NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


March 7, 1997

Washington, DC - The fatal engine failure on a Delta Air Lines MD-88 last July in Pensacola, Florida, will be the subject of a public hearing beginning March 26 in Atlanta, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced.

The two-and-a-half-day hearing will convene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 26 at the Atlanta Hilton and Towers Hotel, 255 Courtland Street, downtown Atlanta.

"The purpose of this hearing is two-fold," said NTSB Board Member John Goglia. "First, it is to build as solid and as complete a factual record as possible from which we can proceed to determine the accident's probable cause. Second, it is to keep the public informed about our investigation."

Goglia added: "We will follow our established procedure of having expert technical witnesses provide sworn testimony publicly and answer questions by all parties to our inquiry." Goglia will preside over a board of inquiry of senior NTSB officials and will be assisted by a technical panel of Safety Board investigators.

On July 6, 1996, Delta flight 1288, an MD-88, experienced an uncontained engine failure during takeoff at the Pensacola Regional Airport. Fragments from the number one (left) Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 turbofan engine penetrated the fuselage, killing two and seriously injuring one of the 148 people onboard.

NTSB metallurgists identified fatigue cracking inside one of the tierod holes of the fan hub, determining it was a result of manufacturing. On July 16 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered the removal of fan hubs from six Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 turbofan engines that had similar anomalies. The Safety Board issued four safety recommendations on July 29, 1996 to the FAA pertaining to the inspection of fan hubs.

Parties to the hearing, whose representatives have participated in the investigation under NTSB supervision, are: the FAA, Delta, Pratt & Whitney, Air Line Pilots Association, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, and Volvo Aero Corporation.



The issues to be discussed at the hearing include:

Drilling and inspection of titanium alloy rotating parts manufactured by Volvo Aero Corporation.

FAA and Pratt & Whitney oversight of the drilling and inspection of titanium allow rotating parts.

Delta Air Lines fluorescent penetrant inspection process.

Issues in non destructive inspection techniques.

FAA oversight and Pratt & Whitney review of Delta's fluorescent penetrant inspection process.


The NTSB is an independent federal agency empowered by Congress to determine the probable cause of transportation accidents and to make recommendations to improve safety. Its findings, contained in a published report, will be adopted at a public meeting some months after the March public hearing. Safety recommendations can be issued at any time.



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.