TAM trials Shell's new engine oil

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Shell has revealed that Brazil's TAM is testing its 'Ascender' engine oil on commercial flights with two International Aero Engine V2500-powered Airbus A319s.

The lubricant has been used in the Number 2 (right-hand) engines of the two narrowbody aircraft since December.

The airline now plans to test the oil also on CFM International CFM56 engines but is awaiting approval from the engine manufacturer. This is expected to come before the end of the year, according to Paulo Meneghel, powerplant engineering manager at TAM.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has so far approved the lubricant for use only on V2500 engines. That clearance was granted in late 2009 after extensive endurance testing.

Shell says that the oil is the most rigorously tested in its history.

The company developed the lubricant in response to ever increasing engine operating temperatures, higher run times between overhauls and to improve compatibility with elastomer engine seals.