The US aviation regulator on Wednesday proposed modifications and safety inspections on some models of the Boeing 777, following a number of engine incidents.
The most recent and dramatic involved an engine from a United Airlines 777 that caught fire shortly after takeoff in February, scattering debris over a Denver suburb.
No one was injured, but it led to the decommissioning of dozens of 777s equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines around the world. The United States Federal Aviation Administration had ordered checks on all similar engines before any of these models returned to the sky.
On Wednesday, he said those 777 models needed modifications for safety reasons.
“The FAA has determined that further action is needed to address the aircraft-level implications and unsafe conditions resulting from in-flight engine fan blade failures,” the regulator said in a statement on Wednesday, citing three incidents. including the one in Denver.
The problem was “likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type of design,” he added, of which he said there were 54 in the United States and 128 in the United States. world.
He proposed installing debris screens on part of the crankcase, new checks on a blower part, and repeated tests on a mechanism supposed to be triggered in the event of a fire.
The proposals, which won’t be officially published until December 28, are open for comment until the end of January.
“We support these guidelines, which reflect our work with the FAA to improve the design” of the engines in question, a Boeing spokesperson told AFP.
Contacted by AFP, United Airlines, the only US carrier operating these 777 models, called the proposals “a good solution”.
The company said many of the affected aircraft were already subject to the proposed inspections.
“We expect these planes to join our (operational) fleet early next year,” United said.
Even before the Denver incident, aviation safety regulators had considered more stringent inspections of jets and their Pratt & Whitney engines, US officials had previously said.
The FAA reviewed inspection records and maintenance history after a fractured engine fan blade on a Japan Airlines jet aircraft in December 2020. The flight landed uninjured.
The 777 is one of Boeing’s most successful commercial aircraft, in service with more than 60 airlines around the world.
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