Reports of six uncontained turbine-wheel separations attributed to fatigue damage have prompted a proposed AD to require replacing certain turbine stator assemblies on Honeywell TPE331 turboprops. The directive would affect 2,350 engines installed on U.S.-registered aircraft at an estimated cost of approximately $8,200 per engine.
The efficiency of the gas turbine engines that power today’s commercial and military aircraft is approaching the highest level possible with current turbofans. But a totally new technology being pioneered by GE Aviation and researchers worldwide promises far simpler, more efficient engines that will extend aircraft range, cut fuel costs and reduce emissions.
Boeing 747-132, over Lake Michigan, Oct. 20, 2004–The Safety Board attributed the separation of the cargo 747’s number-one engine from its mounts to the uncontained separation of a portion of the second-stage turbine disk rim after the second-stage turbine vanes contacted the disk, due to the operator’s inadequate inspection of the high-pressure turbine module and the improper repair of the module.
FH1100 Manufacturing will offer all-turbine pilot training in the Florida panhandle beginning in May. Course content will range from ab initio through commercial and CFI-I. The commercial pilot curriculum can be tailored to individual pilot needs, will include training in elevated platform operations for potential offshore pilots and–at advanced levels–external load training might also be offered.
Beginning next month, engine manufacturers seeking FAA type certification for new turbine designs with inlet areas greater than 2.5 square meters (roughly 27 sq ft) will have to pass more stringent bird-ingestion tests. The amended rule–already accepted by the EASA–formalizes standards that the industry has already largely adopted, according to Marc Bouthillier of the FAA’s engine and propeller directorate.
A Petroleum Helicopters Bell 407 ditched into the Gulf of Mexico on August 16 after an apparent catastrophic engine failure. The pilot and a sole passenger escaped without injury after autorotating and deploying pop-out floats. The wreckage was recovered and a subsequent NTSB examination revealed “an uncontained engine failure near the third-stage turbine wheel” followed by the failure of the first-stage turbine wheel.
When Honeywell announced at last year’s NBAA Convention in Orlando its intention to build the HTF10000, a 10,000-pound-thrust turbofan engine for super-midsize to large business jets, its Tech 7000 engine demonstrator was in test with a variety of technologies running.
The FAA has issued two new final rule amendments covering FAR Part 33 turbine engine certification standards.
Cessna 208B Caravan, Globe, Ariz., July 22, 2005–The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the crash of Caravan N717BT was the fatigue failure of the compressor turbine stator vane, the liberation of vane material into the compressor turbine (damaging the turbine blades downstream) and the total loss of engine power.
German-based MTU Aero Engines is to build a new low-pressure turbine factory in Rzeszów, southeast Poland. MTU Aero Engines Polska will develop and produce rotor and stator blades for low-pressure turbines as well as assemble those turbines. It will also repair parts. Construction will start this fall and will launch production early in 2009. MTU will invest €50 million ($65 million) over three years.