Trent Trouble Continues for Rolls-Royce

Photo: Rolls-Royce


Rolls-Royce has received more bad news regarding the Trent 1000 engine that powers the Boeing 787 Dreamliner family. In a new airworthiness directive (AD) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration on January 18 new restrictions are being placed on an engine subset, known as Package B, of the Trent 1000 that powers the 787-8, to limit extended operations (ETOPS).

The FAA said the issuing of the AD “was prompted by a report from the engine manufacturer indicating that after an engine failure, prolonged operation at high thrust settings on the remaining engine during an ETOPS diversion may result in failure of the remaining engine before the diversion can be safely completed”. These latest restrictions are not expected to be as disruptive as those on Package C engines, and Roll-Royce is working on the introduction of permanent fixes.

In better news, the engine manufacturer has received certification for the redesigned intermediate pressure (IP) compressor blade for Package C variants of the Trent 1000. The redesign was prompted by the discovery of a durability issue within the blades that resulted in dozens of 787s being grounded around the world until a suitable fix could be found and implemented. Rolls-Royce said it hopes the introduction of the new blade will quickly return all the grounded aircraft back to flying status.

Prior to certification the new blades were installed on a test engine, before undergoing flight testing on the company’s Boeing 747 flying test bed in the US. The manufacturer also said the first engine to receive the modified blades were being serviced (as of early January) at its overhaul services facility in Derby and the introduction of the new blades will be on a phased basis as their production ramps up.

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