Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Foreign object may have stalled aircraft engine

Kolkata: A team, comprising officials from regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation, carrier IndiGo Airlines, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney and aircraft maker Airbus SE investigating the engine failure in flight 6E 616 on Monday afternoon, will look for foreign objects or problem in an internal component to ascertain what caused the right engine to stall within minutes of takeoff.
Aviation industry experts told TOI that one of the two likely reasons for the failure could be problems with the engine core orinternal component, which led to compressor stall. The other reason could be that a foreign object entered the engine and damaged the fan blades. "At times, a damage caused by the entry of a foreign object goes undetected till vibrations occur and alert the pilots," a veteran pilot said.
Whatever the case, everyone is relieved the pilots in the cockpit acted exactly as they had been trained. They switched off the engine, flew on one engine to turn the aircraft around and made the approach to land safely. "The engine stall on Monday happened at the most critical phase of a flight: takeoff. At that point, the thrust of both engines is at maximum. Hence, if one engine fails, the differential thrust is the highest, making it difficult for the pilots to control the aircraft which tends to veer to the side in which the engine has stalled. Also, the aircraft at that point is close to the ground and requires to fly over obstacles. Since the challenges are multi-dimensional, every pilot training schedule includes engine failure during takeoff," said another pilot.
The P&W engine in the A320 Neo already had starting problems which kept several aircraft grounded till premature wear in two engine parts was remedied. On occasions, the engine took time to start. Carriers IndiGo and Go Air which opted for the engines to power the A320 Neos were compensated handsomely by P&W as it rectified the errors.
31/01/18 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India