Safety regulators applaud FAA’s swift action on Eclipse jets

Washington DC
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

The US National Transportation Safety Board is commending FAA for its fast response to a request by the board to address dual engine control failures on the Eclipse 500 jet.

Late yesterday the board called for inspections and regulatory action for all Eclipse 500 light jets, after one aircraft, tail number N612KB, experienced a dual-engine control failure on 5 June.

Pushing the throttles forward to the power stops resulted in uncontrollable thrust at maximum levels. Shutting down one engine, however, caused the other engine to roll back to idle, forcing the crew to declare an in-flight emergency and to land at Chicago Midway Airport.

"This incident demonstrated a technical safety-of-flight issue that we believe needs immediate attention," says NTSB chairman Mark V. Rosenker.

The NTSB issued an urgent recommendation for the US FAA to require inspections of all Eclipse 500 throttle quadrant parts. Replacement parts for any that fail to pass the inspection should also be checked, the NTSB says.

NTSB also urged FAA to require Eclipse through an airworthiness directive to develop a procedure for dual-engine control failure. Eclipse’s current handbook only offers guidance for single-engine control loss, NTSB says.

The NTSB also notes that the N612KB aircraft had recorded 238 hours and 192 cycles, adding: "The board is concerned about the reliability of an assembly that fails in such a short time."

After NTSB released its recommendations FAA issued an airworthiness directive that was sent to all Eclipse owners and operators to address the dual engine control failures on the Eclipse 500.

The directive alerts pilots to the Midway incident where control was lost on both engines, and supplies operational procedures for recovering control of the engines if a similar incident occurs.

Additionally, FAA is requiring Eclipse 500 operators to test the throttle quadrant before the next flight, and requires pilots to report the test results to the agency.

NTSB says it is "looking forward to reviewing the results of the FAA-required inspections of these aircraft".