Crack caused propeller to fall off plane
It's still not known what caused a fatigue fracture that resulted in a Regional Express aircraft losing its propeller over Sydney.
The propeller narrowly missed the plane itself - which was carrying 16 passengers and three crew - and homes after it fell off the Albury to Sydney afternoon flight on March 17 in 2017.
The flight made a safe emergency landing at Sydney airport and the 100-kilogram propeller was later recovered in the Georges River National Park in Revesby in the city's southwest.
A final report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau on Wednesday confirmed what investigators into the mishap had initially suspected - that a fracture in the propeller's caused it to separate from the plane.
The cracking began in a part of the plane called the propeller shaft flange dowel pin hole and then travelled down the propeller shaft until it failed in "overstress".
However, ATSB chief commissioner Greg Hood says the report was unable to conclusively determine what caused the fatigue crack to occur.
Mr Hood reassured the public that flying was still one of the safest forms of travel.
"This was an extremely rare event and the crew should be commended," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The airline and the engine's manufacturer have undertaken a number of proactive safety actions ... to reduce the risk of this extremely rare event from occurring again."
While authors say the findings "should not be read as apportioning blame" the report did note there were no procedures requiring the routine inspection of the aircraft's propeller shaft in the plane's maintenance documents.
The flight was about 100 kilometres from Sydney when the pilots first noticed that something was wrong.
The crew shut down the right-hand engine following "abnormal indications" with the pilot "feathering" the propeller to reduce drag.
It was at this point the propeller assembly separated and rotated upwards and to the right of the aircraft - luckily avoiding contact with the plane.
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