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Rolls-Royce prepares to test blade fix for Trent 1000s

Rolls-Royce is aiming to commence testing of a revised intermediate pressure compressor blade for troubled Trent 1000 engines next month, as it seeks to accelerate the introduction of new components to overhaul the powerplants.

The manufacturer has been dealing with a blade durability problem with the compressor rotor in the Package C version of the engine, which spurred an airworthiness directive for Trent-powered Boeing 787 operators in April.

Rolls-Royce civil aerospace president Chris Cholerton admits that the disruption to 787 operators is "unacceptable" but that the company remains committed to minimising the impact.

"While we expect the number of aircraft affected to rise in the short term, as the deadline for the completion of initial inspections approaches, we are confident that we have the right building-blocks in place to tackle the additional workload this will create," he adds.

The company says it has installed a revised blade in a test engine and will begin testing in early June. It is also aiming to make initial parts available later this year, instead of 2019.

Rolls-Royce states that efficiency in the supply chain and computing power have enabled its engineers to "accelerate" development of the new blade.

It also says that it has trebled maintenance capacity for affected Trent engines – through additional lines and reduced times – enabling it to work on a greater number of powerplants simultaneously, and developed new inspection techniques to support affected carriers.

Rolls-Royce has not adjusted its estimates of the financial effect of the issues surrounding the Package C engine fix.

“While we have made important progress in supporting our customers, there is clearly more to do," says Cholerton. "We will not rest until we have ensured the engine meets the high standards our customers rightly expect."

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