Hunt Continues For Air France A380 Engine Fragments In Greenland

Air France Flight 66 suffered an uncontained engine failure in September of 2017. The issue occurred while the aircraft was flying in the proximity of Greenland. Some of the missing engine parts are important to the investigation, so the hunt continues for the missing Air France A380 engine fragments in Greenland.

Air France Airbus A380
An Air France Airbus A380 suffered an uncontained engine failure on September 30, 2017. Photo: Air France.

What are the details?

According to CNN, On September 30th, 2017, Air France Flight 66 was en route from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The number 4 engine of the Airbus A380 suffered an uncontained engine failure while the aircraft was flying at 37,000 feet, close to Greenland.

As CNN reported, “the entire front part of the engine, including the large fan and engine casing, completely sheared away.”

The flight crew was able to make an emergency landing at Goose Bay, Canada, without further incident. The passengers were picked up by other Air France aircraft and safely transported to Los Angeles.

Goose Bay Airport
The small Goose Bay Airport does typically not handle large aircraft like the Airbus A380. Photo: Wikipedia.

Based on the information provided by an Emergency Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA, the engine was still fairly new. It had only been in service for a little over 3,500 cycles.

The investigation

At this time, the investigation is still ongoing.

Flight Global reported that the French investigation authority BEA has stated that,

“Quite early in the investigation, it was established that the recovery of the missing parts, especially of the hub fragments, was the key to supporting the investigation of the cause of the engine failure.”

Unfortunately, the important pieces have not been located so far. Nevertheless, the search continues in order to hopefully find the pieces and gain further insight into the cause of the engine failure.

The missing pieces are expected to be located off the coast of Greenland. This area, however, is “a wasteland covered with ice” according to BEA. Additionally, there is only limited daylight, so the search has not been easy.

oast off Paamiut Greenland
The coast off Paamiut, Greenland is not a friendly place. Photo: Wikimedia.

While authorities have recovered some engine parts, including the spinner, pylon, inlet lip, and pieces of fan blade, they have not been able to find the most important pieces.

Another big issue is the fact that snow covered the area shortly after the incident. Even when some of the snow melts, the parts are likely to not reappear on the surface, instead will slowly accumulate more snow over time according, to Flight Global.

Investigators have tried several different search techniques. None of them have been successful to date.

Nevertheless, according to Aviation Week, the BEA is getting ready to start another search for the missing pieces. Once the weather conditions in Greenland are more favorable, an investigation team will search the area again, this time with new methods and sensors. Hopefully, this search will prove to be a success.

Do you think that the missing pieces will ever be located?