The Transair 737-200C (21116, ex-Transmile Air Services) that attempted an emergency landing and ditched off Honolulu (HNL) today due to engine trouble had previously had two engine-related incidents in the past few years, according to Service Difficulty Reports (SDRs) submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
On Jan. 30, 2019, a pump in unit 21116’s number one (left) Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A engine failed at around 2,000 feet. The 737 had accumulated 67,194 cycles and 71,706 hours at the time, according to the report.
Prior to that, on April 8, 2018, unit 21116’s number one engine failed during takeoff and the pilots had to shut it down. After removing and inspecting the fuel pump, the carrier found that it contained a broken shaft. At the time, the engine in question had completed a total of 35,753 cycles and 23,657 hours.
Pratt & Whitney declined to confirm the design limits of the JT8D-9A engine, only saying that it is aware of the crash and supporting the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation.
The JT8D began powering 737 aircraft in 1968, according to a fact sheet by the manufacturer.
The 1975-vintage unit 21116 first lost its number one engine and then the second, which one of the pilots said was “running very hot,” according to a recording of the conversation between the pilots and air traffic control.
Excluding unit 21116, Transair has four other 737-200s in full-freighter configuration, operated by Rhoades Aviation. None are currently in the air:
- Unit 20917, of 1974 vintage, has been in Kahului (OGG) since mid-June;
- Unit 23066, of 1983 vintage, landed at HNL July 1;
- Unit 23272, of 1985 vintage, appears to have been in maintenance at the Air Asia MRO facility in Tainan (TNN) since late April; and
- Unit 23796, of 1987 vintage, landed at HNL shortly before the accident.
Transair’s fleet of 737-200s all fly short, inter-island flights of around thirty to forty minutes in duration. Before the crash, unit 21116 was operating three to four round trips a day from HNL to OGG, Hilo (ITO), Lihue (LIH) and Kona (KOA).
The carrier just recently began renewing its fleet, having acquired its first 737-400 (25104, ex-Flair Airlines) in February 2021 and sent it to the Commercial Jet facility in Dothan (DHN) at the end of June for conversion with Aeronautical Engineers Inc. (AEI).
Transair told Cargo Facts at the time that it plans to acquire more 737-400s. The carrier could not immediately be reached for comment.
Apart from Transair, other carriers with 737-200 freighters include Canada-based Air Inuit and Nolinor Aviation, Colombia-based Aerosucre, and Philippines-based SEAir International.
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