NTSB Identification: ENG12IA001
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Delta Air Lines Inc
Incident occurred Monday, October 10, 2011 in Atlanta, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/23/2014
Aircraft: BOEING 757-251, registration: N553NW
Injuries: 182 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft incident report.

The diffuser case of a Pratt & Whitney PW2037(M) engine installed on a B757-200 airplane ruptured during takeoff roll at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia (ATL). The force of the case rupture caused the hinge-mounted core cowl halves to distort and strike the leading edge and underside of the airplane's left wing, resulting in minor airplane damage. Metallurgical investigation and review of the engine's maintenance records determined that cracks in the engine's diffuser case rear flange (M-flange) and cracks in the HPT case forward flange (M-flange) were not detected when the cases underwent fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) during the engine's last shop visit, 3,479 cycles before the event. The undetected cracks continued to propagate, leading to the in-service diffuser case rupture. The reason for the ineffective inspection was not determined, but was narrowed to chronological- and operator-based scenarios. A suspect population of 50 engines was identified that included sub-populations for both possibilities. The FAA published airworthiness directive (AD) 2014-05-32, requiring the M-flanges of PW2037, PW2037D, PW2037M, PW2040, PW2040D, PW2043, PW2143, PW2240, PW2337, PW2643, and F117-PW-100 engines in the identified suspect population to undergo eddy current inspection within 100 flight cycles or 30 days. No additional cracks were found. As a result of the investigation, the FAA published airworthiness directive (AD) 2014-05-32, which requires the M-flanges of PW2000 engines with certain diffuser and HPT cases installed to undergo eddy current inspection within 100 flight cycles or 30 days. AD 2014-05-32 also requires that high-sensitivity FPI penetrant be used when accomplishing FPI of the PW2037, PW2037D, PW2037M, PW2040, PW2040D, PW2043, PW2143, PW2240, PW2337, PW2643, and F117-PW-100 diffuser case M-flange and the HPT case M-flange. In addition, AD 2014-05-32 makes the performance of diffuser and HPT case M-flange high-sensitivity FPI at every piece part opportunity an airworthiness limitation for PW2037, PW2037D, PW2037M, PW2040, PW2040D, PW2043, PW2146, PW2240, PW2337, PW2643, and F117-PW-100 engines.

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


the return to service of overhauled airplane engine parts with undetected fatigue cracks, resulting in complete loss of engine power and uncontained engine failure. A contributing factor was the inadequate diffuser and HPT case inspection procedure.

Full narrative available

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