Singapore Airlines Flight SQ836: a loss of engine power due to “ice crystal icing”?

May 23rd, 2015 |
Singapore Airlines Flight SQ836 path, altitude, and airspeed (from flightradar24)

Singapore Airlines Flight SQ836 path, altitude, and airspeed (from flightradar24)

Singapore Airlines Flight SQ836 was en route to Shanghai from Singapore on 23 May 2015 when it lost power from both engines at an altitude of 39,000 feet over the South China Sea, not far south-southeast of Hong Kong (Aviation Herald). The aircraft lost about 13,000 feet in altitude (above) before the engines were successfully re-started. The violet portion of the flight path denotes the period when no ADS-B data were received, from 1246 to 1311 UTC.

Himawari-8 11.2 um IR channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 11.2 um IR channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 11.2 um IR channel images (above; click image to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file) and 6.2 um water vapor channel images (below; click image to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file) showed a broken line of vigorous deep convection to the north of where the engine power loss first occurred (approximately within the yellow circle; VHHH is the airport identifier for Hong Kong). On the IR imagery, the coldest cloud-top brightness temperatures were in the -80 to -90 C range (shades of violet), and anvil debris could be seen drifting south-southwestward.  This convective cloud debris may have contributed to a phenomenon known as ice crystal icing, which affected the engines of the aircraft.

Himawari-8 6.2 um water vapor channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 6.2 um water vapor channel images (click to play animation)

 

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