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Thursday, August 9, 2012

NTSB: Fractured Fan Shaft Led to Boeing 787 Engine Failure

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Wednesday said that a fractured fan on a mid-shaft lead to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner engine failure during a pre-delivery taxi test in South Carolina last week.

“As a result of the investigative work to date, the NTSB has determined that a fan mid-shaft on the failed GEnx engine fractured at the forward end of the shaft, rear of the threads where the retaining nut is installed. The fan mid-shaft is undergoing several detailed examinations including dimensional and metallurgical inspections,” NTSB said in a statement.

The engine failure originally occurred on July 28th at Charleston International Airport, and caused debris from the aircraft to fall onto the runway which sparked a fire in the nearby grass. 

Experts from the NTSB, FAA, Boeing and GE Aviation examined the failed GEnx engine and found that the fan on the mid-shaft at the forward end of the engine fractured during the preflight runway testing. The investigation is ongoing, as the team continues dimensional and metallurgical inspections on the engine to determine if the fracture was caused by a design problem or a manufacturing error.

There are a total of 80 Boeing 787s with the GEnx engines that are currently in service for airlines around the world. Those will continue operating while the investigation continues.

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