Airplane drops part on commercial flight

Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Beech 1900-series aircraft owned by Frontier Flying Service lost a small piece of its engine covering somewhere over Talkeetna during a Tuesday morning flight from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

The part detached when the plane flew into turbulence, said John Hajdukovich, corporate executive officer. The aircraft was carrying three passengers over the mountains near Talkeetna when the pilot, Randy Hames, saw the piece fly off.

Hajdukovich said the lost piece did not affect the operation of the plane.

The three-piece aluminum cowling assembly is just behind the propeller on the front of the aircraft and helps streamline air flow to cool the engine, Hajdukovich said. The entire assembly weighs anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds, but the lost piece was the smallest of the three and weighed only about 2 pounds.

Frontier filed a report with the Federal Aviation Administration office in Fairbanks shortly after the flight's arrival in Anchorage.

Hajdukovich said the plane had been inspected the morning of the flight and that an error in tightening the assembly after inspection may have caused the loss of the part.

Gil Glover, operations unit supervisor for the Fairbanks branch of the FAA, said an investigation into the cause of the incident will be completed through the Anchorage office.

Frontier installed a replacement piece Wednesday. Hajdukovich said the missing piece of cowling ''isn't really a big deal'' and that no effort is being made to locate it.

Frontier Flying Service has been operating out of Fairbanks since 1959 and carries about 65,000 passengers yearly.

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