Ouch: A Single Delta A330 Had Three Engine Incidents In A Week

Filed Under: Delta

The only US airline that’s really known for lackluster maintenance is Allegiant. Nearly half of their pilots said that they wouldn’t feel safe having their families fly on Allegiant, and Allegiant has an unparalleled number of unscheduled landings, aborted takeoffs, etc. (at least as far as US airlines go). For example, over the course of a year, a single Allegiant MD-88 had as many incidents as Delta’s entire fleet of nearly 120 MD-88 aircraft.

So before I write this post, I want to emphasize that I think Delta is generally very focused on safety, and while they don’t have an especially new fleet, they maintain their planes well.

However, here’s a story that’s a bit… puzzling. AirlineGeeks reports that a single Delta Airbus A330 had three engine incidents over the course of a week. Between May 20 and May 26, 2017, a Delta A330-200 with the tail number N861NW had the following three incidents:

  • On May 20 the plane was bound from Amsterdam to Detroit and had vibrations in the right engine on approach, causing them to divert to Toronto
  • On May 24 the plane was bound from Detroit to Amsterdam, and as it started its descent the right engine stalled three times, and the pilots received an error message from the wing anti-ice system; the plane landed safely, though emergency services were called
  • On May 26 the plane was bound from Amsterdam to Detroit, and over Ireland the crew received an oil pressure warning from the right engine; the plane made an emergency descent, and landed in Shannon

Featured image via Kentaro IEMOTO on Flickr

While I have no doubt that Delta runs a safe operation overall, something tells me that three incidents with the same airplane over the course of a week aren’t a coincidence. Hopefully Delta does a thorough investigation of what happened…

  1. I’ve heard they’re blaming Qatar already! Something something about critical component something something Middle East airlines

  2. @Lucky..A certain group of people now think everything is click bait or fake news. They no longer live in reality.

  3. Well, congratulations to the pilot who managed to land the aircraft safely. In other part of the world, it would’ve been a guaranteed disaster.

    Troll bait: boeing-paid tehnician sabotage the airbus…. lol

  4. I realize you’re not a journalist but I think part of the problem people have with headlines and posts like this is that it reports about something serious like technical issues with aircraft but doesn’t make any effort to investigate why a set of mechanical problems like this happens. Why post about mechanical problems if 1) you don’t think they’re symptomatic of the airline’s quality of maintenance and 2) you don’t have even a small explanation of why it happened? It just reads unnecessarily alarmist.

    I would bet that, in this case, the initial mechanical problem was addressed, tested and the plane went back into service. However, the initial mechanical problem likely had some downstream mechanical impact that was unobservable until it manifested a few days later. The third problem followed on that. This sequence of events happens in dealing with mechanical faults. you fix one thing, another thing happens. You fix that and another. You chase the problem until it’s completely fixed.

  5. Delta’s A330-200 are powered by PW engines, right? I think it’s time to short PW stocks..

  6. Jean is correct. While they might not have the best frequent flier program, which I acknowledge is the primary subject matter of this blog, Delta has a sterling reputation for maintenance in the industry.

  7. Lucky reported on an usual event which has to do with aviation and flying…he never claimed to be a pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist…give him a break!

  8. Hey Lucky! Huge fan of your blog, been reading for almost a year now.
    Just asking, no rush, but any idea on when the Residence Report is coming out?
    Really excited to see it!!

  9. I agree with Trex. GIve Lucky a break – he’s not nearly as bad as The Points Guy with some of their headlines. As a frequent Delta flyer, I appreciate articles like this since and consider this newsworthy. If Jean or Gregg thinks they can do a better job at reporting on things like this then they have every opportunity to do that on their blogs.

    Can’t we all just covfefe along?

  10. It’s hilarious how so many people think DL is safe with their old planes. Just look at how many delays they post due to “mechanical.” It’s INSANE.

  11. Replace that bloody engine and have maintenance done! @ Eugene: yes they will blame QR for sure….Al Baker infiltrated a few malicious spies into DL to sabotage!

  12. Easy trick: don’t fly over an ocean with only 2 engines. A340, A380 or B747 only. Even for transatlantic.

  13. I believe Gregg is addicted to drinking vinegar. How else could he be so sour?

    Lucky, do you know Simon from AvHerald? These three incidents were covered nicely by him and I think Simon deserves some credit for the great work he does (for free). Maybe you can dedicate a blog post to his awesome work…

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