Rolls-Royce investigating Trent 1000 engine failure

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A Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 powerplant, which powers the Boeing 787, has suffered a failure during a routine test at the company's Derby, UK facility, prompting an investigation into the incident's cause.

Rolls-Royce says: "We have had an engine failure on a test bed in Derby. We are now investigating in detail and have made good progress in understanding the issue. We do not anticipate any impact on the programme."

Boeing's 787 flight test campaign has continued unabated.

Industry sources say the failure, which is believed to have been uncontained, occurred in early August on a production 'Package A' model Trent 1000 engine that will power early 787-8 aircraft for launch customer All Nippon Airways, and has been initially traced to the single-stage intermediate pressure (IP) turbine. The IP turbine in conjunction with the IP compressor supplies the electrical power for the 787's systems.

"A modification is already in place for later engines," says Rolls-Royce.

The manufacturer will introduce a host of improvements with its Trent 1000 'Package B' engines, which will be test flown and certified later this year on Boeing's fourth 787 flight test aircraft, ZA004.

Rolls-Royce utilises a three-shaft design on many of its Trent family engines to optimise the speed of the fan in relation to the engine's core.

Boeing says Trent 1000 production engines have not yet been delivered to final assembly in Everett, Washington.

Boeing offers a choice of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx-1B engines for its mid-size long-range twin-engine 787.

First delivery to ANA is expected by year-end; however, Boeing has indicated this target could slip to early 2011.