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B.a. 777 On Fire At Las Vegas Mccarron


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The NTSB is calling it an uncontained engine failure. Nothing more specific yet. This is the GE-90-85 engine. BA had another serious failure with this type in 2004.

The -85 engine and -110/115 have had similar problems and previous ADs. The maintenance history on this specific BA 777 engine may reveal some clues as to why it came apart. The NTSB has stated they found parts of turbine blades on the runway at LAS.

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September 16, 2015

The National Transportation Safety Board's investigation of last week's engine fire on a British Airways flight from Las Vegas to London is focusing on the disintegration of an engine in a circumstance regulators had warned about in a directive issued in 2011.

In an update issued by the board, investigators said they collected several 7 to 8-inch pieces of an engine's high-pressure compressor spool from the McCarran International Airport runway where Flight 2276 aborted a takeoff last Tuesday afternoon.

Several minor injuries were reported to several of the 158 passengers and 13 crew members who escaped from the burning Boeing 777-200ER jet after the incident.

The NTSB, which investigates transportation accidents and incidents, reported collecting the plane's flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder and quick-access recorder to download into the agency's vehicle recorder laboratory.

On Tuesday evening after the incident that occurred just after 4 p.m., the twin-engine jet was photographed and the runway debris documented by Federal Aviation Administration and airport officials. The plane was then towed to a secure area at McCarran in order to reopen the runway.

The NTSB's initial examination determined that the left engine and pylon, the left fuselage structure and the inboard left wing were substantially damaged by the fire and an examination of the engine showed multiple breaches of the engine case in the area around the high-pressure compressor.

Under study is why the engine housing didn't contain the debris or eject it out of the back of the engine. Modern jet engines are designed to prevent shrapnel from penetrating the cabin or damaging the wings. Incidents like last week's failure are considered extremely rare.

Aviation officials credited fast action by McCarran's fire suppression crews and the speedy evacuation of the jet to averting a major tragedy.

The agency is expected to review maintenance records to determine whether the engine failure was related to conditions noted in an airworthiness directive issued by the FAA in August 2011.

The directive applies to five models of General Electric turbofan engines prompted by cracks discovered in weld points of compressor spools that authorities believed could result in an engine failure and damage to an aircraft.

The directive recommended additional inspections of the engines every 48,000 hours or 6,000 cycles.

The FAA estimated that the directive would affect 33 engines installed on planes with U.S. registry and take about two hours to perform. With an average labor rate of $85 an hour, the agency estimated the cost of the directive to be $5,610 per inspection cycle.

There are currently 422 Boeing 777-200ER jets in service with 33 airlines worldwide.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Latest update from the FAA

For our AME's to comment on.

NTSB Issues Second Update on British Airways Engine Fire at Las Vegas

Oct. 6, 2015

As part of its ongoing investigation into the September 8, 2015, engine fire during takeoff of British Airways flight 2276, a Boeing 777, at McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, the NTSB today released the following investigative update.

• Investigators disassembled and documented the GE90 engine at the GE facility in Evandale, Ohio. Group members from the FAA, GE, and Boeing, along with the United Kingdom’s accredited representative from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and their technical advisor, British Airways, were in attendance.

• Engine examination revealed that a portion of the stage 8-10 spool in the high-pressure compressor (HPC) section had failed, liberating fragments that breached the engine case and cowling. Additional pieces of the HPC spool were recovered from inside the engine and retained for metallurgical examination.

• The NTSB Materials Laboratory examined engine parts gathered from the scene.

• HPC parts recovered during the disassembly of the engine were examined at the GE facility.

• All pieces of the damaged stage 8 disk rim have been collected.

• The fracture initiated in the HPC stage 8 disk web, a part of the stage 8-10 spool. The NTSB will continue metallurgical evaluations of the disk and the fracture features.

• GE is performing high-priority, focused inspections of HPC hardware from other GE90 engines. The inspection data is being gathered to support the investigation and to determine further investigative actions.

Additional updates will be provided as new factual information is developed.

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Well, I'm not an AME but none of the info in the NTSB report is surprising or unexpected. A failure like this one is almost always due to a metallurgical failure. I can't recall one ever having been caused by some error in routine maintenance.

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This type of failure reminds one of United 232 and the disintegration of the fan disc from a manufacturing flaw in the titanium ingot many years previous...

I tried to find the routing of the fuel line around the GE but in the short time couldn't find a detailed drawing - the interest is in how the fire was initiated and how/why is spread so swiftly. Was it kerosene-fed or was the "fuel" part of the structure, and engine oil, etc.?

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from another site

The Commander asked him to go back into the cabin to check on what was happening. The RTO was at around <70kts and they had shutdown and firing of the bottles was complete. They were running the checklist and starting the APU when the RP came back up say there was a significant fire outside the aircraft and this is when the evacuation was ordered. The fire was caused by a ruptured 2" fuel line and it had spilled about 40 Gal of fuel. Both the spar valve and engine firewall shut off worked as designed.​

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I think this incident demonstrates the value of external cameras in emergency circumstances. It worked out well here, but the time lost manually / physically investigating external problems on very large aircraft could make all the difference between a timely successful evacuation, or not.

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  • 2 months later...

Fire-damaged BA 777 to be repaired

  • 21 December, 2015

BY: David Kaminski-Morrow

London

British Airways is to repair and return to service the Boeing 777-200ER badly damaged during an engine fire in Las Vegas.

The aircraft is to undergo repairs at McCarran airport following the 8 September fire in the left-hand General Electric GE90 powerplant.

Boeing engineers have undertaken an inspection of the airframe and this examination has concluded that the damage was “limited” and “suitable for repair”, says the carrier.

“A team from Boeing will carry out the repair work, which will be certified to the same high standards as if the aircraft was brand new,” it adds.

BA has not given an estimate of the duration of the work. It says the twinjet “will resume flying once stringent checks have been completed”.

Its damaged engine has already been removed by the manufacturer and the powerplant will be replaced.

The aircraft (G-VIIO) is a 16-year old airframe.

Flight BA2276 had been bound for London Gatwick with 170 occupants. The aircraft was evacuated and none of those on board suffered serious injuries.

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Not 450, but 447!

On 12 January 2009, a Boeing 737-700 ...at FL150 in day VMC when there was a temporary loss of control during a planned system test...a successful recovery was eventually achieved after an altitude loss of over 9000 ft, during which various exceedences of the AFM Flight Envelope occurred. Recovery back to Southend as originally planned was achieved without further event.

"The control forces remained high but the commander considered this to be due to the aircraft’s speed, which he observed at a maximum of 447 kt."

A post flight inspection of the aircraft found no evidence of damage or deformation of the structure.

Link to Final Report

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Certified test pilots are only required for certification test flights that may require operation outside of the "normal" test envelope or include unusual attitudes or maneuvers.

Acceptance test flights are not "test" flights in that sense. All test performed on these flights are "normal" in that they are included as normal procedures or abnormal procedures in the AFM. This means that they can be performed by a qualified pilot.

Proper briefing of the required test should always be carried out and expectation of an abnormal result should always be considered.

These types of tests are performed to ensure that the maintenance performed has put the aircraft back into its original certified state. The Crew Chief from Maintenance should always be included as a member of the crew during such flights.

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Certified test pilots are only required for certification test flights that may require operation outside of the "normal" test envelope or include unusual attitudes or maneuvers.

Acceptance test flights are not "test" flights in that sense. All test performed on these flights are "normal" in that they are included as normal procedures or abnormal procedures in the AFM. This means that they can be performed by a qualified pilot.

Proper briefing of the required test should always be carried out and expectation of an abnormal result should always be considered.

These types of tests are performed to ensure that the maintenance performed has put the aircraft back into its original certified state. The Crew Chief from Maintenance should always be included as a member of the crew during such flights.

Is your post out of a manual and if so.....which one??

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The reason I asked was that a few years ago there was considerable interest in the subject of "functional check flights", which were generally defined as:

- flights after heavy maintenance

- flights after repair or replacement of major components

- flights after periods of storage

- flights for acceptance, delivery and lease/owner transfer.

FSF (Flight Safety Foundation) got aircraft manufacturers and some operators involved in a steering team and a subsequent symposium. The symposium presentations are available here:

http://flightsafety.org/aviation-safety-seminars/functional-check-flight-symposium-presentations

Everyone seemed to recognize the hazards of inexperienced, unprepared or rushed crews/flights. As you pointed out, Defcon, there are particular problems using management pilots. It seems that the initiative has "gone quiet" in the last few years so I wondered how the major Canadian airlines would approach the issue.

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Anyone who thinks that such test flights are routine has never flown a profile like the Air New Zealand crew were flying when they crashed an A320 at Perpignan. Yes they wandered quite far from the normal way of doing it, but the accident proved the importance of the safeguards, just in case. That accident helped many airlines to get a grip on their programs with pilots who've undergone special training and adopting tightly defined test profiles. I know that AC has such a program.

BTW, the slam against management pilots was uncalled for.

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