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A Virgin ATR. Photo: Bahnfrend/Wikimedia Commons Australian air safety investigators are looking into a rare double flame-out on a twin-engine commuter plane descending into the nation’s capital.Both engines on a Virgin ATR-72-600 turboprop, registration VH-FVN, experienced problems near Canberra Airport on December 13.Although the disruptions were momentary and the aircraft landed safely, the probability of both engines shutting down during a flight is low and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is treating the incident as serious.Turboprops use gas turbine engines to power the propeller and a flameout occurs when the flame in the combustion chamber is extinguished. A flameout is believed to occur once in every 100,000 non-military flights, according to Air & Space Magazine.“While the aircraft was descending through 11,000 ft in heavy rain, the right engine’s power rolled back (decreased) and the engine flamed out,’’ The ATSB said. “The engine automatically re-started within five seconds.READ: Jetstar faces $A1.95 million fine for misleading customers.“The descent continued and, while passing through 10,000 ft, the left engine’s power also rolled back and that engine flamed out before automatically relighting.“The crew selected manual engine ignition for the remainder of the flight and the landing.”Although engines are designed to cope with extremely heavy rain, experts say it is normal to switch to continuous ignition as a precaution when heading into storms.This allows an engine to quickly relight in the case of a flameout, as was the case with the Virgin ATR.The aircraft spent three days on the ground before being returned to service. Virgin said the incident had not impacted customers and it was assisting the ATSB with its inquiries.The ATSB has downloaded the flight data recorder and is gathering additional information that will be included in a final report.“Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate action can be taken,’’ it said.There have been a number of instances of jet engines flaming out in bad weather, not all of them with the happy ending in Canberra.In 1977, a Southern Airways DC-9 was forced to land on a highway in the US state of Georgia after suffering hail damage in a thunderstorm and losing thrust in both engines. Sixty-three people died.In 1988, A Salvadoran Boeing 737 operated by TACA flew through thunderstorms around New Orleans when both engines quit.The crew managed to relight them but they would not accelerate from idle speed and dangerously rising tailpipe temperatures forced the pilots to shut them down again.The captain dead-sticked the aircraft into a levee embankment and ditched the plane without loss of life.In 2002, a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737 flight encountered severe thunderstorm activity on approach to Yogyakarta and suffered a flameout in both engines.The pilots tried several times to restart the engines but were forced to ditch in a shallow river with the loss of one life.
SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The activities of police officers at the Richard Oland murder scene will be under close scrutiny as his son’s retrial moves into its second week, resuming Tuesday.Dennis Oland’s defence lawyers describe the conduct of the murder investigation by the Saint John Police Force as “inadequate” and they have made it clear police activities will be a focal point of the defence strategy.Failure to properly preserve the crime scene and a rush to judgement in deciding Dennis Oland, a financial planner, was the one and only suspect in the killing are among the chief issues.“In this case, an issue will be the manner in which the Saint John police force handled the investigation of the homicide and their conduct in performing that crucial police function,” defence lawyer Alan Gold told the court last week.“Dennis was the last known person to see Richard Oland alive but to the police, that word ‘known’ evaporated very quickly.”Within hours of Richard Oland’s body being discovered on July 7, 2011, Dennis was identified by police as their prime suspect.Already two police officers have told the court about the numerous officers who visited the murder scene. About 20 police officers made their way to Oland’s uptown Saint John office on the day his beaten body was discovered on the floor by his desk.Gold suggested during cross examination of Const. Duane Squires it was like a sightseeing tour. In addition to the steady stream of police officers, there were also paramedics, the coroner and funeral home workers who assisted with removal of the body.The defence is raising questions about objects that may have been moved at the crime scene, the lack of attention paid to a possible back door escape route and the failure to protect the scene from contamination.Gold named a number of the officers who visited the bloody scene that day, noting their various ranks. They included Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey, whose attendance at the crime scene raised questions during Oland’s first trial.Another officer said McCloskey suggested he not tell the court about McCloskey’s visits to the murder scene.This was supposed to be the subject of a hearing before the New Brunswick Police Commission, but McCloskey retired before it could be held. The commission only investigates officers on active duty.In the coming days, there will be questions about police use of a bathroom at the crime scene before it was forensically tested.Squires said he was relatively new to police work and homicide investigations in 2011. He said he would do things differently today in terms of protecting such a scene.Oland, 50, was charged in 2013 with the second-degree murder of his father, a multi-millionaire businessman and member of the prominent Maritime beer-brewing family. Oland was found guilty after a 2015 jury trial, but the conviction was set aside on appeal and a new trial ordered.Even before testimony began at the retrial, the conduct of the Saint John police was called into question after it was learned an officer accessed an internal police database to search the background of prospective jurors. This was in violation of a 2012 directive from the Supreme Court of Canada and resulted in a mistrial and dismissal of the jury.The Oland trial now is being heard before judge alone.The New Brunswick Police Commission says it will investigate police involvement in the mistrial, but not until the current trial is over.Chris Morris, The Canadian Press