NTSB Identification: IAD01IA034.
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Incident occurred Tuesday, March 06, 2001 in Boston, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2003
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas DC-10, registration: N375FE
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

The three-engine jet was parked outside in snowy weather all day. During the 2 hours prior to departure, the airplane was treated three times with de-ice and anti-ice fluid. At takeoff, sparks were observed coming from the #2 (center), tail-mounted engine. No abnormal indications were observed on the engine instruments in the cockpit, but a slight vibration was felt, and the flight crew elected to return to the departure airport. At touchdown, reverse thrust was selected on all three engines and a fire erupted from the #2 engine. Both the flight crew in the airplane, and crash/fire/rescue personnel on the ground responded to the fire, and no one was injured. An FAA airworthiness directive mandated that a thorough preflight inspection of the #2 engine inlet and bellmouth area be conducted in icing conditions. The maintenance personnel that performed the de-ice procedure and the preflight inspection, said that a puddle of de-ice fluid was visible in the #2 engine bellmouth area. Post-accident examination of the #2 engine revealed "soft body" damage, consistent with the ingestion of ice, and "hard body" damage, consistent with the ingestion of ice-damaged engine parts. Examination of the airplane revealed that the heated bellmouth drain-line modification that was noted in the logbook, had not been completed.

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

The inadequate de-ice and preflight inspection procedure of the #2 engine inlet and bellmouth area by company maintenance personnel that resulted in ice ingestion and foreign object damage of the #2 engine.

Full narrative available

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