FAA unlikely to recertify PW4000 powered B777-200s without strengthening cowling
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson says the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will require Boeing 777-200 aircraft with Pratt & Whitney engines to strengthen the cowling and structure around the engine to prevent any similar incidents to the one in February near Denver.
The timing of the requirements and release of an airworthiness directive will be dependent on engineering and design work that will need to be reviewed and approved by FAA. FAA and Boeing are working together to ensure “the structure around the engine, the cowling and the inlet area, does not damage the aircraft structure,” Dickson said at a U. S. House committee meeting.
A United 777 with a PW4000 engine failed shortly after takeoff from Denver on Feb. 20, showering debris over nearby cities. The aircraft was able to return to the airport with no injuries.
At the time, FAA ordered inspections of 777 planes with PW4000 engines, after the NTSB saw cracked fan blades on the United engine and determined they could be due to metal fatigue.
PW4000-powered B777-200s unlikely to fly before 2022
by ch-aviation Sept 1, 2021
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is unlikely to recertify Pratt & Whitney PW4000-powered B777s for revenue operations before early 2022, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
While the FAA would not comment on the ongoing work, it is expected to conclude its investigation into a February 2020 incident within a few weeks. Given an engine blade failure caused an uncontained engine failure and fire during a B777-200‘s climb out from Denver Int’l, the regulator will likely mandate additional requirements for the powerplants which could entail both a revised inspection routine and physical changes to engine covers. Implementing the changes is expected to take longer than previously anticipated, however.
“We are working closely with the FAA, our customers and Pratt & Whitney to safely return PW4000-112-powered B777 airplanes to service. We have identified design changes and are working to finalize them, including a robust certification effort,” Boeing told Reuters in a statement.
The ongoing grounding is a particular nuisance to United Airlines, the only operator of the PW4000-powered B777-200s and B777-200(ER)s in the United States. In contrast to JAL – Japan Airlines, which retired all affected aircraft shortly after the February grounding and ANA – All Nippon Airwayswhich retired most, United Airlines is committed to returning them to service for trunk hub-to-hub domestic services in the US, as well as flights to Hawaii.
Other operators of PW4000-powered B777s include Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, and Korean Air, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows. Ukraine International Airlines has a single such aircraft but is unlikely to return it to service due to its general fleet cuts.