UK-based engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce says a component failure caused the in-flight destruction of a Trent 900 engine on a Qantas Airbus A380 on 4 November.
“The failure was confined to a specific component in the turbine area of the engine,” the company says. “This caused an oil fire, which led to the release of the intermediate-pressure turbine disc.”
Qantas flight QF32 was forced to make an emergency landing after taking off from Singapore en route to Sydney. On landing back at Singapore’s Changi Airport, the aircraft was found to be missing the cowling from one of its engines. Debris from the Trent 900 was later found on the ground.
Immediately following this incident, a regime of engine checks was introduced on Trent 900s across the A380 fleet.
“These have been conducted in parallel with a rigorous examination of all available evidence, including data from the damaged engine and its monitoring system, analysis of recovered material and interrogation of the fleet history,” Rolls-Royce says. “Our process of inspection will continue and will be supplemented by the replacement of the relevant module according to an agreed programme”, aimed at bringing the entire A380 fleet back into service.
Rolls-Royce says it continues to work closely with the investigating authorities.
All current operators of Trent-powered A380s – Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa – have been exchanging engines on some aircraft in their fleets as a result of the inspections. Qantas grounded its entire fleet in the wake of the incident.