Eastern Australia DH8C near Whyalla on Aug 8th 2019, inflight deployment of ditching dam

Last Update: May 14, 2020 / 13:34:49 GMT/Zulu time

Bookmark this article
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 8, 2019

Classification
Report

Flight number
QF-2073

Aircraft Registration
VH-SCE

ICAO Type Designator
DH8C

An Eastern Australia de Havilland Dash 8-300 on behalf of Qantas, registration VH-SCE performing flight QF-2073 from Adelaide,SA to Whyalla,SA (Australia) with 16 passengers and 4 crew, had been enroute at FL160 and had just started the descent into Whyalla, when cabin crew heard loud repetitive banging sounds, which appeared to originate at the right aft emergency exit. Cabin crew informed the flight crew, who had remained unaware of the noise so far, no abnormal indication had occurred in the cockpit. Upon further investigation cabin crew identified a yellow object flapping outside of the aircraft just below the exit. The flight crew, being informed that finding, concluded the ditching dam had possibly deployed. The crew decided to continue to Whyalla for a safe landing.

The aircraft remained on the ground in Whyalla for about 6 hours before performing the return flight QF-2074.

The ATSB released their final report concluding the probable causes of the incident were:

- The ditching dam cover opened in-flight, possibly due to exposure to severe icing and turbulence and/or improper engagement of the cover with the airframe.

- The deployment of the ditching dam did not increase the risk of damage to other aircraft systems or to continued safe flight.

- The ditching dam deployment occurred when flight crew had started sterile cockpit procedures but before cabin crew were required to be seated. It was appropriate that the cabin crew chose to break the sterile cockpit environment to inform flight crew of the issue.

The ATSB described the sequence of events:

Conditions for the flight were as forecast, with severe turbulence and icing conditions at lower levels. Once the aircraft reached the cruise altitude of 16,000 ft, it was clear of cloud and the crew described the conditions as calm.

At top of descent, the first officer made a public address to the cabin informing the cabin crew to ‘Prepare the cabin for landing’. This was acknowledged by the first flight attendant over the aircraft interphone. At this point, a loud repetitive banging noise started in the cabin.

The cabin crew initially suspected the sound was ice coming off the propellers and hitting the fuselage, which they had been briefed on before the flight. However, both cabin crew were confused by the volume and intensity of the noise, which did not align with their previous experience of flying in icing conditions. The cabin crew decided to break the sterile cockpit environment (see the section titled Sterile cockpit procedures) to inform the flight crew, via the interphone, of the abnormal noise in the cabin.

Up until that time, the flight crew were unaware of the issue and their only indication of a problem was being able to hear the noise when talking to the cabin crew over the interphone. There were no cockpit warnings. The captain transferred flying duties to the first officer so he could coordinate the cabin crew investigation, radio communication and decision-making tasks. The descent was halted and the aircraft held at the Whyalla RNAV holding point.

Upon further investigation by the cabin crew, they identified the sound was coming from the vicinity of the right rear emergency exit at seat row 10. Shortly after, they identified through the window a yellow object flapping on the outside of the aircraft, just below the exit. Based on this information, the flight crew concluded that the right ditching dam had possibly deployed.

The flight crew contacted their maintenance organisation and a decision was made to continue to Whyalla. The captain resumed pilot flying duties and the aircraft landed without further incident.

After landing, it was confirmed that the ditching dam at the right-hand rear emergency exit had opened in flight and been destroyed by aerodynamic forces.

The ATSB analysed:

It was reported that the cover was secure prior to the flight, but post-occurrence replacement of the ditching dam identified that it did not initially meet the required engagement tolerance into the airframe retaining channel. That raised the possibility that the occurrence cover may have appeared to be visually secure during the pre-flight inspection while also not being properly engaged.

Once the cover partially opened, aerodynamic forces drove the cover fully open and permitted the dam bag to unfurl into the airstream. The bag, cover and inflation hose then hit the fuselage repeatedly, which was the loud noise heard by the occupants of the aircraft. As a result of the deployment and given its location on the aircraft, if the device or part thereof had come loose, it was unlikely to have resulted in further damage to the aircraft.

The ditching dam opened when flight crew had initiated the sterile cockpit procedures for approach to Whyalla Airport. The cabin crew chose to break the sterile cockpit environment to inform flight crew of the issue. This had the potential to distract the flight crew from other flyingrelated tasks. However, this was appropriately balanced by the need to inform the flight crew of an abnormal situation of unknown severity. The ATSB considered that the cabin crew acted appropriately in informing the flight crew of the abnormal noise in the cabin. Management of the unexpected deployment was controlled through the use of non-normal checklists and effective resource management.
Aircraft Registration Data
Registration mark
VH-SCE
Country of Registration
Australia
Date of Registration
Airworthyness Category
CAjnngAkdghgbdhn l Subscribe to unlock
Manufacturer
BOMBARDIER INC
Aircraft Model / Type
DHC-8-315
ICAO Aircraft Type
DH8C
Year of Manufacture
Serial Number
Maximum Take off Mass (MTOM) [kg]
Engine Count
Engine
LmqpAbAhpq nkjjh fh AAfp hidkgbc q Ank jbef Subscribe to unlock
Main Owner
Meecjledj fAnb eiAnhkllqAAnpdcnbnn qhcfqidifed gAeibhgijigjgjhkA lpiAicbjffclbApd dlefinickAgk nnhcjjjdgkcqdmgpA Subscribe to unlock
Main Operator
Qddffjqdkcdinp ppdd ljbpjqbAlhqhqgpcnqcfci AjbmbqbAnggjmAhdAbhikAA qlicmjAAbkmgcAb pb hpehfihpdekm Apfpqgllmmehpfn Subscribe to unlock
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 8, 2019

Classification
Report

Flight number
QF-2073

Aircraft Registration
VH-SCE

ICAO Type Designator
DH8C

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
Article source

You can read 2 more free articles without a subscription.

Subscribe now and continue reading without any limits!

Are you a subscriber? Login
Subscribe

Read unlimited articles and receive our daily update briefing. Gain better insights into what is happening in commercial aviation safety.

Free newsletter

Want to know more and stay ahead? Get our free weekly newsletter and join 5470 existing subscribers.

By subscribing, you accept our terms and conditions and confirm that you've read our privacy policy.

Send tip

Support AeroInside by sending a small tip amount.

Related articles

Newest articles

Subscribe today

Are you researching aviation incidents? Get access to AeroInside Insights, unlimited read access and receive the daily newsletter.

Pick your plan and subscribe

Partner

Blockaviation logo

A new way to document and demonstrate airworthiness compliance and aircraft value. Find out more.

Virtual Speech logo

ELITE Simulation Solutions is a leading global provider of Flight Simulation Training Devices, IFR training software as well as flight controls and related services. Find out more.

Get updates

Never miss an article from AeroInside. Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter and join 5470 existing subscribers.

By subscribing, you accept our terms and conditions and that you've read our privacy policy.

AeroInside Blog
Popular aircraft
Airbus A320
Boeing 737-800
Boeing 737-800 MAX
Popular airlines
American Airlines
United
Delta
Air Canada
Lufthansa
British Airways