Blue Panorama 1504 was a scheduled flight operated by the Italian airline Blue Panorama from Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport International Airport in Rome, Italy to Havana, Cuba. On 16 July 2004, the Boeing 767-300ER right engine exploded. The crew managed to land the aircraft minutes after take off at the same airport. No one was injured.
4 kts before V1 the right engine exploded. The F/O was flying. The Captain elected to continue the take-off and, after completing the emergency actions, the fire was still uncontained. There was no possibility to dump fuel, of course, so the Captain took the controls and landed the aircraft 42 tons over the max landing weight. They took off from runway 16R but the Captain decided to land on 34L because the fire was in the right engine and the wind from the west would have kept it away from the cabin. The final speed was 179Kts, flaps 19. After the aircraft stopped, of course, most of the tires deflated. The 287 pax were evacuated with no injuries and the airplane suffered no damages, apart from the right engine.
The enquiry established that the blast and fire occurred because of a leaking high-pressure fuel hose. Apparently, over 700 kgs of fuel had leaked into the nacelle during taxi. It ignited during take-off.
Efforts have been made to determine the causes for the rupture of a flexible pipe leading to substantial fuel leak. The Pratt & Whitney – PW 4062 engine powers a large aircraft fleet world wide and more than 2000 such engines are presently in operation.
On September 7th, 2004 the ANSV was able to determine the causes for the rupture originating the event and therefore three specific urgent Safety Recommendations were issued to the address of the Federal Aviation Administration – FAA of the USA. The scope of the recommendations dealt with suggesting the adoption of a specific test and modification program for all engines of the same type. In detail the suggestion specified certain flexible pipes installation criteria and procedures and the modification of inspection procedures during periodic maintenance. Consequently, the Manufacturer was directed to modify and update the relevant maintenance procedures and the manuals where they are described.
The preventative maintenance suggested by the ANSV has been fully endorsed by the FAA which issued a first notice on February 18th, 2005 followed by a specific Service Bulletin (PW4ENG 72-773) on April 7th, 2005.