Boeing 787 Engine Failure Sparks Fire at Charleston Airport

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Air India 787
The first Air India Boeing 787 sits on display after rolling out of the manufacturer's Charleston, S.C., factory on April 27. (Photo: Boeing)
July 30, 2012, 9:35 AM

Another Boeing 787 engine problem—this time involving a General Electric GEnx turbofan in an airplane destined for Air India—sparked a grass fire at Charleston International Airport during a pre-flight test on Saturday, forcing the airport to close its main runway for more than an hour. The contained engine failure has prompted an investigation by the NTSB, Boeing and GE, maker of the engine now in service with Japan Airlines on four 787s.

Evidence so far points to a failure in the “back end” of the engine, specifically in the area of the low-pressure turbine. “GE Aviation continues to work with the NTSB and Boeing to determine the cause of Saturday’s incident during a ground-test run in Charleston on a newly built 787,” said the engine company in a statement sent to AIN. “GE is working aggressively to move the engine involved in the incident to a GE facility for an investigative tear-down.”

The incident involved the second of three 787s that have rolled off Boeing’s new assembly line in Charleston, South Carolina. It came roughly a week after Japan’s All Nippon Airways had to ground its five Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787s following the manufacturer’s discovery of corrosion in a crown gear within an external gearbox during product development testing.

ANA has since returned four of its five airplanes to service, and plans to redeploy the fifth early this week.

 

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jo
on July 30, 2012 - 3:25pm

these delays which are causing billions of dollars and delays would not have happened if the planes were buit in washington state where the workers have 1st hand knowledge and expertise!!!! you get what you pay for!!!!!

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NoUnion
on July 30, 2012 - 4:37pm

It's funny how you can bash the workers there when they haven't even determined the cause. I find your sense of entitlement funny.

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NoUnion
on July 30, 2012 - 4:59pm

If I'm not mistaken the first 4 years of delays all happened while the plane was still in Washington state. The Charleston final assembly plant has only been up and running for a year. Did I miss something in that 3 year expertise gap???

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Lucy Bending
on July 31, 2012 - 8:17am

The 4 years of delays happened in large part from the supply base, including the plant in Charleston that has been open since 2006. Regardless, talking of delay is off topic as others have noted the engines are not built in either final assy plant.

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wpp105
on August 1, 2012 - 12:28pm

Boeing doesn't build the engine. They just hang it on the wing.
GE designed and built it in an Ohio union factory.
It’s very unsettling that there is a major engine failure so soon in a new engine program.

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MEB
on July 31, 2012 - 12:23am

This appears to be all GE and has nothing to do with a union or non-union facility. Let the investigation run its course and see what the next step is.

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sandgate
on July 31, 2012 - 7:31am

As stated above, the problem here seems to centre on the GE engine, and is nothing to do with the airframe itself or where it was built. Remember - all Boeing aircraft - for many years now have been built around the globe. I visit Korean Air Manufacturing and see the whole nose assemblies back to the rear of the entry door being manufactured - right next to flight control surfaces for the B777 and also Airbus, all with no problems. Large parts of Boeing and Airbus aircraft have been built around the globe for many years - it's not a secret - they just don't advertise it!Washington State does not have the monopoly on aircraft manufacturing expertise by a long shot, and recent years have indicated it has even less aircraft manufacturing management expertise!
It's GE's issue - let GE sort it.

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wildblue
on August 9, 2012 - 5:43pm

Guys and Gals (if applicable) give it a rest, the 747 and L1011 had horrific engine problems early in the program. Both Eastern Air Lines, Pan AM and TWA suffered during this period. At one time the fan section of the Roles Royce engine were limited to 100 cycles and then had to be changed. There were scores of delivered L-1011's parked with no engines until the Fans were changed. There is an understandable learning curve that occurs early in a program that is cutting edge in spite of everyones best efforts. Such is the nature of mechanical devices.
The finger pointing is out of place since we don't know at this point why this happened.

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Gonpher Coughy
on August 25, 2012 - 4:59pm

It is interesting to note that a UNION member started the finger pointing yet hasn't offered an apology for their uninformed, unintelligent and rash comment. All their action does is to foster the notion that all union members are thugs and troublemakers.

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Bob
on October 14, 2012 - 5:53pm

Mr Non-Union Basher,

Not only does Boeing not manufacture the engine (it is built by GE), the said engine is built in a by a "UNION-ized" GE plant. Could I counter your false statement with a hypothesis that the Union folks who designed and built the faulty engine may be too complacent in their "cushy" jobs and overlooked details which non-union workers may have avoided??

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