Knowing that their friends at Pratt & Whitney would find out soon enough, the General Electric-Rolls Royce team announced this afternoon that one of their F136 engines had to be shut down after a problem led to airfoil damage.
Here’s what GE said in an email to reporters: “Approximately three hours into a mechanical check-out on September 23 at the GE Aviation facility in Evendale, Ohio, an F136 development engine experienced an anomaly at near maximum fan speed. Engine #008 was shut down in a controlled manner. Initial inspection revealed damage to airfoils in the front fan and compressor area. The engine is currently being disassembled for a thorough investigation.”
The companies are checking the engine’s records to see if any other problems had been spotted earlier with the engine. They say “several builds” of five development engines have been run for more than 1,000 hours “without experiencing” the problem that afflicted the shutdown engine.
Two other engines also being tested were checked “and neither engine exhibited similar distress. Prior builds were also inspected with no findings,” the email says.
We’ll see what the coming inspections reveal.