Material Found in Engines of downed US Airways A320 Identified as Bird Remains

February 4, 2009, 11:26 AM

NTSB investigators have found bird remains in both engines from the US Airways A320 that ditched into the Hudson River on January 15, according to analysis of the organic material found inside the airplanes’ CFM56-5B turbofans. The Safety Board has sent the material from both engines to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, where it expects further analysis to identify the particular bird species involved. 

As part of its investigation into this accident, the NTSB investigated an engine surge event that occurred in the right engine during a flight two days before the accident. The engine recovered from the surge and the remainder of the flight proceeded without incident. The NTSB blamed the surge on a faulty temperature sensor, which mechanics replaced following approved procedures. US Airways returned the aircraft to service only after an examination with a boroscope found no damage. 

On Dec. 31, 2008, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) covering all CFM56-5B series turbofan engines. After examining the engine maintenance records and interviewing relevant personnel, the NTSB determined that US Airways had complied with all of the requirements of the AD before the accident flight. During the accident flight, the flight data recorder revealed no anomalies or malfunctions in either engine up to the point where the captain reported a bird strike.

Last week contractors moved the airframe from the barge where it had been docked in Jersey City, NJ, to a secure salvage yard in Kearny, N.J., where it will remain throughout the investigation, which the NTSB expects to last 12 to 18 months.
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