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L188, vicinity Stansted UK, 2007

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Summary
On 19 March 2007, shortly after take off from Stansted UK, the crew of a Lockheed Electra Freighter being operated by Atlantic Airways experienced control difficulties and power fluctuation on all engines, subsequently attributed to a malfunctioning propeller synchrophaser. The flight crew were unclear what was occurring and proceeded to shut down one engine and believed that the others were at risk of failure during a return to land.
Event Details
When March 2007
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Airworthiness, Human Factors, Loss of Control
Day/Night Night
Flight Conditions VMC
Flight Details
Aircraft LOCKHEED Electra
Operator Atlantic Airways
Domicile Denmark
Type of Flight Public Transport (Cargo)
Origin Stansted
Intended Destination Edinburgh Airport
Actual Destination Stansted
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed Yes
Flight Phase Climb
ICL / ENR
Location - Airport
Airport vicinity Stansted
General
Tag(s) Inadequate Aircraft Operator Procedures
HF
Tag(s) Inappropriate crew response (technical fault)
LOC
Tag(s) Significant Systems or Systems Control Failure,
Loss of Engine Power,
Temporary Control Loss
EPR
Tag(s) PAN declaration
AW
System(s) Engine Fuel and Control
Contributor(s) Component Fault in service
Outcome
Damage or injury No
Aircraft damage None"None" is not in the list (Minor, Major, Hull loss) of allowed values for the "Aircraft damage" property.
Injuries None"None" is not in the list (Few occupants, Many occupants, Most or all occupants) of allowed values for the "Injuries" property.
Fatalities None"None" is not in the list (Few occupants, Many occupants, Most or all occupants) of allowed values for the "Fatalities" property. ()
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Technical
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Description

On 19 March 2007, shortly after a night take off from Stansted UK and in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), the crew of a Lockheed Electra Freighter being operated by Atlantic Airways experienced control difficulties because of power fluctuation on all engines which were subsequently attributed to a malfunctioning propeller synchrophaser. The flight crew were unclear at the time what was occurring and proceeded to shut down one engine and believed that the others were at risk of failure during a return to land.

Synopsis

This is an extract from the report published by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Branch (UK) (AAIB), UK:

"Immediately after takeoff on a night flight from Stansted to Edinburgh, the flight crew experienced control difficulties and fluctuation of the rpm and power on all four engines. As the aircraft climbed towards 3,000 ft914.4 m
above mean sea level (QNH) the No 2 engine was observed to be running down. The crew shut the engine down, declared a PAN and prepared to return to Stansted. The remaining three engines continued to suffer from fluctuating parameters throughout the rest of the flight until, when on final approach with landing flap selected, both the No 1 and No 3 engines appeared to run down. The aircraft landed using only the No 4 engine. The investigation revealed that the incident was the result of a failure of the propeller synchrophaser."

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Further Reading

For further information see the full Report published by the AAIB (UK).