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BREAKING: Boeing Grounds 787 Dreamliner #1 After Engine Surge

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Boeing Co. grounded one of its five 787 Dreamliner test jets while crews replace a Rolls-Royce Group Plc engine that experienced a power surge before takeoff. It’s too soon to tell whether the 787’s test schedule may be affected, Yvonne Leach, a Boeing spokeswoman, said today in a telephone interview. (www.bloomberg.com) Mais...

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genethemarine
Gene spanos 0
What about the other three engine failures while in flight and all three made it back.
It's not too safe right now to board one of these 747's with the same type of engine - RR.
Sorry - there goes the stock in RR.
CHAINSAW
Peter Zamoyski 0
The comment by Gene is way out of line; to even make such a statement is ridiculous and shows complete aviation ignorance. First of all, the Qantas engine failure is an isolated issue, these things happen quite a few times per day around the world. There is NOTHING wrong with ANY aircraft equipped with RR or GE or P&W engines, to name a few. The B747, all models, are one of the safest aircraft flying, as are ALL Boeing aircraft.
Before we start lambasting RR engines, let’s first find out what caused the failure in the first place!
JENNYJET
JENNIFER JORDAN 0
Is that not the point of testing? To experience failures and correct them?
gzelna
Greg Zelna 0
I can't wait to see these 787's in full production and flying ! I also would respectfully submit that while every new design will have evolutionary 'growing pains' no, I would not think that at this point in flight testing/qualification you would be having engine issues as a product of test. The tens of thousands of engine stand hours ought to have wrung out the engine issues, and exposed items such as a propensity for uncontained engine failure, which fortunately ocurred on a test stand and not a 787 airframe. That failure was a production engine slated to go into an early delivery ANA B787. And it bears repeating that this (engine)is a supposedly production worthy design, not 'product development'. I would say these is/are cause for concern over the RR powerplant, at this point in time that is.... I hope GE production capability is up to the task of filling the gap if needed.

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/08/24/346509/faa-confirms-trent-1000-failure-was-uncontained.html
jetman05
John Burnham 0
i have to agree with what peter(chainsaw) said about genes comment. i work on B747 and they are one of safest planes to fly on. the GE and P&W engines are work horses on these jets and other aircraft and i believe the RR are just as good. boeing will find out the problem so no need to blast any engine companys.
toolguy105
toolguy105 0
Engine surge's happen on production engines currently being flown be the RR, GE or PW. Fortunately they do not happen often; the only reason this is news worthy is the surge happened on a new aircraft going through testing awaiting flight certification. Had it happened to an inservice aircraft it might rate a few lines in a local paper if it was a slow news day.

When RR investigates the failure it will probably turn out to be a failure of a purchase part used on the engine.
Kjoden44
Ken Oden 0
I believe you've all got valid points. RR was testing this engine to "higher than normal rotor speeds" and found out that is not a good idea - i.e. it came apart. So, now you know why they call for max N1 and N2 rotor speeds, and tho shalt never exceed. I'll assume these engines are FADEC and a software tweak will correct this overspeed problem. Now, anybody got any comments about (what if) this engine had a failure in flight and blades penetrated the composite hull?
toolguy105
toolguy105 0
That's a good question Ken. I believe the composit might be harder to penertrate then the metal skin just because of how the composit is made with the fibers going in different directions with each layer. I could be wrong but I am thinking it would be harder to penetrate the composit fuslage.
jetman05
John Burnham 0
ken, wouldnt RR test that engine before it would be hung from the wing? or maybe since its a new aircraft they are just testing the engine for particluar aircraft to see what it can do? i do agree with you that these engines are FADEC and hopefully RR or boeing can get it up and running.
Kjoden44
Ken Oden 0
Tool guy,
I've been nosing around the Boeing (employment) web site checking on some job offers. They're looking for some production pilots to train in Seattle then move to Charleston within a year to help with delivery of the -787. I've only flown metal airplanes all my life, this composite bird seems quite the challenge to build. I'll attach the link for an interesting piece of Boeing propaganda:
http://www.boeing.com/careers/featuredjobs/splash_charleston.html
toolguy105
toolguy105 0
Thanks Ken I'll take a look at it
mbazell
mbazell 0
There are probably 1000 engine surges everyday worldwide on aircraft that have been in service for years and that have undergone hundreds of mods. Back in 1971 when the 747 started service there were several fires associated with surges, bearing problems, and shut downs but by 1973 the bugs were worked out. Both the GE CF6-50 series and the P & W JT9D series motors had their problems, yet both went on to become the most reliable in the 747 Classic's 40 year history.
Kjoden44
Ken Oden 0
I'm probably going to "date myself" with this one, but I was in the early group of pilots with Eastern Air Lines when we got the L-1011 from Lockheed. The engine of choice was the RB-211 which was their first production engine with three sets of rotors. Yep - N1, N2 and N3. Was it complex? About as complex as you could make a basically simple principle get. I'm sure you've all heard the quotation "mad dogs and Englishmen, out in the mid day sun." Eventually we worked out the bugs and the engines turned out to be one of the more reliable systems on the 1011.
JENNYJET
JENNIFER JORDAN 0
I cannot help thinking that the RR Trents and similar products from GE & Pratt & Witney were designed specifically for use as 'twins' and as such remain at the edge of human technology and as such are likely to break occasionally. With only the A380 using 4 of these power plants it suggests that they have to be tested to destruction before certification on the 787 but bearing in mind that current engines in service can still break as with the recent QANTAS event....all things made by man will fail after all!!
akarnold
Keith Arnold 0
What is an engine surge?
nctrooper10722001
Thomas Moore 0
Keith.. An engine surge is what you get on a 90's model Ford 150 with a bad MAP sensor..Power on-Power off at one throttle setting.. Sucks to have that goin on cars, trucks, and aircraft
chalet
chalet 0
What is an engine surge and waht causes it, perhaps the digital speed control going haywire and the pilot can not stop it even by cutting the fuel flow?. Is it akin to the running away of the recip engines of yore which were quite dreadful?
chalet
chalet 0
What is an engine surge and waht causes it, perhaps the digital speed control going haywire and the pilot can not stop it even by cutting the fuel flow?. Is it akin to the running away of the recip engines of yore which were quite dreadful?
AABABY
AABABY 0
Hmmm! Is Toyota building aircraft engine controls these days?
Kjoden44
Ken Oden 0
A bit of history on FADEC (fully automatic digital engine control) engines. Most of the last generation of big, high bypass engines are FADEC. The companies just have another name for it. In the case of RR, the Trent 1000 has a FPMU (fuel pump metering unit) that controls the engine. In effect, the pilot has an ON/Run and Off switch in the cockpit. He tells the computer (FADEC) that he wants more power and the little box located somewhere below decks makes the correct input to give him more thrust. The reason for this is that modern, high thrust engines cost upwards of $10 million dollars each - no use exposing that kind of expensive machinery to a bad, hung or hot starts. Frank, Toyota is not building aircraft engines, but Honda is going to build their own engines for the Honda Jet which is being built in the USA.
boeing727man
Jim Halvorsen 0
I am all about making sure an aircraft is as safe as possible when it is delivered to an airline. But remember, the engine surging episode is exactly why we test an aircraft repeatedly before putting into service. Does anyone remember when the engine was being tested for the triple 7? It failed during an in-flight test while attached to a 74. Now it is a tried, true, and reliable Pratt & Whitney powerplant that that safely flies 777 pax all over the world with an excellent ETOPS rating to boot.
RR has a great engine, and I agree with Ken. I have flown on several L-1011's in the old Delta livery, and the "trademark" groaning sound of RB211 power always taking between ATL and TPA nice and safe!
toolguy105
toolguy105 0
L1011 Eastern Airlines, Ken you are old, about my age I'd say. DC10 National Airlines
Hapticz
pete krohn 0
fly by wire still scares me! i want my hands on the darned thing! ;-))
toolguy105
toolguy105 0
Pete I agree with you as far as commercial air travel goes. Fly by wire is great for military fighter jets which can be unstable. When it comes to passenger carrying aircraft it is okay to let the computers fly the damn things but the last back up system should be the ability of the human to take control. With fly by wire that last back up isn't there.
Kjoden44
Ken Oden 0
Toolguy,
I came on the EAL property in Miami back in 1969 when Rickenbacker and Maytag were still bumping heads over who would rule the airways. <g> No fly by wire back then, even the "heavies" could be flown in some sort of manual over ride.
alvinsaldanha
Alvin Saldanha 0
Will someone get me a ticket to fly on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight, engine surge or not.Those ships are Boeing, the safest things in the sky. I'm going crazy sitting around waiting to fly it.
AABABY
AABABY 0
Ken: I was making a sarcastic remark about Toyota's recent run of misfortune in the sudden acceleration recalls.
I know that product testing is very important. Especially in the Aerospace industry. U.S. aircraft builders mostly have a superior product. This comes from more testing and testing again.
I don't fault RR for the engine surge. Many of their components come from outside suppliers.
I just read about some company thatwas supplying counterfiet parts to military and commercial buyers.
How scary is that?
toolguy105
toolguy105 0
The autopilot has it place in preventing crew fatigue and I will go so far as to endorse the class cockpit and some of the latest features such as auto-land. But when people like Mr. O’Leary of Ryan air starts talking about reducing the flight deck crew to one I draw the line. All of these computerized flight deck features are great in reducing crew fatigue and work load; they do not replace the human pilot’s ability to decide the proper action to take when something goes wrong. Not everything happens by the book. Computers can only do as programmed, if the problem is not programmed for they are lost. Fly by wire does not allow for a pilot to muscle his/her plane as a last resort. As I stated it is a great feature for a fighter jet; whose pilot’s last resort is to bail out. Commercial aircraft pilots and passengers do not have bail out options. I’m all for reconnecting the fight controls to the control column.

I believe Airbus went for fly by wire not because they thought it was safer, it was easier and more cost efficient for them in competing with Boeing.
Kjoden44
Ken Oden 0
Airbus stated goal (years ago) was to build an airplane that could be flown and maintained in 2nd and 3rd world countries. The Airbus product was easy to fix - if the radio don't work, pull the radio module and replace it. If the pilot wants to go up, pull back and the airplane goes up, until it gets slow and then the computer takes over to not let a stall develop. Simple and easy. But that is what fly by wire is. Relatively easy to fly while it works. Didja know the B-777 was Boeing's first fly by wire? You'd hardly know the difference - I've got a couple thousand hours in that heavy twin and the controls were very well balanced. But then again, that's a Boeing.
donnlass
Marie Martin 0
When you get your new Dreamliner into service will there be a World Tour like the A380 had?

Would be great to see a Fly Past and maybe an Inaugural Flight into Manchester UK.

Good luck with the testing and hope to see your baby in service soon.
AABABY
AABABY 0
Complete with barrel roll and a hammerhead stall for return leg of flyby just for good measure??
Kjoden44
Ken Oden 0
I think Boeing would frown on any kind of aerobatics with their -787 prototypes. The last time this happened was when an enthusiastic test pilot rolled the prototype B-707 over Seattle during the annual boat race in Seattle harbor. Did it not once, but twice! I believe they now have a high member of management flying in the cockpit with a gun to prevent this from happening again. <g>
chalet
chalet 0
Ken, his name was "Tex" Johnnson, a colorful character and most of all a hell of a pilot who got his nickname for wearing what else cowboy boots even when flying. Check for some footage in the YouTube site showing his famous barrell roll on the also famous Dash 80 experimental 707. He was so good that Boeing top brass could not fire him.
AABABY
AABABY 0
Boeing probably wouldn't like it, for sure. But GOD, it would be beautiful!
Kjoden44
Ken Oden 0
Chalet,
There were two reasons they didn't fire Tex: The first was that the president of Boeing told him to fly over the city that day and "show 'em what the Dash 80 could do." After he rolled the airplane twice in front of God, country and millions of on lookers, orders flowed in for the airplane from all corners of the world. Hard to dump an employee who does what you ask and then gets hundreds of airframes sold at the same time.

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