engine side of the Hydraulic Interface Panel as was documented on the No. 2 engine, rather than the pylon side in accordance with Airbus drawings.
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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Apr 18, 2018


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A330-300

ICAO Type Designator

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