(New York) US aircraft manufacturer Boeing was planning to reinforce the engine cowls of the 777 even before the recent damage to the aircraft, including a spectacular incident in the United States last week, reported Thursday. Wall Street Journal.
Posted on February 25, 2021 at 11:13 a.m.
According to an internal document at the FAA, the American regulator in charge of aviation, dated August 2020 and consulted by the daily, Boeing had decided “to redesign the fan cowl (of the engine of the 777) instead of trying to modify the Existing blower cowls to address both structural strength issues and moisture issues.
The manufacturer “will manufacture new fan cowls and will provide instructions to operators (of the 777s) to remove and replace” the existing cowls, it added in the document.
Engine on fire
Shortly after takeoff of a United Airlines flight to connect Denver and Honolulu last Saturday, an engine of the aircraft caught fire, probably following a problem with the blades of the fan according to the first findings of the investigation. A rain of debris fell to the ground in the wake, in a residential area, including part of the engine cover.
Other incidents involving this specific engine, manufactured by Pratt & Whitney, had already occurred, in 2018 on a United Airlines flight and in December 2020 on a Japan Airlines flight.
According to Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, Boeing and the FAA were discussing ways to possibly make changes to the engine cowls of the 777 “for about two years” after the incident on the United Airlines flight in 2018 and another on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 the same year.
Without confirming or denying the existence of these discussions, the FAA said in a message on Thursday that it was “in permanent contact with the manufacturers to constantly improve safety”.
“Any proposed modification to the design of a crucial element of the structure must be carefully evaluated and tested to ensure that it offers an equivalent or improved level of safety and does not introduce unintended risks,” added the regulator. .
Boeing also declined to comment on these discussions, indicating only that the company would continue “to follow the instructions of the FAA”.
The FAA on Tuesday already ordered a thorough examination of the blades of Boeing 777 engines similar to the one involved in the incident on Saturday on a United Airlines flight before they could fly away.
The inspection by thermoacoustic imaging required by the regulator must make it possible to detect any cracks invisible to the naked eye.
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