NTSB Identification: LAX97IA170.
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Incident occurred Monday, April 28, 1997 in TUCSON, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/07/1998
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-82, registration: N470AA
Injuries: 123 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

During takeoff/initial climb, the aircraft sustained a contained failure of the left engine turbine section, as well as a tail pipe fire. The flightcrew returned to the airport, made a successful landing, and stopped on the runway, where an evacuation was initiated. The flight deck crew gave the evacuation command and instructed the flight attendants to 'use the right side exits only.' A short time later, Flight 230 asked the tower 'how do I correspond with the folks in the trucks and make sure what's going on with the left engine . . .' The controller replied, 'you go to one two four point four that's the ground control frequency and airport forty six is in charge of the fire rescue.' Review of the transcripts revealed that the crew experienced difficulty in establishing radio contact with the airport CFR vehicles. Postincident engine teardown revealed considerable damage of the stage 1 to stage 4 turbine blades. The 1st stage NGV was found with the outer buttress aft flow guide (angel wing) completely missing. The 1T blade damage was consistent with damage caused by liberated angel wing hardware; however, determination of the initial fracture mode was not possible.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be:

an undetermined failure in the #1 (left) engine turbine assembly, which resulted in a fracture of the first stage nozzle guide vane (NGV) and subsequent damage to the turbine blades.

Full narrative available

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