The Boeing 747-400 production freighter, provided by Japanese cargo carrier NCA and leased by Slovakian operator Air Cargo Global, was meant to have commenced commercial flights at the beginning of October. However, a technical problem delayed the delivery of the freighter.
Quite a costly mistake the two U.S. pilots made. The cockpit crew were conducting a series of test flights on behalf of aircraft owner NCA when their faulty operation led to the damage of two of
the freighter’s four engines.
This is what happened: Instead of keeping all turbines running until the aircraft had come to a standstill at the apron of Victorville Airport in the Californian desert, they shut off two of the engines about five minutes prior to parking the craft.
The bitter and costly result of this faulty act was that the supply of fresh air needed for permanently cooling the engines down in order to prevent them from overheating, stopped at once, causing a heat build-up in the rear part of both turbines.
Ground incident, causing no injuries
The damage was there, obviously caused by two crew members of CAE Parc Aviation, a well-known provider of pilots and technicians. This is confirmed to CargoForwarder Global by their Director Global Communications, Pascale Alpha: “It was a ground incident. Two motors were sent for repairs. There was no fire and nobody injured. I cannot provide more information as the incident is under investigation. We need to wait for the engines to come back from repair before being able to comment further.”
ACG is not liable for the damage
“When realizing the damage, we refused the acceptance of the aircraft and demanded an exchange of the turbines,” recalls Peter Rippel, ACG’s VP Technical.
Asked why a U.S. crew leased by her enterprise tested the aircraft Pascale said this: “The registration of the aircraft dictates that it has to be operated by FAA licensed pilots. The aircraft in question was operated by FAA licensed pilots. The pilots were U.S. citizens, however U.S. citizenship is not a requirement.”
Although the case is still under investigation it can be excluded that Air Cargo Germany will be liable for the damage occurred, thus they will not have to pay any money for the exchange of the two GE turbines. The only impairment the Slovakian capacity provider suffered is the delayed arrival of their second freighter in Europe. Originally it was supposed to go into service at the end of September which it finally did by mid-October.
Instead of deploying the two Boeing 747-400Fs on line-haul routes as originally intended, the carrier operates solely charter flights for the time being. Mostly, the aircraft are utilized for bringing relief goods, nutrition or aid provision to Ebola infested African countries. Most of these services are operated on behalf of western governments, the United Nations or the Unesco, ACG manager Rippel illustrates.