Germany has grounded the first two A400Ms that it received after excessive engine wear was found. The third aircraft is still operational, although that aircraft’s engines have reportedly been affected also. Source: Airbus DS
Germany has grounded two of the three Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A400M transport aircraft that it has so far received following the discovery of excessive engine wear, national media disclosed on 30 June.
Flight operations of aircraft 54-01 and 54-02 – the first two received in December 2014 and December 2015 – have been temporarily suspended after inspections found heavy engine wear after only 365 and 189 hours of operations respectively, Der Spiegel reported, adding that engine wear on the third aircraft, 54-03, had also been identified.
This issue is likely to be connected to problems that were identified with the EuroProp International (EPI) TP400-D6 engine earlier this year. In April it was reported that engines were being affected by excessive abrasive wear and heat resistance. It was noted that parts of the engine were struggling to stand up to the extreme temperatures, with individual components found to be flawed. A UK Royal Air Force aircraft suffered an in-flight engine shutdown as an apparent result of these issues.
At that time Airbus DS said that it was working hard to solve the issue of excessive abrasive wear, noting that it “has no impact on the security of the plane”.
It is understood that the issue has been isolated to the propeller gear-box (PGB); the part that converts the rotating high-speed motion of the engine into a slower speed motion for the propeller. A significant number of engines that are both on the final assembly line (FAL) and in service have had to be replaced because of quality issues, though the issue affects only gearboxes with a clockwise rotation.
EPI has performed an analysis of the issue, identified the root cause, and developed a procedure whereby each gearbox is inspected every 200 hours. If a crack is found the gearbox is then inspected every 20 hours after that to keep the aircraft that have been delivered flying.
EuroProp International (EPI) TP400-D6 engine
TP400-D6 engine – Image @mechanicalproducts.blogspot.comTP400-D6 engine – Image @itp.esImage @flightglobal.com
- Power range in excess of 11,000 shp
- Low risk design and life cycle cost
- Low susceptibility to FOD and erosion
- Ample growth potential
The TP400-D6 is a collaborative engine between Rolls-Royce, MTU, Snecma and ITP. The engine was designed to fulfil the European Staff Requirements (ESR) for the A400M military transport, an aircraft used for peacekeeping missions abroad.
Within the collaboration, Rolls-Royce areas of responsibility include overall engine performance, Air & Oil systems, Intermediate casing, 6-stage High Pressure Compressor and the Low Pressure shaft.
Rolls-Royce is contracted to development and production of more than 750 engines for the A400M fleets of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg, and the production of additional engines for potential export customers.
|Basic weight (lb)||4,026|
|Turbine||1HP, 1IP, 3LP|
|Applications||Airbus Military A400M|
*Technical data (ISA SLS)
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