A new report from Rolls Royce could now lead to additional inspections on the Airbus A350-900. The MRO Network reports that high-stress conditions can reduce the service life of the engine mounts, specifically on the Airbus A350-900.
The new EASA directive
This comes in the form of an airworthiness directive. The European Aviation Safety Agency, or EASA, proposed an order for inspections on key engine parts. However, the directive would only impact Airbus A350-900s and not the larger A350-1000s.
Using advanced modeling techniques and analysis, conditions that can adversely affect the service life of the component were clear. The deadlines for the checks would require engines under 1,700 cycles to be checked within 300 cycles. On the other hand, engines with over 1,700 cycles would have to be inspected either within 300 cycles or else every eight months, depending on which comes first. Either way, follow-up checks are required every 1,000 cycles.
UPDATE on August 18, 2019- Rolls Royce provided Simple Flying the following statement:
This is an entirely precautionary advisory document, to ensure that there is no possibility of a sequence of events occurring that could affect safety. Our analysis is that the likelihood of an incident, as described in the directive, is incredibly small and has in fact never happened in the history of our Trent or previous RB211 engines
Rolls Royce engine troubles
Rolls Royce has had some issues with their Trent 1000 engines. However, those issues are different from the ones outlined in the A350-900 engines. Based on the directive, it does not seem like the engine itself needs to be replaced. Nevertheless, it is something for Rolls Royce to keep their eye on. Whether or not their newer technology will be used for maintenance and inspections on the aircraft is yet to be made known.
It is also worth pointing out that only engines on the A350-900 are affected. No other aircraft models seem to have this new issue.
What comes next?
Based on the public information, it is unlikely that the A350-900 will face a worldwide grounding. No other major civil aviation regulatory bodies have identified concerns with the A350-900, however, they are likely to take notice of this issue.
Airlines will have to inspect their A350-900s more thoroughly in terms of the engine mount, but it does not seem that passenger operations will be majorly impacted by such inspections. Thus, it seems likely that A350-900 operations will continue as normal.
At the end of the day, this is an issue for airlines to be watchful of. Engine troubles can be quite damaging. So long as there are no other major concerns, the A350 will likely remain in operation.
What do you think of the engine mount issues? Let us know in the comments!
Simple Flying reached out to Airbus and Rolls Royce. However, we did not receive a response in time for publication. The article will be updated once responses have been received.