FAA orders urgent engine fixes for Boeing 787 Dreamliners

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Describing it as an “urgent safety issue,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered modifications on specific General Electric GEnx-1B engines on some 787 Dreamliners because an icing problem could force those engines to shut down in flight. The issue affects 176 planes, 43 of which are operated by U.S. airlines to which the Directive applies.

Friday’s FAA airworthiness directive stems from a January 29 incident aboard a Japan Airlines 787 flying at about 20,000 feet, on which an engine failed mid-flight between Vancouver and Tokyo.

The FAA said it was ordering modifications that would prevent ice from accumulating on fan blades in GE’s GEnx engines, making them rub against the engine casing, which can cause “damage and a possible in-flight non-restartable power loss of one or both engines.”

The FAA also ordered Boeing to update the 787 flight manual to include procedures for ice removal within seven days of the order, which takes effect May 9.

The FAA Airworthiness Directive

SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for The Boeing Company Model 787-8 and 787-9 airplanes powered by General Electric (GE) GEnx-1B engines. This AD requires revising the airplane flight manual (AFM) to provide the flight crew a revised fan ice removal procedure and a new associated mandatory flight crew briefing to reduce the likelihood of engine damage due to fan ice shedding. This AD also removes certain dispatch relief. For airplanes with certain engines, this AD also requires reworking or replacing at least one engine. This AD was prompted by a recent engine fan blade rub event that caused an in-flight non-restartable power loss. We are issuing this AD to prevent susceptibility to heavy fan blade rubs, which could result in engine damage and a possible in-flight non-restartable power loss of one or both engines.

DATES: This AD is effective May 9, 2016. The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of May 9, 2016. The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain other publication listed in this AD as of March 18, 2016 (81 FR 14704, March 18, 2016). We must receive comments on this AD by June 6, 2016.

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