DALLAS – The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released a new proposal aimed at addressing a potential issue found in the engines powering Boeing 777 planes. The issue involves a substance called ‘iron inclusion’ that could impact the quality and longevity of specific compressor components.
According to FlightGlobal, this proposal from the FAA is part of a series of regulatory measures taken in response to the discovery of iron inclusion in various GE Aerospace engines, such as the GEnx and CFM International Leap turbofans. Boeing 787 planes use the GEnx engine, while the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo-family aircraft use the Leap engine.
The proposal, published on September 1st, mandates airlines to replace certain components in GE Aerospace GE90 turbofans before the next flight. This decision by the FAA was prompted by GE Aerospace’s discovery that additional components in GE90 engines were manufactured using materials associated with iron inclusion. The affected components include high-pressure turbine discs, rotor spools, and compressor seals.
The FAA explains that ‘iron inclusion’ arises from flaws in the manufacturing process and can result in early cracks and failures in the components. This, in turn, can cause engine damage and the release of debris.
GE Aerospace, a collaboration between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, has expressed its support for the proposal, stating that it aligns with their existing recommendations to operators and demonstrates their proactive approach to safety management.
In 2022, the FAA issued directives with a similar objective for other engines, including GE90s, GEnx, and CFM International Leap turbofans, which may contain components made with material suspected of containing iron inclusion.
The proposal will undergo 45 days for public feedback before it is finalized as a directive. Once finalized, the directive will mandate the immediate replacement of specific GE90 high-pressure turbine stage-one and stage-two discs before further operation of the machinery. Other affected components will be given an extended timeline for replacement.
The FAA emphasized that failure to comply with this directive could lead to uncontained engine failures, aircraft damage, and potential injuries. GE Aerospace has already notified the airlines regarding the issue.
Featured image: Brandon Farris/Airways