Rolls-Royce has again suffered an in-flight shutdown of a Trent 700 turbofan engine fitted to an Airbus Industrie A330 twinjet - the third such occurrence in less than six months.

In the latest incident, on 6 May, the No 2 engine on a Cathay Pacific Airways A330 ran down, following a failure in the step-aside gearbox. Fuel supply to the engine was cut as a result of the failure of the radial driveshaft to rotate. An inspection on the ground of the master chip detector (MCD) revealed metal contamination.

The aircraft was in the upper segment of its climb out of Hong Kong, en route to the Philippines, when the engine shut down. The A330 returned to Hong Kong and the flightcrew made a single-engined landing at Kai Tak Airport. The engine has been removed from the wing for inspection.

Cathay suffered a similar Trent 700 failure in November 1996, when a gearbox also failed, and the engine shut down as the aircraft reached the top of its climb out. The aircraft was returned to Saigon, in Vietnam, and a subsequent check of the MCD showed contamination from detached metal.

It is understood that an investigation of November's incident proved inconclusive, because of the high amount of secondary damage. Suspicions were centred on a possible bearing failure in the gearbox.

Dragonair also suffered an in-flight failure on 17 April of a Trent 700 on an A330 en route from Hong Kong to Shanghai. The engine was shut down because of rapidly falling oil pressure, after a filter became clogged with carbon.

The filter had been added as precaution against possible contamination of the oil sump, as part of extended-range twin-engined operations certification of the engine. The addition of the filter followed earlier problems shown up in testing, involving the failure of rivet-heads in the bearing compartment. R-R is investigating the failure.

Source: Flight International