The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), the american authority of civil aviation, has published this Friday a directive to take urgent airworthiness (Emergency Airworthiness Directive, AD), ordering an visual inspection of the engines GP7200 manufactured by Engine Alliance engines equipping the Airbus A380. This decision comes after the serious damage of the engine 4 (the one which is at the end) that has affected an A380 of Air France which was connecting Paris-Los Angeles. While the aircraft was flying over Greenland with 497 passengers and 24 crew members on board, the blower, the first element rotating at the front of the engine became detached in flight, carrying with it the loss of the air inlet. After having followed the new method of treatment failures FORDEC, the crew has been exemplary, has diverted the plane to the airport of Goose Bay (Canada), where the passengers remained 17 hours on board before being evacuated.
The GP7200 equip 60% of the fleet A380
The directive applies to all A380 aircraft fitted with engines manufactured by General Electric and Pratt & Withney within the Engine Alliance, and not those equipped with Rolls Royce engine. 120 devices, about 60% of the fleet of the Super Jumbo in the world are concerned, of which a large part of the fleet of Emirates. Companies must perform a visual inspection of all engines within a time limit which depends on the number of cycles of flights they have accumulated, and “the removal of a cone of fan (fan hub, editor’s Note) if damage or defects are discovered”. Engine Alliance had already asked its customers to carry out such an inspection within two to eight weeks. This inspection began at Air France, but nothing has been detected for the moment.
This directive does not prejudice the outcome of the safety investigation into the accident conducted by the Bureau of investigations and analyses (BEA) French, in liaison with the Danish authorities, american and canadian.
The incident occurred in the push phase
According to our information, the result of the interaction between the crew and the company but also with the BEA, any warning signs on the engine 4 has not been observed in the course of the volume The severe damage occurs at the time of a change in altitude to a higher flight level. To do this, the crew must put more thrust. On a flight like Paris to Los Angeles, the drivers are obliged to change several times in a level because, due to the lightening of the plane as it consumes the fuel, they are still trying to fly closer to the optimal level, where the consumption report-distance is the lowest. The motor is thus broken at this time, the crew was forced to get off the plane instead of climb. The trajectory has thus been ensured, but with a level of recovery to be lower than expected.