EASA issues EAD regarding A320 Neo and A321 Neo engines, withdraws ETOPS with immediate effect

Last Update: February 13, 2018 / 07:20:06 GMT/Zulu time

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The European Aviation Safety Agency issued Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) 2018-0041-E concerning all PW1127, PW1130 and PW1133 engines with high pressure compressor aft hub modification embodied from ESN P770450. The EAD effectively withdraws ETOPS certification for all affected engines with immediate effect and prohibits operation of A320 Neo and A321 Neo aircraft with two affected engines installed.

EASA argues:

Several occurrences of engine in-flight shut-down (IFSD) and Rejected Take-Off (RTO) have been reported on certain Airbus A320neo family aeroplanes. While investigation is ongoing to determine the root cause, preliminary findings indicate that the affected engines, which have high pressure compressor aft hub modification embodied from ESN P770450, are more susceptible to IFSD.

This condition, if not corrected, could lead to dual engine IFSD.

EASA imposes following restrictions with the EAD:

(1) Within 3 flight cycles (FC) from the effective date of this AD, do not operate an aeroplane having two affected engines installed.

(2) Within 1 FC from the effective date of this AD, for an aeroplane having at least one affected engine(s) installed, ETOPS operations are not allowed.

(3) Inserting a copy of this AD in the ETOPS Configuration, Maintenance and Procedures (CMP) of concerned aeroplane models and, thereafter, operating that aeroplane on ETOPS accordingly, is acceptable to comply with paragraph (2) of this AD.

On Feb 13th 2018 The Aviation Herald received information about a Communication to All Operators transmitted by Pratt & Whitney (PW) on Feb 9th 2018 obviously detailing the backgrounds leading to the EAD. The letter states, that there had been two rejected takeoffs, one on Jan 11th 2018 and one on Feb 1st 2018, and two inflight shut downs, one on Jan 29th 2018 and one on Feb 4th 2018, leading to the EAD. The letter states:

The purpose of this communication is to inform the fleet about recent Inflight Shut Down and Aborted Takeoff events and fleet management plan for aircraft equipped with engine serial numbers P770450 and above. Recently four PW1100G-JM A320neo engines experienced in-service events which included 2 IFSDs and 2 Aborted Takeoffs. All four engines experienced a sudden increase in high rotor vibration and a stall.

The engines from these events are confirmed to have similar damage in the High Pressure Compressor (HPC), specifically a fracture of the knife edges of the rear hub. The investigation of these events is focused on a configuration change incorporated at serial number P770450.

Editorial note: due to a misunderstanding with our source, who meant to identify only the specific event of Feb 5th 2018 (UTC) while the AVH was discussing the EAD and thus believed our source meant the letter to be applied to the EAD, we erroneously referenced the letter of Feb 7th 2018 identifying a blade coating issue here (reference removed on Feb 13th 2018 after the misunderstanding was clarified).
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This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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