NTSB Identification: MIA99IA046.
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Scheduled 14 CFR operation of DELTA AIR LINES INC
Incident occurred Tuesday, December 15, 1998 in ORLANDO, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/18/2000
Aircraft: Boeing 737-232, registration: N327DL
Injuries: 56 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.

The auxiliary power unit (APU) was started on base leg. The first officer called for gear and flaps 15. The airplane experienced a total loss of electrical power as the gear and flaps were extended. The APU did not start, and the battery indicated between 17 to 18 volts. Checklist procedures were accomplished and electrical power was unable to be restored. A go-around was initiated, and a subsequent landing was made without further incident. Examination of the electrical system revealed the DC voltmeter in the cockpit was reading 2 volts high. The battery was discharged due to a loss of electrolyte, and there were latent shorted failures of the No. 1 and 2 generator control unit (GCU) blocking diodes. The failure mode of the diodes was not determined. The failures created an excessive current drawn from both GCUs, during the flight crews attempted APU start, immediate overload of the AC power supply input fuses internal to each GCU, loss of the No.1 and 2 generators, complete discharge of the battery, and subsequent total loss of electrical power.

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

A discharged battery due to a loss of electrolyte, and the latent shorted failures of the No. 1 and 2 generator control unit (GCU) blocking diodes (CR910) for undetermined reasons. These failures resulted in an excessive current drawn from both GCUs, during the flight crew's attempt to start the auxiliary power unit, that caused the immediate overload (opening) of the AC power supply input fuses (POR fuses) internal to each GCU, and subsequent loss of the No.1 and 2 generators; complete discharge of the battery, and subsequent total loss of electrical power. Contributing to the incident was the incorrect reading of the cockpit DC voltmeter (read higher than actual reading) allowing the flight crew to depart with an unreliable (discharged) battery.

Full narrative available

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