The Boeing 747F crashed after its No.3 engine was separated from the wing.
31 years ago this week, on December 29, 1991, China Airlines Flight 358 crashed shortly after taking off from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE), killing all 5 crew members.
China Airlines Flight 358 crashed
The aircraft involved in the accident was an 11-year-old Boeing 747-2R7F/SCD freighter with the registration. B-198. Originally made for Luxembourg cargo airline Cargolux, China Airlines acquired the aircraft in June 1985. Since its delivery to Cargolux, the aircraft had a total of 45,868 flight hours and had just undergone its A-check maintenance earlier in the month of the crash.
The No.3 engine separated from the wing
China Airlines Flight 358 was a routine cargo flight between Taipei-Chiang Kai Shek International Airport (TPE) in Taiwan and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) in the American state of Alaska.
4 minutes after taking off from Taipei, as the plane was passing through 5,200 feet during its climb, the crew members reported that they were having an issue with the No.2 engine.
Taipei air traffic control (ATC) gave the flight approval to turn left and return to the airport. A minute 42 seconds later, the crew radioed Taipei Taipei air traffic control to tell them that they could not turn left, after which Taipei Taipei air traffic control advised them to make a right turn and return to the airport.
This was the last contact between the Taipei tower and the aircraft. Following the last radio contact, the pilots lost control of the plane, and it crashed into a hillside near Wanli, Taipei, at an altitude of 700 feet. All 5 crew members died instantly in the crash, and there were no fatalities on the ground.
The investigation into the crash of China Airlines Flight
The investigation into the crash of China Airlines Flight 358 informed that the No.3 engine and its pylon had separated from the flight and struck the No.4 engine causing it to break loose.
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A more detailed structural examination of the wing informed that the parts which attach the pylon to the lower portion of the wing front had failed. Because the No.3 engine had fallen into the sea after separating from the flight, it took several months before it was recovered.
10 months after the crash of China Airlines Flight 358, El Al Flight 1862, operating an identical Boeing 747 cargo flight, suffered the same fate. The aircraft was flying from JFK in New York to Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) with a stopover at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). After being refueled and a crew member changed, the flight took off for Tel Aviv.
Shortly after taking off while climbing through 6,000 feet, the No.3 engine separated from the wing, striking the N0.4 engine and causing it to separate from the wing.
The pilots said a Mayday and reported they were returning to Schiphol for an emergency landing. Unfortunately, they did not make it and crashed into a heavily populated area killing 39 people on the ground.
The investigation revealed the same problems with the pylons as with the Air China 747 and forced Boeing to make modifications to every Boeing 747 that was in service.
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