Posts Tagged ‘Boeing 747’

Once again: Qantas + RR engine + B747 = return to base

January 26, 2011

The Rolls Royce Engine Syndrome (RES) strikes again.

This time – one very thirsty engine


Another drama ... A Qantas 747 was forced to return to Bangkok yesterday. image:

Flight QF2 carrying 352 passengers was about 30 minutes into its flight from Bangkok International Airport when one of its engines began “consuming fuel more quickly than normal” a Qantas spokesman said.
It was forced to return to Bangkok where it landed safely about 7pm local time (11pm AEST). Affected passengers are expected to spend a second night in temporary accommodation with Qantas scrambling to send a replacement engine from Sydney for the troubled Boeing 747 today.
“As far as possible we will try and get passengers who need to return to Sydney urgently on other flights but that will be dependent on availability on other airlines,” the spokesman said.

“It was not actually an engine failure, (the pilots) did not shut the engine down they just reduced the thrust.” However one passenger on the flight says the engine “blew”.

The spokesman said there were no other replacement Qantas aircraft available in Bangkok.

Read more:

Dreamliner delayed again and Qantas dramatics continue – now with B747 engines

January 19, 2011

Boeing has delayed the Dreamliner again — for the seventh time!

The Telegraph reports:

Boeing told investors on Tuesday that the 787 will now be delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways in the third quarter of the year, rather than the first, after a fire on one of the test planes in November. All test flights were suspended for six weeks after the fire.

The 787, which seats 210 to 250 passengers and has a list price of $202m, promises to be the company’s greenest and most efficient airliner yet and uses advanced composite materials to achieve these savings. However, technical problems have pushed the aircraft behind schedule and it is now into its third year of delays. Boeing is under pressure to deliver the 787, which has become the company’s fastest-selling airliner.

Shinichiro Ito, the president of All Nippon, said last week the airline is having a “hard time” dealing with the delay. Boeing has secured 847 orders for the 787, which took its maiden flight in December 2009. Boeing insisted the latest setback will not have a “material impact” on its results, something investors appeared to agree with.

Meanwhile Qantas experiences further problems with its Rolls Royce engines . AFP reports on two Boeing 747 Qantas flights with engine problems:

A Qantas passenger jet bound for New York made an unscheduled stop in Fiji after it developed a problem with one of its engines, the Australian airline said Wednesday.

Qantas said flight QF107, a Boeing 747, carrying 375 passengers from Sydney to New York via Los Angeles, touched down in Nadi on Tuesday for repairs to a fuel valve supplying one of its engines…..

…… The hitch comes just days after another Qantas Boeing 747, QF11 to Los Angeles, experienced a contained engine failure on the runway of Sydney airport due to a turbine blade defect.

Media reports on that incident said that passengers heard “a loud bang” and saw black smoke pour from the affected engine, with the captain reportedly telling those on board that the engine had “cooked itself” over the plane’s intercom.

The “contained”  engine failure is the more serious issue. The Boeing 747 long-reach aircraft flown by Qantas uses  Rolls-Royce RB211-524G-T engines. The “T” at the end signifies that it includes some of the Trent modifications. The Trent 900 engines are used on the Airbus A380s while the Trent 1000 is  planned for the Boeing Dreamliner.

A Trent 1000 experienced an uncontained failure on the test-bed last year while the Trent 900 has had an uncontained failure and a number of other difficulties on the A380.


Does the fault lie with Rolls Royce or with the RR / Qantas combination?

November 6, 2010

Between August 30th and November 5th there have been at least 4 engine incidents involving a Rolls Royce engine causing a shut down of one engine and an emergency landing.

  1. August 30th QF 74, Boeing 747-400, RR RB211-524 engines, returned to San Francisco after one engine exploded, holes found in engine casing
  2. September 28th, SQ 333, A380-800, RR Trent 900 engines, returned to Paris after  one engine failed, two and a half hours after take-off.
  3. November 4th, QF32, A380, Trent 900 engines, return to Singapore after one engine exploded over Batam shortly after take-off
  4. November 5th, QF6, Boeing 747-400, RR RB 211-524 engines, returned to Changi, Singapore after one engine failed shortly after take-off.

Four incidents with engine failure in just over two months is quite out of the ordinary. All incidents involve Rolls Royce engines, three incidents involve Qantas aircraft, two were with Airbus A 380 aircraft and two with Boeing 747-400 jets. All of the incidents were soon after take-off (though the Singapore Airlines incident was 2.5 hours after take-off). Two of the incidents were “uncontained”, catastrophic engine failures (both Qantas) and the other two engine failures involved – by witness accounts – oil leaks and/or fires but no “uncontained explosions”. It is not clear whether in the latter 2 cases the engines were shut down or failed.

  • The proximity to take-off suggests maintenance issues but two different airlines were involved (though it seems that Rolls Royce are still responsible for maintenance of the A 380 Trent 900 engines).
  • Rolls Royce engines are used by many airlines and on many different aircraft types. It appears therefore that aircraft type is not the issue.
  • Rolls Royce engines and perhaps some design fault (since even the RB 211 engines which failed on the Boeing 747s had some Trent features) looks like the prime culprit,
  • the Rolls Royce Trent/ Qantas combination seems particularly prone to incidents.

In order of probability then the engine failure issue would seem to be caused by a Rolls Royce Trent design fault (which has then been introduced also into some of the RB 211-524’s powering the B747-400s), or some fault arising from the Qantas / RR Trent combination, or a maintenance issue specific to Rolls Royce’s maintenance organisation or a more general maintenance issue.

It is a tribute to engineers and engineering and safety standards that these 4 incidents led to no injuries whatever and were followed by perfectly safe landings even after the loss of one engine.

But a little more communication and information from Rolls Royce is called for. Singapore Airlines is also very tight with releasing any information about its incident. It is insufficient and inappropriate for Singapore Airlines to brush it off as a non-event. Lack of information only suggests something is being hidden.

And what of the Trent 1000 for the Boeing Dreamliner?

In flight failure of RB 211-524 engine

October 25, 2010

WA Today reports:

Air safety investigators have found extensive turbine damage in the jet engine that exploded on a Qantas jumbo at 25,000 feet near San Francisco in August this year. Engine parts that were flung outwards tore not only a gaping hole on the far side of the engine cover but also peppered the near-side with holes, air safety investigators have revealed. As the engine vibrated, debris ejected through the engine hole hit the underside of the wing, puncturing the wing flaps, investigators have found.


A Qantas jet was forced to turn back to San Francisco after a hole was blown in the shell of the engine.

Flight QF74 failure of RB211-524 engine:Photo: Channel Ten


The findings are contained in a preliminary report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) into the explosion on flight QF74, carrying 213 passengers and 18 crew, on August 30. The incident occurred 15 minutes after take-off.

The pilots shut down the engine, sought landing clearance, dumped fuel and landed safely at San Francisco, where the plane was met by fire crew, inspected and allowed to taxi to the terminal. This was an exceptionally rare event and the first time Qantas has experienced this type of engine failure,” a Qantas spokesman said.

All of the engine’s turbine blades had either fractured or broken away, investigators said. There was also damage of other engine internals including vanes, bearings, speed probes and a turbine shaft. Further testing of engine components will be undertaken by Rolls-Royce, overseen by UK air safety investigators. The Rolls-Royce RB211-524 engine was removed from the aircraft and taken to Hong Kong for examination. The investigation is continuing.


Turbofan engine operation: Wikimedia



RB 211-524:


The RB 211 family is a high bypass turbofan engine originally designed for the Lockheed Tristar. The 211-524 engine was developed with increased thrust and efficiency for the Boeing 747-200 and further improvements led to the 211-524 G and 211-524H for the Boeing 747-400 and for the 767. The 211 family has led to the Trent engines and some features of the Trent could be retrofitted to create the 211-524G-T and the 211-524H-T. A newer version of the same family the 211-535 series is used in Boeing 727’s and 757’s.

An industrial version of the RB211 is used for power generation and another inter-cooled version is used in marine applications.

The Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine designed for Boeing’s Dreamliner has had some initial testing setbacks which seem to be fixed but which has caused some of the delays to the Dreamliner.

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