General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) and Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) alerted airlines Wednesday about a potential problem with engines on Boeing’s long-range 777 jumbo-jets, a complication that is believed to have caused two engines to shut down in mid-flight this year, Fox Business reports.
Both companies told airlines to inspect or replace the transfer gear boxes produced during the six-month period from September to March, on account of a “manufacturing non-conformity” that occurred in the construction of GE90-115B engines during that period. The function of the gearbox is to transfer power from the engine to run fuel pumps and other vital engine functions. Its failure causes the engine to shut down.
Reuters explains that this problem affects about 118 transfer gear boxes with the defective part on about 26 in service 777-300ER jets and another 44 aircraft in production, according to GE. Although the exact cause of the problem remains unknown, it is suspected that an irregularity in the material is to blame for the separation of the gears, the root of the problem.
Although GE and Boeing have encouraged transfer gear box inspections, they assured airlines that at least one engine on the plane has had an inspection or a replacement made before September. In both cases this year of engines shutting down, one in February and the other in May, only one engine shut down. The twin-engine 777s were able to continue their flights with the remaining engines.
GE is sending replacement parts to airlines, and both companies are working to discern the exact cause of this engine failure.
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