Although the cause of last week’s Cessna 208B Grand Caravan crash near Molokai, Hawaii, has yet to be determined, there is a strong likelihood that the engine failure occurred as a result of a compressor turbine (CT) blade failure. This failure has been associated with the particular engine, the Pratt & Whitney PT6-114A, used in Cessna Caravans.
A combination of factors is involved in this crash, including:
- the type of metal used in the CT blades
- failure during a high-power phase of flight
- operation of the aircraft in a tropical environment
These factors put a CT blade failure at the top of the list of considerations when there is an engine failure in a Cessna Caravan.
This crash follows a long string of Cessna Caravan crashes, the most recent of which occurred two weeks ago near Saint Mary’s, Alaska, in what appears to be icing conditions.
When you look at the crash history of the Cessna Caravan, two notable deficiencies stand out:
- the aircraft’s unusual vulnerability to icing conditions
- engine failures caused by CT blade failures
Both of these scenarios may be implicated in the crashes, which occurred within two weeks of each other.
We have successfully litigated and resolved prior Cessna 208B Grand Caravan fatal crash cases against Cessna for loss of control due to icing, and against Pratt & Whitney for CT blade failures. In coming days and weeks, we will be reviewing the Hawaii crash and, if the plane is recovered, how investigators assess the CT blade failure potential.