News: Covered static portsA Boeing 787 being used for a freight flight flew from Melbourne to Los Angeles with tape over four of its static ports, a new ATSB investigation report details.
After the Qantas 787-9 aircraft, registered VH-ZNJ, landed in Los Angeles on the morning of 22 September 2021, a Qantas engineer found tape covering the four static ports on the aircraft’s engine fan cowls.
Static ports provide important air pressure data to aircraft systems. Boeing recommends they be covered, to avoid contamination, when the aircraft is parked for periods up to 7 days, and Qantas incorporated this instruction into its ‘normal’ parking procedure.
The ATSB investigation details that on the day before the incident flight, an engineer undertook the parking procedure on the aircraft, which included covering the engine cowl static ports with ‘remove before flight’ barricade streamer tape.
“Later that day, another engineer was tasked to conduct the ‘restore’ procedure to return the aircraft to flight status,” ATSB Director Transport Safety Stuart Macleod explained.
“The tape on the engine fan cowls was not removed by that engineer, as per the manufacturer’s procedures, and this wasn’t identified by flight crew or dispatch during pre-departure checks.”
VH-ZNJ subsequently took off with the tape still on its engine fan cowl static ports.
“While the flight was uneventful, the covered ports meant redundancy for the engine electronic control system was reduced,” Mr Macleod noted.