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Thai 777 engine failure spurs emergency checks order

Operators of certain Boeing 777-300ERs are being ordered to conduct engine checks after the uncontained failure of the General Electric GE90 powerplant on a Thai Airways International aircraft.

The failure involved Thai's flight TG970 as it commenced its take-off roll for Zurich on 20 October.

US FAA regulators have issued an emergency airworthiness directive which, while not specifically mentioning Thai, refers an uncontained GE90-115B high-pressure turbine failure on the same date.

It says the take-off was aborted as a result and that debris struck the aircraft fuselage and its other engine.

The directive requires removal, within 25 cycles, of rotating interstage seal components from engines with eight particular serial numbers.

It states that the measure is designed to prevent high-pressure turbine failure which could lead to release of damaging high-energy debris.

GE Aviation says the directive is exhibiting an "abundance of caution" and recommends de-pairing affected engines within 10 cycles.

It adds that it has mobilised technical resources, tooling and spare engines as required in order to "minmise customer disruption" during engine removals.

Over 2,000 of the powerplants are in service, the company points out. It states that it is supporting the investigation authorities, including the US National Transportation Safety Board, as the inquiry progresses.

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