NTSB Takes Aim at Engine Certification Standards

 - April 4, 2007, 12:35 PM

The simultaneous dual flameout of a Garuda Indonesia Airlines 737 and its subsequent ditching on Jan. 16, 2002, has led the NTSB to issue two recommendations targeting FAA turbofan rain and hail ingestion engine certification standards. The CFM56-3-B1 engines failed when the aircraft flew through a thunderstorm and encountered “extremely heavy” precipitation and hail on the approach. The crew reportedly made three attempts to restart the engines before they ditched the airliner into the waters off Java Island, killing a flight attendant. While the Safety Board noted that several previous flameouts of CFM56 engines led to revised engine certification standards in 1998 and an AD in 1993, it said that in the 2002 accident the hail “exceeded current certification levels for hail ingestion.” As a result of this recent accident, an FAA/industry study was initiated last year to review the current certification standards for rain and hail ingestion. However, because it has been more than three years since the accident and “significant analysis” has yet to be done by the study group, the NTSB has asked the FAA to complete the study and “if necessary, revise the standards.”