Pratt & Whitney’s GTF Woes Continue as Regulator Warns of Potential In-Flight Dual-Engine Shutdown
Pratt & Whitney’s GTF Woes Continue as Regulator Warns of Potential In-Flight Dual-Engine Shutdown
(Source: Forecast International; issued Feb 13, 2018)
by J. Kasper Oestergaard
On Friday, February 9, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive warning operators of a potential dual-engine in-flight shutdown on A320neo family jets powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G geared turbofan engine. Such a directive is issued when an unsafe condition exists that requires immediate action by an aircraft’s owner or operator.

The directive was issued in the wake of instances of in-flight shutdowns and aborted takeoffs. Pratt & Whitney issued a release Friday stating that the company, with the support of Airbus, is in close contact with customers to address the issue. According to Pratt & Whitney, the problem relates to the knife edge seal in the high-pressure compressor aft hub. The company also stated that the issue is isolated to “a limited subpopulation of engines.”

Airbus has issued an alert providing instructions to de-pair affected engines and discontinue extended-range twin-engine operations (ETOPS). Airbus has since decided to stop accepting further deliveries of PW1100G engines. According to Airbus, the issue can potentially appear on engines starting with serial number P770450. Around one-third of the in-service fleet of A320neo family jets is equipped with the PW1100G, and on 11 aircraft both engines were reported to have the problematic serial number; 21 jets have the serial number on one engine (43 affected engines in total). On Monday, 12 February, Pratt & Whitney said it was evaluating another 55 GTF engines.

One of the customers affected by the issue is Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo, which has grounded three A320neo aircraft. Also, Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement that it has identified an Airbus A321neo that may be impacted, and has removed the aircraft from service.

The issue is the latest in a string of problems that have dogged the GTF program and caused delivery delays for both the Airbus A320neo and Bombardier’s CSeries jet. As a result, buyers have flocked to CFM International and its competing LEAP-1A turbofan.

There are currently 113 GTF-powered A320neo jets flying with 18 customers. Since entering service in January 2016, GTF engines have logged more than 500,000 flight hours.

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Pratt & Whitney Update on PW1100G-JM Engine
(Source: Pratt & Whitney; issued Feb. 12, 2018)
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. --- Pratt & Whitney, with the support of Airbus, continues to evaluate the impact of findings last week relating to a knife edge seal on the High-Pressure Compressor (HPC) aft hub on a limited subpopulation of the PW1100G-JM engine that powers the Airbus A320neo aircraft.

Pratt & Whitney implemented an engineering change in mid-2017 that was intended to improve the durability of the knife edge seal for this engine. Engines that incorporated this engineering change entered revenue service on customer aircraft beginning in December 2017. In late January and early February of this year, four of these modified engines did not perform as anticipated.

Pratt & Whitney, in coordination with Airbus, will present to regulatory authorities this week a proposed mitigation plan for the modified configuration.

The current population of impacted engines is 43 engines installed on 32 aircraft, of which 21 aircraft have one engine with the modified configuration, and 11 aircraft have two engines with that configuration. There are also approximately 55 such engines delivered to the Airbus final assembly line awaiting installation on customer aircraft. Pratt & Whitney is working with Airbus to implement the remediation plans set forth in its all operator transmission.

The company is also working to assess an overall industrial and delivery plan to minimize customer disruption.

Pratt & Whitney will be in a position to provide greater detail around the remediation plan and impact, if any, on its 2018 delivery plan, once the regulatory authorities address its proposed solution.

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