Monday, June 26, 2017

Switch off severe vibrating washing machine

MM Online - AirAsia plane ‘shaking like washing machine’ returns to Australia (extracts):

SYDNEY, June 25 — An AirAsia flight to Malaysia was forced back to Australia today due to a technical problem, with one passenger saying the plane was “shaking like a washing machine”.

The Airbus A330 from Perth to Kuala Lumpur experienced problems about 90 minutes into the journey.


The West Australian newspaper cited passengers on today’s flight as saying they heard a bang and then the plane started shuddering.

“You could tell by the cabin crew’s reaction that it was really bad,” said Sophie Nicolas, who said she heard a small explosion from the left wing. “It was terrifying.”

Another passenger, Brenton Atkinson, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the whole plane started shaking, far more than standard turbulence.

“It was essentially the engine seized up I think, that’s what they told us anyway,” he said.

“It was literally like you were sitting on top of a washing machine. The whole thing was going. We could see the engine out the window which was really shaking on the wing.

“Once we landed we realised one of the blades had actually come off the turbine.”

So many collaborative evidence, eg. "bang and then the plane started shudderingsee the engine out the window which was really shaking on the wingshaking like a washing machine", though experienced and seen by non-technical passengers, should not be discounted. All that clearly pointed indeed to a malfunctioning engine.

When an engine misbehaved due to an imbalanced fan, operating turbine in jets or in the case of propeller engine, the propeller, the solution usually is to shut down that engine, mainly to stop the continued spin or rotation of the fan so that its imbalanced part or parts would/could cease its vibrations.

That shutdown should normally stop the vibrations.

Did the pilot fail to do that, or was reluctant to do that as he feared shutting down one of only two engines while an hour away from land, or that the vibrating engine was still providing power, or ........?

Severe vibrations of aeroplane engine in flight were far far more serious than one engine being inoperative as it could possibly have torn off or perilously weakened the wing, whilst the aircraft on just one out of two engines operating could have gone on quite safely for several thousands more kilometres.

The pilot in allowing the continued vibrations of the defective engine while and especially in flight, instead of shutting that engine down, has posed several safety questions on his skills and understanding of engine handling.

AirAsia needs to examine this and re-assess its training for pilots.

My line of thinking is of course void if there were other factors, other than a malfunctioning engine, contributing to the severe vibrations that were beyond the control of the pilot.


  1. Maybe for a budget carrier to be profitable,the airline have to cut corners.It can only do so when the planes are still in good condition,but after thousands of hours,wear and tear,cracks begin to show up.Then,the passengers better watch out.

  2. Standard procedure is "LAND AT NEAREST SUITABLE AIRPORT. '

  3. Not enuf being a keyboard warrior now keyboard pilot oso...

    1. From MM Online "Pilot: Engine problem on AirAsia’s Perth flight may have been ‘catastrophic’"



      KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — The “technical issue” on an AirAsia X plane flying from Perth to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday could have resulted in tragedy, said a former Airbus check and training captain.

      According to Australian news website Perth Now, the veteran pilot said the plane could have lost the entire faulty engine, which would have ripped off its fuel lines.

      The Airbus A330 in question is believed to have lost a turbine blade on one its engines, which resulted in an imbalance that caused the plane to rattle “like a washing machine”.

      “When an engine has severe vibrations, it must be shut down immediately as the damage that can be inflicted is immense,” the former captain was quoted as saying.

      “The engine can detach from the wing, which could be catastrophic. Fuel lines (could be) ripped open and electrics severely damaged or degraded,” he added, stressing that the incident should have been treated like an “engine fire”.

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