FAA orders inspections on 13 A380 engines after shutdown in Australia

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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will order that 13 Engine Alliance GP7200s in the Airbus A380 fleet must be inspected after another engine sharing the same early design of a high pressure turbine nozzle failed over Australia two months ago.

An airworthiness directive to be published on 28 January will require airlines to perform borescope inspections on the 13 GP7200s still flying with General Electric's (GE's) original configuration of the stage 2 nozzle in the high pressure turbine.

The borescope configuration may reveal that the engine also needs to upgraded to the latest configuration of the nozzle.

The Engine Alliance, a GE and Pratt & Whitney joint venture, redesigned the stage 2 nozzles in 2010 to improve durability with an improved cooling system, GE says.

Of the 40 engines delivered with the original design, only 13 have not been upgraded to the new cooling system.

On 11 November, another engine lacking the updated design was involved in an incident on board an Emirates A380 while climbing from Sydney International Airport. The crew received "abnormal engine indications" in the No. 3 engine, which shut down automatically, according to a summary published by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). The A380 crew dumped fuel and returned to Sydney to land.

The incident remains under investigation and is scheduled to be complete next month, according to the ATSB web site.