French investigation authority BEA has assumed control of the investigation of a serious engine failure on board an Air France Airbus A380 over Greenland on 30 September, Canada’s transport agency confirms.

Air France flight 66 landed in Goose Bay, Canada, after the fan section of the No. 4 Engine Alliance GP7200 suffered an unexplained in-flight break-up at 37,000ft.

Since the break-up occurred over Denmark-controlled Greenland, legal authority for the investigation rested with the Danish Accident Investigation Board. But Denmark delegated authority for the investigation to the BEA, Transport Canada says.

Transport Canada dispatched a team of investigators to Goose Bay on 1 October to assist in the unfolding investigation. They were joined by investigators from the BEA, as well as engineers from A380 manufacturer Airbus and from Engine Alliance joint venture partners GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney.

The BEA-led team will scrutinise the most serious A380 engine incident since a Rolls-Royce Trent 900-powered version of a Qantas aircraft suffered an uncontained engine failure near Singapore in 2010. Investigators traced the cause of that incident back to a manufacturing flaw, which led to a turbine section failure.

The investigation of the GP7200 failure will instead focus on the rare destruction of an entire fan module in-flight. Pictures of the A380 in-flight and on the ground reveal a missing nose cowl, fan cowl and fan disc.

The Engine Alliance partnership assigns GE authority over the high-pressure core of the engine and P&W responsibility for the low-pressure fan and turbine sections. P&W manufactures each of the 24 wide-swept hollow-titanium fan blades on the GP7200.

Airbus delivered the A380 involved in the incident to Air France seven years ago, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer. It is one of nearly 130 A380s on order or delivered that are equipped with the GP7200 engines. Since 2009, the fleet of GP7200s in service had achieved a 99.9% dispatch reliability and – until 30 September – no in-flight shutdowns, according to P&W.

Source: Cirium Dashboard