787 GEnx engine spews metal, sets grass on fire in South Carolina

A General Electric GEnx engine on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner conducting a high-speed taxi test in Charleston, S.C., USA, failed on July 28 and ejected metallic debris onto grass along the runway, setting it on fire. The engine has been sent to GE for evaluation.

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Debris blew out of the back of a General Electric Co. GEnx engine on a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner on July 28 as it conducted a high-speed taxi test in Charleston, S.C., USA, near Boeing's new factory there. The debris ignited a fire in the grass along the runway. There were no passengers onboard the plane except for flight crew and no one was injured.

Boeing is removing the engine from the plane and sending it to the GE Aviation facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, where it will be disassembled to find out why it malfunctioned. According to a report by news agency Bloomberg, a visual inspection showed that damage was limited to the back end of the engine and doesn’t indicate a fleet­wide problem, says Rick Kennedy, a spokesman for GE. According to the report, the cause is “far from being determined” because a team will have to tear the engine apart and examine it piece by piece, he said.

Reports indicate that the debris came from the low­-pressure turbine area at the rear of the engine, where the blades were damaged, Kennedy said. Bloomberg says tt was a contained failure, meaning parts didn’t pierce the engine casing and instead blew out the back and away from the plane as they’re designed to do.

There are about 80 GEnx engines flying now, mostly on 747-­8s. The model has about 125,000 flight hours in service so far, since both the 787 and 747­-8 reached their first customers late last year.

The plane involved in the incident hadn’t yet flown and was the second built at Boeing’s South Carolina plant, which opened last year. The National Transportation Safety Board reported on July 31 that it is sending an investigator to Cincinnati to gather information and understand the circumstances of the event.

Link to original Bloomberg report: www.bloomberg.com/news/2012‐07‐31/boeing‐dreamliner‐ge‐engine‐probed‐after‐jet‐spews‐debris.html

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