Damage to Boeing 777 engine consistent with metal fatigue, NTSB says

The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board mentioned a preliminary evaluation has revealed that injury to a fan blade within the engine that failed on a United Airlines Boeing 777-200 is consistent with metal fatigue.

The Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engine failed with a “loud bang” 4 minutes after takeoff off Saturday from Denver, inflicting minor injury to the fuselage, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt informed reporters Monday after an preliminary evaluation of the flight information and cockpit voice recorders.

He mentioned it was unclear whether or not the mishap is consistent with an engine failure on one other Hawaii-bound United flight in February 2018 that was attributed to a fatigue fracture in a fan blade.“What is vital that we actually actually perceive the info, circumstances and circumstances round this specific occasion earlier than we will examine it to every other occasion,” Sumwalt mentioned at a information briefing.

The engine concerned in Saturday’s incident on the 26-year-old plane is used on 128 planes — or lower than 10 p.c of the worldwide fleet of greater than 1,600 Boeing 777s, in accordance to Reuters.

In an incident from December 2020, two broken fan blades have been reported in a Japan Airlines Boeing 777 with a PW4000 engine, in accordance to Japan’s Transport Safety Board. That probe is ongoing.

The Federal Aviation Administration mentioned Monday that it had already been evaluating whether or not to regulate fan blade inspections within the wake of the December incident in Japan.

The United engine’s fan blade will probably be examined Tuesday after being flown to a Pratt lab the place it can examined beneath supervision of NTSB investigators.

Boeing has really helpful that airways droop the usage of the 777 planes whereas the FAA recognized an acceptable inspection protocol.

The company has mentioned it plans to difficulty an emergency airworthiness directive that can require stepped-up inspections of the fan blades for fatigue.

“United Airlines has grounded the entire affected airplanes with these engines, and I perceive the FAA can be working in a short time in addition to Pratt & Whitney has reiterated or revised a service bulletin,” Sumwalt mentioned. “It seems like motion is being taken.”

He mentioned the United incident was not thought-about an uncontained engine failure as a result of the containment ring contained the elements as they have been flying out.The NTSB will look into why the cowling separated from the jetliner and likewise why there was a hearth regardless of indications that gasoline to the engine had been shut off, Sumwalt added.

Industry sources mentioned that though the engine is made by Pratt, the cowling is manufactured by Boeing, which referred questions on the half to the NTSB.

Pratt & Whitney, which is owned by Raytheon Technologies Corp., has really helpful airways enhance inspections in a plan that’s being reviewed by the FAA, sources with data of the matter informed Reuters.

With Post Wires

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