News: FAA orders immediate inspections of some Boeing 777 engines after United failure.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Tuesday that it was ordering immediate inspections of Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines prior to further flights after an engine failed on a United flight on Saturday .
Operators must perform a thermoacoustic image inspection of the large titanium fan blades that are on the front of each motor, according to the FAA.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced Monday that a cracked United Flight 328 engine fan blade that caught fire is compatible with metal fatigue.
“Based on the initial results we receive and other data from the ongoing investigation, the FAA may revise this policy to set a new interval for this or subsequent inspections,” the FAA said.
In March 2019, following a United engine failure in 2018 due to fan blade fatigue, the FAA ordered inspections every 6,500 cycles. A bicycle is a take-off and a landing.
The South Korean Department of Transportation said Tuesday it had directed its airlines to inspect fan blades every 1,000 cycles, as per Pratt’s instructions following the recent incident in United.
The ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment following the order from the FAA. Korean Air and Asiana Airlines said they would comply with guidelines from the relevant authorities.
According to an industry source familiar with the matter, an airline would typically accumulate 1,000 cycles on a 777 about every 10 months.
The FAA announced in 2019 that each inspection is expected to take 22 man hours and cost $ 1,870. No updated estimates were presented on Tuesday.
The engine that failed on the 26-year-old Boeing 777 and spilled parts over a suburb of Denver on Saturday was a PW4000. The engines are used in 128 aircraft, or less than 10% of the global fleet of more than 1,600 777 wide-body jets delivered.
Boeing said it supports the FAA’s latest inspection guidelines and will work through the process with its customers.
It had previously recommended that airlines cease using the planes while the FAA set an appropriate inspection protocol, and Japan imposed a temporary suspension of flights following the incident on Saturday.
United, the only US operator, had temporarily suspended its fleet prior to the FAA’s announcement. The airline said Tuesday it would comply with the airworthiness policy.
United warned of possible disruptions to its cargo schedule in March when it juggled its fleet following its decision to land 24 Boeing 777-200s. This emerges from a communication to freight customers.
Another 28 of United’s 777-200 aircraft were already retired ahead of the incident on Saturday as demand fell sharply due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Jamie Freed in Sydney; additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Joyce Lee in Seoul Editing by Himani Sarkar and Gerry Doyle
Original Source © Reuters