Concerns With Commercial Jet Engine Problems

by James T. Crouse on December 27, 2010

in Commercial Air Travel

Another problem with commercial transport jet engines:  this time the problem is with Boeing’s General Electric engines on its 777-200 jets.  After two engine incidents within a couple of weeks, the Angolan airline Linhas Aereas de Angola has decided to suspend all flights using its Boeing 777-200 engines.                                                        

On December 6, the first incident occurred with the Angolan airline when an aircraft with 122 passengers on board had to make an emergency landing at Lisbon Airport because of a vibration in the right-side engine.  On December 23, a similar incident happened with the same model aircraft which was traveling from Luanda to Dubai with 32 passengers and 13 crew members on board.  On this flight, there was an unexpected failure of the right-side engine following takeoff and the pilots returned to the airport. 

Linhas Aereas de Angola airlines has alerted US companies Boeing, the maker of the aircraft, and General Electric, the maker of the engine, about the incidents.  An investigation by both companies has begun into the causes of the engine problems. 

The Boeing 777 series, which now includes six models, has been in service since June of 1995 and has over 5 million flights and 18 million flight hours.  Its engines have been made by Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, and General Electric.  The 777 aircraft series offers the most payload and range capabilities in a mid-size airplane category at a lower operating cost and is known for its fuel capabilities, spacious cabins, range capabilities and its reliability.  

These events follow closely on the heels of Quantas Airlines Rolls-Royce engine incident of November 4.  Quantas grounded all six of its Airbus A380 fleet for safety reasons after an engine explosion near Singapore.  Shortly afterwards, a Boeing 747-400, which was also using a Rolls-Royce engine, had to return to Singapore’s Changi airport with engine problems. 

The companies and the respective government agencies have got to find the causes of the engine problems.  One would doubt if they are related, but we can’t be sure until thorough investigations are performed—and quickly.  Until that is done, the airlines, the engine manufacturers, and the relevant government agencies should take whatever steps are necessary to protect the flying public—including grounding.

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