The FAA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) that extends inspections of the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G and PW1900G Geared Turbofan engines. In line with a similar NPRM for the PW1100G-JM, the regulator will require angled ultrasonic inspections (AUSI) of more parts as well as the accelerated replacement of parts, it said on January 9.
The NPRM covers the two engine models used on the Airbus A220 and Embraer E2-family, respectively the PW1500G and PW1900G series. Like their siblings of the A320neo family, engines produced between Q4 2015 and Q3 2021 contain parts produced from contaminated metal powder. P&W parent company RTX revealed the issue in July 2023. Since then, the FAA has requested an extensive inspection and repair program that will see some 650 A320neo family aircraft grounded in the first six months of this year as their engines are sent to maintenance shops.
RTX said in October that the issue would have a limited effect on the models used on the A220 and E2s. Inspections and repairs could mostly be done within the regular shop visits, so the problem would not hurt operators as much as those with A320neo family aircraft.
However, in line with an NPRM for the PW1100G-JM that was issued on December 12 (and revoked and corrected in January), the FAA now will require the same inspections for the PW1500G and PW1900G and their sub-variants.
The engines will be subject to angles ultrasonic inspections of the High-Pressure Turbine (HPT) stage 1 and 2 hubs/disks, and the eight High-Pressure Compressor 8th stage disk to check for cracks. “Depending on the results of the inspections, replacing the HPT 1st-stage hubs, HPT 2nd-stage hubs, or HPC 8th-stage disks,” the document says.
“This proposed AD would also require accelerated replacement of certain HPC 7th-stage rotors, HPC 8th-stage disks, HPC rear hubs, HPT 1st-stage hubs, HPT 2nd-stage hubs, HPT 1st-stage air seals, HPT 2nd-stage air seals, HPT 1st-stage blade retaining plates, and HPT 2nd-stage blade retaining plates.”
430 engines in the US register
The FAA estimates that some 430 engines are installed on aircraft in the US registry. These include mainly the Airbus A220s operated by Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, and Breeze.
“The FAA estimates that 160 engines would need the AUSI of the HPT 1st-stage hub, HPT 2nd-stage hub, and HPC 8th-stage disk; 218 engines would need replacement of the HPT 1st-stage hub; 226 engines would need replacement of the HPT 2nd-stage hub.”
The NPRM continues: “231 engines would need replacement of the HPC 7th-stage rotor; 231 engines would need replacement of the HPC 8th-stage disk; 231 engines would need replacement of the HPC rear hub; 231 engines would need replacement of the HPT 1st-stage air seal; 233 engines would need replacement of the HPT 2nd-stage air seal; 232 engines would need replacement of the HPT 1st-stage blade retaining plate; and 231 engines would need replacement of the HPT 2nd-stage blade retaining plate.”
While the NPRM offers guidance on the number of working hours required for the various inspections and replacements, it isn’t clear how airlines will be affected extra if this work falls outside scheduled shop visits. Comments are due until February 8. RTX will likely share more updates on the GTF issues on January 23, when it will present its FY23 results.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.