Posts Tagged ‘RB 211’

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.

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Rolls Royce faces 3 different engine issues as Singapore Airlines changes engines on 3 A 380s

November 10, 2010

It seems that Rolls Royce are facing  issues with three different engines; the Trent 900 for the A380s, the RB211-524s having Trent features and the Trent 1000.

Singapore Airlines are grounding three of their A380s for engine change-outs as a precautionary measure.


Singapore Airlines (SIA) said Wednesday it had grounded three Airbus A380 planes to carry out “precautionary” engine changes following a mid-air engine failure on a Qantas-operated superjumbo. “Based on further analysis of inspection findings as the investigation into last week’s incident involving another operator’s Airbus A380 is progressing, Singapore Airlines will be carrying out precautionary engine changes on three A380s,” the carrier said in a statement.

An SIA spokeswoman told AFP that Rolls Royce had advised the carrier to change the engines after tests showed oil stains on them. “We were advised by Rolls-Royce in particular that these three engines had signs of oil stains,” she said, stressing the issue was different from the problem that affected the Qantas A380 plane last week.

The three planes are now in London, Sydney and Melbourne pending the engine changes, and SIA could not confirm the duration of their grounding nor the cost of replacing the engines.

My simplistic view of what is certainly a very complicated picture is that there are certain operating conditions at which the Trent 900 is subject to oil leaks (possibly because some oil carrying pipes are susceptible to vibration based cracks). These operating conditions are probably when the Trent 900 is being “pushed” close to maximum thrust conditions and Qantas’ method of operation has these engines operating at these conditions for more of the time than other airlines. This mode of operation probably occurs more often at or soon after take-off.

Even though Rolls Royce has said that the issues with the Trent 1000 are entirely different and have been fixed, there remains the issue of whether the Trent based improvements when introduced into the RB211-524 engine also creates a “dangerous” operating zone.

It seems to me that Rolls Royce is wrestling with at least 3 different engine issues:

  1. with the Trent 900 for the A 380’s, especially at high-thrust conditions which Qantas uses more than other airlines,
  2. with the RB211-524 (xT) where the (T) represents the use of Trent features and used mainly in Boeing 747-400’s, and
  3. with the Trent 1000 for the Boeing Dreamliner where some issues have been fixed but where delays are still in the air.

I have no doubt that they are going to get fixed but the direct cost will be high and my guess is that Rolls Royce will have to bear the brunt of the cost with some costs incurred by Qantas for their own fleet. It will need the sale of many Trent 900s before Rolls Royce can amortise all the development and “teething” costs for this engine. It is of some small comfort that the number of engines to be “fixed in the field” is relatively small. The costs for Airbus will be mainly indirect for the loss of reputation and for some lost opportunities. But the A 380’s ability to land safely even after one wing was heavily damaged is not unimpressive.

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