On Thursday, August 22nd, a Smartwings Boeing 737-800 experienced an engine shutdown in mid-flight. Although the incident occurred as the plane was over the Aegean Sea, the aircraft continued on its way to Prague.
According to the Aviation Herald, the Smartwings aircraft (registration OK-TVO) was performing flight QS1125 from Samos, Greece to Prague, Czech Republic. There were 170 people on board the plane.
As the flight was over the Aegean Sea and 100 nautical miles northeast of Athens, Greece, the left-hand engine experienced a spontaneous shut down. The crew responded to this occurrence by decreasing its altitude from FL360 to FL240. The flight continued at this altitude until landing without further incident – two hours and 20 minutes later.
Flying on one engine
According to FlightDeckFriend, a twin-engine aircraft is able to fly perfectly well on a single-engine. In fact, it can even “continue the take-off and then safely land with just one engine”. The website goes on to say that “the loss of one engine in flight is not usually a particularly serious problem and the pilots are given extensive training to deal with such a situation”.
The Aviation Herald obtained further information that the engine involved was the #1 engine (left-hand) – a CFM56. The crew responded by working through the related checklists and then attempting to relight the engine two times. With sufficient fuel remaining, the crew made the decision to continue to its destination: Prague. 17 hours after landing in Prague, OK-TVO was back in service. According to FlightRadar24, it has already made 12 flights (at the time this article was published).
An update to this article: Several people (with pilot experience and knowledge of regulations) have commented that proper procedures would have had the pilots land at the closest suitable airport. This was clearly not done as there were numerous airports between the incident location and Prague.
About the aircraft
According to Airfleets, OK-TVO is a 17.5-year-old Boeing 737-800. Since first being delivered to GOL airlines in 2002, the plane has also flown with Canadian budget carrier Sunwing Airlines and Indian budget airline SpiceJet.
The Aviation Herald also reports that mechanics replaced “the hydro-mechanical unit (HMU), fuel filter nozzle, servo fuel heater, fuel pump and fuel heat exchanger”. Furthermore, maintenance crews performed a “test 5 – power assurance test”, which the aircraft passed.
“The crew proceeded in accordance with the safety and operational procedures for these cases and the aircraft landed safely. The commander is one of the most experienced in the company, the crew was in control of the situation and certainly would not underestimate anything.”
Once known as the airline “Travel Service”, Smartwings is a Czech airline that offers scheduled and charter flights. According to Wikipedia, the majority of these flights fly from Prague to leisure destinations. Furthermore, Smartwings wet- and dry-leases its aircraft to other airlines. This was the case for OK-TVO with its time at Sunwing and SpiceJet.
The Smartwings fleet mainly consists of several variants of the Boeing 737. However, the airline has a single Airbus A320 – registration YR-SEA – that it received at the beginning of this year as a lease from Star East Airlines.
Aside from the one A320, the rest of the Smartwings fleet is comprised of Boeing 737s. Including:
- Three -400s,
- Two -700s,
- 35 -800s,
- Two -900s,
- and seven MAX 8s.
Have you ever flown with Smartwings? With their selective routes, they’re not as well known – we’d love to know what flying with the airline is like. Share your experience by leaving a comment!