The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says it is investigating an incident involving a Virgin Australia ATR 72 where both engines on the regional turboprop airliner flamed out, one after the other, while flying in heavy rain.
The incident near Canberra airport involved ATR 72-600 VH-FVN while on a flight from Sydney, the ATSB said on Monday afternoon.
“While the aircraft was descending through 11,000ft in heavy rain, the right engine’s power rolled back (decreased) and the engine flamed out. The engine automatically re-started within five seconds,” the ATSB said.
“The descent continued and, while passing through 10,000ft, the left engine’s power also rolled back and that engine flamed out before automatically relighting. The crew selected manual engine ignition for the remainder of the flight and the landing.”
The aircraft landed safely without further incident, but the flight tracking website flightaware.com shows VH-FVN remained on the ground in Canberra for the following three days, before returning to service operating a flight to Sydney on Monday morning.
The ATSB says it has begun the evidence collection phase of its investigation into the incident, and that it has downloaded the aircraft’s flight data recorder. Investigations typically take 12 months to be completed, but the safety investigator says that: “Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate action can be taken.”
VH-FVN was delivered new to Skywest Airlines, for operations on behalf of Virgin Australia, in September 2012 (a month before Virgin Australia announced its intention to acquire Skywest, which was subsequently renamed Virgin Australia Regional Airlines).
The aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M turboprops.