Drink spills trigger A350 powerdowns

[Ref Flight International Magazine 4-10 Feb 2020]

Airbus and Rolls-Royce are investigating two incidents in which A350s experienced uncommanded in-flight engine shutdowns after drinks were spilled on cockpit controls.

According to Flight International Magazine, one case involved a Delta Air Lines A350-900 en route to Seoul on 21 January. Some 15min before the Delta shutdown, a drink was spilled on the centre pedestal between the two pilot seats, primarily on the integrated control panel for engine-start and electronic centralised aircraft monitor functions.
The right-hand engine shut down and the crew failed to restart it, so they diverted and landed safely in Alaska.

Flight-recorder analysis showed the electronic engine control had closed a high-pressure shut-off valve after inconsistent output from the integrated control panel.

Another similar incident happened previously on 9 November 2019, occurred about 1h after tea was spilled on the centre pedestal. The flight-recorder analysis indicated a high-pressure shut-off valve closure command.

In both incidents systems including the integrated control panel and electronic engine control were replaced. Relevant components from both aircraft have undergone examination.

The root causes of the in-flight shutdowns are still under investigation.

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