A FedEx McDonnell Douglas DC-10 was substantially damaged when the low pressure turbine of the General Electric CF6-6D engine on its left wing disintegrated mid-flight.

The aircraft, N386FE, was operating as FedEx flight 597 from Memphis, Tennessee to Seattle, Washington when an emergency was declared. It is understood the aircraft was still ascent at about flight level 300 (30,000ft/9,150m) when number three engine blew.

GE says a significant part of the engine’s low pressure turbine landed in a rice field in northeastern Arkansas. The location is defined in a US Federal Aviation Administration preliminary accident report as Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, a town located 130km (80mi) northwest of Memphis. No ground injuries were reported.

However, substantial damage to the aircraft was reported, mostly to its left wing. The pilot was able to safely return the aircraft to Memphis at 16:30 without further incident.

Flight 597’s CF6-6Ds were among the first of the CF6 engine series to be produced more than 30 years ago. Most CF6-6D engines in service power FedEx DC-10s, says GE.

According to Flight's ACAS fleet database, FedEx’s DC-10 went into service in 1974 for United Airlines, and was transferred to FedEx in 1997. The aircraft was converted to an MD-10-10F freighter in 2001.

US National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating the incident.


Source: Flight International