Clipboard in engine forces flight to turn back

A stray clipboard disrupted a flight after making its way into the engine.

The incident in October 2017 forced a Jetstar Airbus A320 bound for Sydney to turn around and return to Auckland.

In a report the Australian Safety Bureau found that ground staff placed the clipboard into the plane's right engine cowling during pre-flight checks to protect it from wind and rain.

A dispatcher noticed the clipboard during a routine 'walk-around' but didn't take any action because they assumed the object would be removed before take-off.

The clipboard was "ingested" into the engine during start-up some 12 minutes later. 

After the plane took off the pilot was told ground staff had found paper debris and a piece of metal on the runway. 

It was decided to turn the plane around and return to Auckland, and landed an hour after initially taking off. 

Jetstar ground staff will now be given specific warnings not to place items in the engine cowling, and will be reminded of the importance of communicating with cockpit staff.