Update: Airzim charter plane experiences engine fault in the air. The national airline said in a statement that the flight, which had 17 crew members and two passengers on board, landed safely at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok and steps were now in progress to fix the fault and return the plane to service.
An Air Zimbabwe special repatriation flight from Bangkok in Thailand on its way to Pakistan yesterday morning developed an engine fault and had to return to Bangkok flying on one engine.
“Air Zimbabwe special repatriation flight UM462 flying from Bangkok was, early this morning, forced to make an air turn back mid-flight to Islamabad resulting from an abnormal engine parameter, which necessitated a precautionary left engine shut down in accordance with established standard operating procedures.
The B767-200 ER aircraft landed safely at 0839 (UTC).
The plane was on its way to Islamabad to pick up 180 passengers returning to South Africa and Zimbabwe, said the airline. Air Zimbabwe engineers were making all necessary assessments and maintenance for the plane’s return to service.
A source close to the incident said the aircraft developed a technical fault, resulting in it flying low at 9 000 feet and had to turn back. “I understand they declared a Mayday, the highest level of a technical fault in aviation and the aircraft would need clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to fly back,” the source said.
Mayday is the word used around the world to make a distress call via radio communications. Captain Alex Makanda, a retired pilot who delivered both the national airline’s B767-200 ER from the United States in 1989 and 1990, commended the pilots for landing the plane safely.
“That is exactly what they are trained to do. That is what I would have done is such a situation,” he said.
Captain Makanda, who has accumulated 15 000 flying hours, 9 000 of them flying the Boeing 767, said the 767 has two engines and is designed to fly on one engine in the event of a problem, but should then land and not proceed on its journey until the problem was completely sorted out.
In April last year, a probe by a team of the national airline’s engineers established that the airline’s Boeing 767-200ER that was flying from Johannesburg to Harare had absorbed a foreign object in its left engine at take-off, which caused an engine surge resulting in the “brief” tail pipe fire.
Source – The Herald
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