Lockheed L188C Electra, G-FIJV
During taxi prior to flight, the engine cowlings from the No 3 engine detached, causing minor damage to the fuselage and the No 4 propeller. The flight proceeded uneventfully and their loss was only discovered after the aircraft’s arrival at its destination; the doors were discovered on a taxiway at the departure airfield. The investigation concluded that the No 3 engine air turbine starter motor casing probably failed after engine start, releasing a rotating clutch assembly into the nacelle, which caused deformation to one of the cowling doors. This in turn, allowed propeller wash to enter the nacelle and overstress the door latches attachment structure. Only approximately half of the casing fragments were recovered but none showed any evidence of pre-existing cracking or other defects. The operator, to whom the L188 aircraft type is unique in the UK, has instituted regular inspections of the starter motors to check for defects/cracks.
Published 10 December 2014