Australian Regional Aircraft Loses Propeller in Flight

No injuries on the ground reported after incident with the Saab 340.

Saab 340 prop failure
An Australian Regional Express airlines Saab 340 landed safely after one of its propellers separated from the airplane in mid-flight.16 Right Media

An Australian Regional Express airlines Saab 340 landed safely at the Sydney airport about midday on Friday after one of the 34-seat turboprop’s propellers separated from the airplane in flight.

The 25-year-old regional airliner, carrying 16 passengers plus the two pilots and a flight attendant, was en route to Sydney from Albury at 6,000 feet when the pilots said the right engine began vibrating. Just as the crew was about to feather the engine — somewhere in the neighborhood of Camden, a city of about 80,000 people southwest of Sydney — the first officer watched the propeller shear from the engine and fly over the top of the right wing before disappearing.

No one was injured when the propeller struck the ground. All four blades appeared to have remained attached to the hub when the propeller was located by local police on Monday in an area of bushland near Camden.

While explaining the trajectory calculations used to locate the propeller on the ground, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it was too early to identify the cause of the propeller failure.

Regional Express airlines on Monday grounded six of the company’s Saab 340s that were part of the same production series as the aircraft that lost the propeller. The airline operates approximately 50 of the Swedish-built Saabs. The Saab 340 was certified in 1983, while the incident aircraft first flew in 1992.