Federal safety investigators say an engine disk that broke apart just before an American Airlines plane took off at Chicago O’Hare International Airport last week shows signs of fatigue cracking.
“A high-pressure turbine disk in the Boeing 767’s right engine broke into four pieces, which shot out of the engine’s housing,” the Associated Press reported, citing the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report of the Oct. 28 incident.
An analysis of the fragmented disk, 90 percent of which investigators have recovered, showed evidence of an irregularity where the fatigue cracking began, the NTSB said. Investigators haven’t determined what precisely caused the cracking, but they are conducting metallurgical tests on the fragments.
American Airlines Flight 383 bound for Miami was carrying 161 passengers and nine crew members when the “uncontained engine failure” occurred, followed by a jet fuel-fed fire that consumed the right side of the aircraft. Everyone aboard the airplane was safely evacuated. Twenty-one people were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Engine failures of this type are rare and serious occurrences that cause extensive damage to the aircraft. NTSB investigators have identified three previous uncontained engine failures in commercial airliners with the same family of General Electric engine as the engines on American Airlines Flight 383: Two in the U.S. in 2000 and 2006 and one in New Zealand in 2006.
Lorenda Ward, senior NTSB investigator in charge of the investigation, said in a press conference that parts of the engine were blown 2,000-3,000 feet away from the aircraft, including a metal fragment that crashed through the roof of a UPS facility.
Source: Associated Press