The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered inspections on some engines that power the Airbus A320 Family aircraft, after a Vietnam Airlines A321 suffered an un-contained engine failure during takeoff.

The Aviation Herald reports that on the 18th of March 2020, a Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321-200. registered VN-A392, was performing flight VN-920 from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh when the pilots aborted the takeoff.

Although it was reported that the rejected takeoff was performed due to a burst nose tyre, the FAA argues that it was because of an un-contained engine failure. The FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive on the 22nd of March for the following International Aero Engines (IAE) V2500 models:

  • V2522-A5, V2524-A5, V2525-D5, V2527-A5, V2527E-A5, V2527M-A5, V2528-D5, V2530-A5 and V2533-A5.

Airlines operating any of these engines are required to check whether a high pressure turbine disk falls under a set of specific serial numbers. If problematic disks are identified, they are required to be removed from service within five cycles.

The FAA says that the emergency directive was prompted by an initial investigation, the investigation found that the engine had experienced an un-contained failure of the first stage high pressure turbine disk.

Photos of the incident show the engine seriously damaged, with the aft section torn apart and the forward cowling missing.

Uncontained Airbus A321 Engine Failure Prompts Inspections
Uncontained Airbus A321 Engine Failure Prompts Inspections

The response from the FAA largely differs from Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority, which reported the pilots performed a rejected takeoff as a result of a burst nose tyre, which subsequently struck the side of the right engine, causing a grass fire.

Vietnam Airlines said the aircraft performed a rejected takeoff due to a technical fault and there was no fire or explosion involved.

Passengers and crew evacuated the aircraft via air stairs and were taken to the terminal. No injuries were sustained.

The FAA notes that the inspections must be conducted on affected aircraft, to prevent additional failures that could result in: serious human injury, aircraft damage or, in a catastrophic case, result in the complete loss of the airframe in flight or on the ground.