Left engine on ditched US Airways A320 recovered

By Lori Ranson

US investigators today said the lost left engine on the US Airways A320 that ditched into the Hudson River in New York City on 15 January has been located in 50 feet of water near where the aircraft landed.

The National Transportation Safety Board says recovery of the CFM56-5B4/P engine should occur on 22 January. The crew safely ditched the aircraft after it lost thrust in both engines on departure from LaGuardia en route to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Examination of the right engine, which was still attached to the aircraft when it was recovered, shows three variable guide vanes are fractured and two are missing. The engine's electronic control unit is also missing, and numerous internal components of the powerplant were damaged, says NSTB.

Previously NTSB board member Kitty Higgins has said evidence of bird collisions should be present in the mechanisms of the engines.

Today the board confirmed an examination of the first stage fan blades "revealed evidence of soft body impact damage", and "a single feather was found attached to a flap track on the wing".

Samples of "what appears to be organic material" found on the right engine are being sent to the US Department of Agriculture while the feather will undergo scrutiny by bird identification experts at the Smithsonian Institution.

A surge by the right engine during a 13 January flight is also under examination by NTSB. Maintenance performed on the engine after the surge included replacement of a temperature probe.

On 20 January NTSB said it plans to interview pilots that operated the Airbus narrowbody on 13 January flight, which was also flying scheduled service from LaGuardia to Charlotte.

Copyright © 2009 Aviation News Release

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