Air France Flight 66

Photo courtesy BEA

Photo courtesy BEA


September 30th 2017

While flying from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Los Angeles International Airport an Airbus A380 suffered an uncontained engine failure over the southern Greenland ice sheet. The plane made a safe emergency landing in Goose Bay Canada, and parts of the engine were quickly found on the surface of the ice sheet by Air Greenland helicopter pilots. From the recovered components accident investigators determined that the failure originated in the titanium fan hub, and that its retrieval was critical to the accident investigation. Its size and mass meant that it impacted deep enough to be quickly covered with drifting snow, making visual detection impossible.

Polar Research Equipment was contracted to aid in the survey for and recovery of the engine components. Our robotic platform FrostyBoy was used to survey the crevasse fields that parts of the fan hub were believed to be buried within. A combination of our GPR equipment and a custom metal detector from the HydroGeophysics Group at Aarhus University in Denmark were able to locate and pinpoint the titanium engine component under three meters of snow and ice.

June 30th 2019

During the third field campaign, the part was excavated and successfully transported to Narsarsuaq, Greenland for further transport to NTSB facilities in the United States.


Learn more about the project below