Rolls-Royce is reviewing the design of some components of the Trent 700 engine, following a probe into a birdstrike and engine failure involving an AirAsia X A330-300 on 3 July 2017.

The A330, registered 9M-XXT, was taking off from Gold Coast airport enroute to Kuala Lumpur when its starboard engine ingested three small birds, causing it to stall and fail. Cabin crew reported a starboard engine fire to the pilots, and the crew carried out their procedures, including discharging the fire suppression system.

The crew made a mayday call and diverted to Brisbane airport, where it made an overweight, single-engine landing. The A330 landed safely, and no injuries to the 12 crew and 345 passengers were reported.

In its final report on the incident, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) found that the birdstrike caused the release of a small section of a fan blade. This resulted in it running out of balance while at take-off thrust, causing major vibration and the outboard section of the fan rear seal to be released, significantly damaging the engine compressors.

Around the same time, an oil leak started from a bolt unwinding in the affected engine, resulting in the engine fire.

“This fire caused failure and melting of aluminium alloy components in this cavity but was not sufficient to affect the structural engine parts made from materials with higher melting points that were in the same region,” the ATSB says.

R-R met with the European Aviation Safety Agency to discuss the matter following the incident. The ATSB says the manufacturer “will review the design of the fan rear seal and the low pressure roller bearing bolts to determine if there is a feasible solution to prevent the loss of a small section of fan blade leading imminently to an engine shutdown”.

In its final comment, the ATSB says the incident highlights the importance of effective crew resource management, and the benefit of regular proficiency checks in the simulator in allowing them to handle emergency situations.

Source: Cirium Dashboard