On January 18, 2024, an Altas Air Boeing 747-8 Freighter was operating a routine flight from Miami International Airport with service to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
However, shortly after departure aboard Flight 3885, investigators say that pilots in the cockpit received a warning signal about a fire coming from engine number 2.
Flight data indicates that the warning light lit up during the climb out, thus only resulting in the 747-8 crossing 3,000 feet. A firebell sound quickly followed this. However, the crew promptly addressed the situation by shutting down the number 2 engine.
Imagery and videos from the ground highlighted the engine, visibly facing difficulties. However, the aircraft would make a safe return to Miami.
Following the incident, the NTSB launched a thorough investigation per standard procedures.
Less than a month after the incident, the NTSB has now released its preliminary inspection into the incident to identify better what unfolded and its history of inspections.
An inspection was immediately conducted on the General Electric GEnx-2b67 engine, which powers the Atlas Air 747-8F.
The investigation revealed a burn-through of the thrust reverser fan duct fixed inner wall. Additionally, the engine cases were reportedly intact; thus, there was no evidence of an uncontained engine failure.
However, interestingly, the NTSB says in their preliminary report that the combuster diffuser nozzle case port M borescope plug was not secured in the case and was thus found loose in the engine cowling.
The NTSB further says that the finding of a loose part follows inspections conducted only four days prior, on January 14, 2024, by a third-party vendor. The person handling the maintenance labelled this work as completed.
This report is preliminary, per the NTSB; thus, a final report is still expected to take considerable time to be officially released.