An airline pilot calmly explained that the plane had lost a propeller shortly before he made a landing at the Sydney Airport in Australia on March 17 (video below).
According to the Australian Broadcasting Company, Regional Express Flight ZL768 lost one of its propellers at about 6,000 feet during a flight from Albury, which the pilot calmly told air traffic controllers:
The prop has just fallen off the aircraft and standby for further instructions.
REX768, We've just had uncommanded engine operations and our propeller has just sheared off. We've got normal controls, still be able to fly.
Would require [runway] 1-6 right and we should be able to conduct a precautionary landing.
Fortunately, the traffic controllers were able to provide a runway, and the plane safely landed.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the incident, while the Civil Aviation Safety Authority wants a meeting with Regional Express.
The propeller has yet to found, and the ATSB is telling people to report any found aircraft debris to the authorities, but not to touch it.
Grahame Hutchison, an aviation photographer, took photographs of the plane while it was being towed at the Sydney Airport.
"I would imagine for the passengers it would be a fairly frightening experience so hats off to pilots, they’ve done a great job," Hutchison told News.com.au.
"That’s the first time I’ve seen an aircraft with one propeller," he added. "It’s just luck the propeller didn’t come off and hit the wing or the cabin and that would have been tragic. It could have gone straight into fuselage."
Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson told AAP that he had never heard of a plane missing its propeller in his 20 years of aviation experience.
"I’ve never come across it ... it’s very unusual," Gibson stated.
Regional Express addressed the incident in a statement:
Regional Express (Rex) flight ZL768 operating from Albury to Sydney on March 17, 2017 experienced an event associated with the aircraft’s right propeller assembly.
The crew followed standard operating procedures and the aircraft landed normally and on-time at Sydney Airport.
The 16 passengers and 3 crew members were met by Rex staff upon arrival and did not require any further assistance.
Rex is investigating the cause of the incident, and the matter has been reported to the ATSB as well as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority CASA.