Honeywell To See Volcano Effects First-hand
Engineers at Honeywell’s Phoenix engine division have received two TPE331-5 turboprops removed from a Dornier Do-228 operated by the UK’s National Environment Research Council on flights into volcanic ash clouds resulting from the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull Volcano. The Dornier flew 10 hours in the heart of the ash cloud and 22 hours in the outer zone, although Honeywell is awaiting a full report on conditions encountered during the flights. Honeywell will first run the engines in a test cell to evaluate their performance, then do a borescope inspection to examine internal parts before full disassembly of the engines. “We’re going to try to understand, what [flying in volcanic ash] means operationally,” said Ron Rich, Honeywell vice president of propulsion systems. “We want to help operators understand the effects of flying in this environment and give guidance on what the operational rules ought to be.” The knowledge gained from examining the TPE331s, he added, “will have applicability to other Honeywell turbine engines.” The examination and teardown of the TPE331s should take about a month. “We look forward to what we’re going to discover here,” Rich said.