After finding several passenger aircraft engines with damaged and missing parts, safety officials have urged the Federal Aviation Administration to order inspections of similar engines, particularly those long in service. The PW2037 engines currently are used in 725 Boeing 757 jetliners, according to Pratt & Whitney, their manufacturer. The National Transportation Safety Board, in a letter to the FAA seeking the inspections, cited concerns that pieces of the engine could penetrate fuel tanks, causing a leak and fire. The safety board wrote Robert Sturgell, the FAA’s acting administrator, saying that “Information gathered to date has raised serious concerns that warrant immediate action by the FAA.”
The safety board began examining the engines after Delta Air Lines pilots reported hearing a loud bang during a takeoff roll at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport on August 6th. The board said the pilots noticed one engine lost power before they slowed the plane and returned to the parking area. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries to the 166 passengers or six crew members. An investigation turned up several broken, cracked or missing lugs that hold turbine blades, as well as damaged blades in the jet’s engine, according to the NTSB letter. The board found similar problems in an American Airlines jetliner with the same PW2037 engine. The NTSB has learned that damaged lugs also have been found in four other PW2037 engines.
According to the FAA, the agency was aware of the problem and was working with Pratt & Whitney. However, at press time no decision had been made about whether to order inspections of PW2037 engines. Apparently, the FAA is trying to figure out if it needs to order the inspections of all PW2037 engines, or only engines made during a specific time period. Pratt & Whitney says it is “involved in the investigation” and that it is “fully cooperating with the NTSB and Delta Air Lines.” The Boeing 757 is a twin-engine short-to-medium-range jetliner manufactured for 23 years until November 2005. There are still more then 1,030 of the airliners in service, according to Boeing’s website.
Source: Associated Press
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