Jetstar A320 at Brisbane on Oct 23rd 2020, rejected takeoff due to engine failure

Last Update: August 16, 2021 / 06:51:23 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 23, 2020


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator

Airport ICAO Code

A Jetstar Airbus A320-200, registration VH-VFF performing flight JQ-930 from Brisbane,QL to Cairns,QL (Australia), was accelerating for takeoff from Brisbane's runway 01L when the crew received a right hand engine (V2527) stall indication at about 40 KIAS associated with a right yaw. The crew rejected takeoff and managed to stop the aircraft on the runway. Tower informed the crew they had seen a flash from the right hand engine, the crew of another aircraft reported seeing flames from the right hand engine. Emergency services attended to and inspected the aircraft, the aircraft subsequently taxied to the apron, where both engines were shut down.

A visual inspection revealed debris in the tail pipe of the right hand engine. A borescopic inspection revealed damage to the tips of some compressor blades requiring the replacement of the engine.

Australia's TSB opened a short investigation into the occurrence rated an incident.

On Aug 16th 2021 the ATSB released their final report concluding the probable causes of the incident were:

- A screwdriver tip, left in a fairing screw or bleed duct, travelled through the high-pressure compressor (HPC) section of the right engine before becoming lodged in the combustion section. This resulted in impact damage to HPC blades and vanes.

- Fatigue cracks initiated at damaged locations in at least one HPC blade and vane, with one crack propagating to failure. This resulted in secondary damage to the engine and surging ontake-off.

The ATSB summarized the sequence of events:

On the morning of 23 October 2020, an Airbus A320-232 was being operated by Jetstar Airways on a flight from Brisbane to Cairns, Queensland. The first officer was the pilot flying and the captain was the pilot monitoring.

After push back, the first officer taxied the aircraft for a planned take-off on runway 01L. The crew completed the pre-take-off checks during the taxi in anticipation of a rolling start to the take-off.

After being cleared for take-off on approach to the runway, the aircraft was lined up and, without stopping, the thrust levers were set for Flex.2 The crew reported that as both engines spooled up to the requested power setting, a vibration and ‘popping’ noise could be heard that rapidly increased in frequency and volume. At the same time, the aircraft diverged to the right of the runway centreline despite the first officer applying full left rudder pedal deflection. In response, the captain immediately selected reverse thrust and brought the aircraft to a stop. The aircraft reached a maximum ground speed of 30 knots.

Upon returning the thrust levers to idle, the vibration subsided and the popping stopped. The aircraft instrumentation then sounded two master caution alarms and the Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitoring (ECAM) system3 reported two messages for Engine No. 2 (right) ‘STALL’ and ‘EGT LIMIT EXCEEDANCE’. The captain called for the cabin crew to move to stations.

The cabin crew relayed to the flight crew that passengers had seen flames coming from the right engine. Both the airport tower controller and the flight crew of a following aircraft similarly reported seeing flames coming from the rear of the right engine for a short period of time. The tower dispatched Airport Rescue and Firefighting services, who observed no apparent abnormalities with the aircraft.

The captain cancelled the flight and the aircraft was taxied back to the airport gate where both engines were shut down. Immediately after the passengers had disembarked, engineers reported finding small balls of metallic debris in the tailpipe of the right engine. A review of recorded data indicated the right engine had surged.

A following tear down inspection revealed following damage:

- The fan blades and LPC contained no visible damage.

- The rear fairing to the LPC bleed valve mechanism was in place but had one Torq-set screw with a damaged head. Although of an incompatible shape, testing showed that due to the damage, the head would also accept a Phillips screwdriver tip.

- In the HPC section, rotor blades (blades) and stators (vanes) in stages 3 and 4 contained dents and minor tears.

- Approximately half of one stage 5 blade (Figure 5) and a whole stage 6 vane (Figure 6) were missing and had failed due to cyclic fatigue. Some of the remaining stage 5 blades exhibited tip curl, dents and/or missing material.

- Four stage 7 blades and one stage 8 blade were missing and had failed due to overstress. In this section all remaining blades and vanes exhibited hard body damage resulting in severe bending and tearing to both leading and trailing edges. One stage 8 vane contained a distinctive hexagon shaped dent.

- Damage after stage 8 was limited to minor dents and nicks with minimal damage occurring to the final stage components.

- Bleed valve screens at stages 7 and 10 contained large amounts of metallic fragments.

- Small metallic debris and a ¼” hexagon drive screwdriver tool bit (screwdriver tip) was found between the combustion liner and engine case. The screwdriver tip was burnt/discoloured and the tip eroded due to heat and mechanical damage.

- Nozzle Guide Vane (NGV) cooling passages contained small metallic debris.

- Two stage 1 HPT blades contained leading edge nicks attributed to material impacts.

- Small debris was found throughout the LPT.

The ATSB analysed:

The damage to the HPC section and the screwdriver tip found in the cooling cavity were consistent with the screwdriver tip falling into the LPC bleed duct, passing through the interstage duct and into the HPC. The lack of damage to the LPC indicated the tip was not FOD from the runway. The damage to the rear fairing screw meant it was likely the screwdriver tip had been left in the screw or had fallen into the bleed duct during maintenance. At the next engine start-up, it then travelled through the HPC section striking various components, in some cases leaving witness marks, before being held captive adjacent to the combustion chamber.

There was evidence that fatigue cracks initiated from the impact damage in a stage 5 blade and stage 6 vane. These cracks propagated until one reached a critical size due to aerodynamic forces and vibrations, and additionally for the blade, centripetal forces. As the engine surge event occurred during the application of take-off power and acceleration of the engine internal componentry, it is more likely the blade failed first due to the increase in centripetal acceleration.

Regardless of whether the blade or vane failed first, one likely impacted the other and both then caused downstream damage, including the failure of a further five compressor blades. The resulting disruption to aerodynamic flow through the HPC allowed the engine to surge and led to the loss of engine performance.

YBBN 230130Z 03013KT 9999 SCT030 BKN050 24/18 Q1015 NOSIG=
YBBN 230100Z 03011KT 9999 SCT030 BKN070 25/18 Q1015 NOSIG=
YBBN 230030Z 03011KT 9999 SCT030 26/17 Q1015 NOSIG=
YBBN 230000Z 02011KT 9999 SCT030 26/17 Q1016 NOSIG=
YBBN 222330Z 01009KT 9999 SCT025 25/18 Q1016=
YBBN 222300Z 01007KT 9999 FEW025 SCT050 25/19 Q1016 NOSIG=
YBBN 222230Z 01006KT 9999 FEW025 BKN050 23/19 Q1016 FM2300 02014KT 9999 SCT030=
YBBN 222200Z 36005KT 9999 FEW020 BKN050 22/19 Q1016 FM2300 02014KT 9999 SCT030=
YBBN 222130Z 03007KT 9999 FEW020 BKN050 23/19 Q1016 FM2300 02014KT 9999 SCT030=
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 23, 2020


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator

Airport ICAO Code

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