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Australia Aircraft Corrosion Prompts Investigation

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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Corrosion on the prop shaft of an aircraft belonging to Australia-based Regional Express (REX) has raised concerns, but the company maintains that the brown detritus is “muck” that could be wiped off with solvent.

According to the Daily Mail, the rust is present on a Saab plane that flew people from Kangaroo Island to Adelaide late last week.

Aircraft Corrosion

An engineer, unnamed, who reportedly filmed the alleged rust, has said he was too scared to come forward about the issue due to the fear of consequences. The video in question has since been sent to the Air Transport Safety Bureau, which resulted in the launch of an investigation. The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers’ Association also submitted a report of the company bullying employees into silence regarding issues to the Aviation Safety Authority.

Stephen Re, an Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers' Association technical officer, noted that he had seen the video, calling what the problem “worrying evidence of corrosion.”

Earlier this week, the company denied the claims that staff were pressured to disregard issues as such as this, and that the brown stain was something that could be wiped off with solvent. REX deputy chairman John Sharp called the area at issue “muck that builds up on a piece of metal in an engine."

Rex also said that it had high safety standards as well as a team of satisfied engineers.

“If the claims were true, then one would expect to find a decline in the defect reporting rate over time. The reality is the complete opposite and over the last two years the reporting rate per 1,000 hours has actually increased by over 10%,” Rex noted.

A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesperson noted that it would be investigating both the ALAEA report and the video. Three engineers previously reported that they had been punished by managers eight times for discovery of technical issues.

ALAEA has since asked the safety authority to take away REX’s ability to service its aircraft. As a result, the entire fleet could be grounded. CASA conducted a full-day audit of the company maintenance base in Wagga Wagga on July 5.

Just over two years ago, a propeller from another REX plane fell off as the craft was passing over Sydney, necessitating an emergency landing. Six aircraft total were grounded as a result of the incident.


Tagged categories: Aerospace; Australia; Coating failure; Corrosion; OC; Quality Control; Quality control

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