A Boeing 747-400 operated by Air ACT on behalf of THY Turkish Airlines returned to Shannon Airport on Monday after the crew reported an engine problem. The freight flight was heading to Chicago. But after less than two hours in the air, the Boeing was back on the ground at Shannon.
Pilots shut down an engine before returning to Shannon
According to a report in The Aviation Herald, the pilots said they had to shut down the inboard left-hand engine shortly after takeoff. The aircraft, TC-ACF, dumped fuel before returning to land safely.
Flight tracking sources show the aircraft departed Shannon Airport at 13:00 local time on Monday. TC-ACF headed out on a south-westerly tracking, quickly climbing to around 1,000 meters. Just four minutes into the flight, the aircraft leveled off.
The Aviation Herald says the pilots reported a problem with the CF6 GE engines. The pilots maintained altitude while working through the problem but ended up shutting down engine number two. After dumping fuel over the sea, TC-ACF headed back into Shannon and landed at 14:51 local time. At the time of publication, the aircraft remains on the ground in Shannon. Previously that day, the 747-400 had operated a flight from Ataturk International Airport.
There’s a suggestion the engine spooled back to idle on takeoff and was kept there. It is also noted that being a four-engine aircraft, a straightforward engine failure in one engine doesn’t mean the plane has to turn around. It was, as one commenter notes, an operational choice by the pilots.
747-400 one of five jumbos flying for Air ACT
TC-ACF has flown for Air ACT since last August. Before that, the plane Saudi Arabian Airlines and the bulk of its working life at All Nippon Airways. The Boeing 747-400 was built in 1993, meaning it is 28 years old this year. This is the first recorded incident involving this aircraft.
Air ACT is a Turkish operator who operates unscheduled air cargo services on behalf of other carriers – in this case, THY Turkish Airlines. ACT’s five Boeing 747-400s fly on an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) basis. Their five 747-400s are TC-ACF, TC-ACG, TC-ACM, TC-ACR, and TC-MCT. The aircraft involved in yesterday’s incident is the second oldest in the fleet. While three of the 747-400s are less than 20 years old, one (TC-ACG) is one year older than TC-ACF.
A solid safety record at Air ACT
Since beginning operations in 2004, Air ACT has established a respectable safety record with no major incidents or casualties.
In 2017, while operating a flight on behalf of Saudia Cargo Airlines, TC-ACR had a runway excursion after an aborted takeoff. The takeoff was aborted while still at low speed, but the plane left the runway and came to rest on the grass. Now back in the air, the plane sustained considerable damage.
In September 2018, TC-ACM landed in Frankfurt with a missing inboard trailing edge foreflap. There was also a small hole in the fuselage and a dent in the vertical stabilizer’s leading edge. An investigation established the flap fitting was destroyed by extensive fatigue failure, which originated from a corrosion cavity.
Most recently, TC-MCT suffered a tail strike when departing Dammam in Saudi Arabia. In early February 2020, TC-MCT struck its tail onto the runway during departure. The aircraft took off and headed to Jeddah, where it landed safely. Investigations revealed pilot error led to substantially wrong or low V speeds for takeoff, which remained undetected at the time.