Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Horizon grounds flight before takeoff

Pilot returns to terminal following engine backfire


By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer

Horizon Air's mid-afternoon flight Thursday, March 15, to Oakland, Calif., from Friedman Memorial Airport experienced an engine compressor stall during its takeoff run and was quickly aborted before liftoff, the airline confirmed Monday.

The 23 passengers aboard 3:30 p.m. Flight 2408 were later booked on an outgoing SkyWest Airlines flight to Salt Lake City, then rerouted to their destinations, according to Horizon spokesperson Jen Boyer.

A "compressor stall" is not uncommon in pure jet engines and turboprop engines. In lay terms, the compressor stall on Horizon Air's turboprop Bombardier Q400 literally was a backfire that shot flames briefly out of the engine exhaust and drastically reduced the engine's thrust.

Boyer said the aircraft was still on the runway when the engine stall occurred. Pilots halted the Q400 and returned to the Hailey airport terminal without declaring an emergency and without assistance.

The engine, she said, sustained minor damage but outside Horizon's allowable limits. A special maintenance crew was flown in from Portland, but because the city of Hailey's noise and "dark skies" ordinances limit the sort of work mechanics needed to perform on the aircraft under floodlights, the airline decided to install a fresh engine in the plane Saturday morning before returning it to service.

Horizon operates three daily roundtrip flights of 78-passengerr Q400s into Friedman, including one roundtrip to Oakland.




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