FAA orders Boeing 777 engine fix

March 12, 2009 at 3:49 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- Rolls-Royce PLC must urgently redesign a Boeing 777 aircraft-engine part blamed for two major mishaps in the past year, U.S. transportation officials said.

The British aircraft engine maker must redesign the engine part regulating ice buildup on a fuel/oil heat exchanger, and carriers must have the new fixes on its planes within six months of the redesign being approved, a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation said.

Investigations into a British Airways 777 flight that crashed short of a London runway Jan. 17, 2008, and a Delta Air Lines 777 flight that had engine problems over Montana Nov. 26 have pointed to the ice buildup problem, the board said.

"With two of these rollback events occurring within a year, we believe that there is a high probability of something similar happening again," NTSB Acting Chairman Mark Rosenker said in a statement.

Rolls-Royce said it would have a new system ready for installation within 12 months, the NTSB said.

Some 56 U.S. Boeing 777s and 228 worldwide are equipped with Rolls-Royce engines, CNN reported.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration previously ordered carriers such as American Airlines that operate Boeing 777s with Rolls-Royce engines to revise flight manuals to give pilots procedures to follow when their jets lose power in cold weather, CNN said.

But the NTSB said the FAA action didn't go far enough.

"We need a permanent fix," NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.

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