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Boeing 787 Dreamliner destined for Air India suffers serious engine mishap. NTSB to investigate

The second Boeing 787 Dreamliner to be built at the airframer’s Charleston, South Carolina facility suffered a serious engine mishap during pre-flight testing on the afternoon of Saturday. This aircraft is due to be delivered to national carrier Air India as VT-ANJ.

A Boeing spokesperson told Bangalore Aviation

“A 787 experienced an engine issue July 28 while undergoing preflight runway testing in North Charleston. As the NTSB investigates, Boeing and GE are working closely with the agency and are committed to resolving the issue appropriately.

While the investigation is in its early stages, we are unaware of any operational issue that would present concerns about the continued safe operation of in-service 787s powered by GE engines. However, should the investigation determine a need to act, Boeing has the processes in place to take action and will do so appropriately.”

Boeing 787 Dreamliner due to become N1015L, at India Aviation show, Hyderabad, March 2012.

As per The Post and Courier newspaper report

Debris from a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s engine fell onto the runway and into the grass at Charleston International Airport Saturday afternoon, sparking a fire, shutting down the airport and diverting flights for more than an hour.

The incident occurred around 16:00 local (01:30 IST). The Charleston airport spokesperson said “the airport closed around 4:30 p.m. and reopened at 5:41 p.m.”

The gravity of the incident is serious enough to merit an investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The aircraft is powered by the General Electric Co. GEnx engine. Japan Airlines is currently the only operator of GEnx powered 787s with four aircraft in its fleet. The only other operator of the 787, launch customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA), uses the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines.

Engine manufacturer GE released this statement to Bangalore Aviation

“During a ground test run in North Charleston on July 28, a GEnx-1B engine on a non-revenue generating Boeing 787 aircraft experienced an issue. No one was injured.

About 100 GEnx engines are in service, and they have accumulated more than 125,000 flight hours.

GE continually monitors and analyzes the performance of the GEnx fleet in service, and we are not aware of operational issues that would hazard the continued safe flight of aircraft powered by these engines.”

Boeing operates Dreamliner assembly lines in two locations, both in the US. Charleston in South Carolina and Everett in Washington. The Charleston facility rolled out its first 787 Dreamliner, also destined for Air India as VT-ANI, earlier this year, in April.

This incident comes within the week after ANA partially grounded some of its 787s after corrosion was found in its Trent 1000 engine gearbox components.

The GEnx engine is also used to power the newest version of the venerable Jumbo Jet, the 747-8.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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