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“Engine Failure.” … Caused By What, Exactly? UPDATE

2010/11/05

“Engine Failure”, they say.  Right.

UPDATE: Here is a quick search.

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Dead-center: Breached pressure chamber

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In the center is an enlargement of the exterior of the exposed pressure chamber of the turbine assembly: Note what appears to be a torn aperture and its folded metal behind, immediately to the right.

Via WaPo: Qantas says design, manufacture are suspect in Rolls-Royce engine failure
By Rohan Sullivan and Vijay Joshi
Saturday, November 6, 2010

SYDNEY – Qantas thinks the engine that blew apart on the world’s largest jetliner was probably designed or built incorrectly, the Australian airline’s chief executive said Friday, focusing attention on the engine’s manufacturer, Rolls-Royce.

“We don’t believe this is related to maintenance in any way,” CEO Alan Joyce said.

Quick summary of what’s being said:  The explanation is that a compressor turbine blade tore loose and busted it’s way through the pressure wall. THAT would do it. ‘Tis rare enough that a blade breaks… almost unheard-of that a free blade smashes through. The typical path is out the back with the exhaust pressure.  [Note:  Some engines, such as the turbines on the A-10 Warthog, are specifically designed to contain and expel broken blades and invading material. – Ed.]

Thanks and prayers for the plane’s safe landing and all safe.

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Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images "Engine" Failure.

. . .

I’m reminded that the USS Cole suffered “Hull Failure”

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Note, too, that World Trade Center Tower 2 suffered “Structural Failure.”

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AP Photo, 2001

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How many engines have to accidentally “fail”?

One of the two General Electric CF-6 engines on the plane fell off and landed in the parking lot of a gas station, according to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who added that one wing of the plane was pulled from the bay and that the engine had fallen and landed separately.

For the record, I truly hope that this turns out to be a maintenance error and nothing more serious. Something tells me that it ain’t a Rolls-Royce design issue.

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