The Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirmed the potential existence of a manufacturing problem in Rolls-Royce Trent 900s fitted to some Airbus A380s in a safety recommendation it issued today. The recommendation identifies a potential defect in an oil tube connection to the high-pressure (HP)/intermediate-pressure (IP) bearing structure.
The ATSB suspects the cause to involve a misaligned oil pipe counter-boring, which could lead to fatigue cracking, oil leakage and potential engine failure from an oil fire within the HP/IP bearing buffer space. Both Rolls-Royce and the Australian authorities have recommended further inspection of the engines and removal from service of any engine that displays the suspected counter-boring problem.
The ATSB tomorrow plans to release its preliminary factual report on the November 4 uncontained failure of a Trent 900 on a Qantas A380 bound for Sydney from Singapore. Qantas placed two of its six A380s back into service on November 27. The rest of the fleet remains grounded as the airline scrambles to replace engines with suspected defects.