Almost 400 GE Aircraft Engines Need Frequent Checks

Almost 400 General Electric Co. aircraft engines must be inspected more frequently for cracks to prevent failures, federal aviation regulators told U.S. airlines following “urgent” recommendations by a safety board.

The CF6-45/50 series turbofan engines must also undergo new inspections of their blades after two malfunctions since March 17, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a notice scheduled for publication in tomorrow’s Federal Register.

The engines have been installed on Boeing Co. 747, DC-10 and MD-10 planes, and on Airbus SAS A300s, according to the FAA. Affected operators include cargo carriers FedEx Corp., Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Evergreen International Aviation Inc., agency spokeswoman Alison Duquette said in an e-mail.

The FAA directive takes effect June 24 and follows National Transportation Safety Board recommendations issued in response to four reports of engine failures or malfunctions since July 2008. GE spokesmen didn’t immediately respond to telephone calls and e-mails requesting comment.

The safety board recommended on May 27 that the FAA require operators to inspect a high-pressure turbine rotor at certain intervals until an inside disk is replaced.

None of the four incidents, three aboard cargo aircraft and one involving Saudi Arabian Airlines, resulted in injuries or fatalities, according to the safety board. All four occurred outside the U.S., the board said.

The engines affected by the recommendations are early-model CF6s from the late 1970s and early 1980s, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE said May 27. Most of the engines in service are used to haul cargo, the company said.

Worldwide, 634 of the engines are in use, according to the FAA. Aviation regulators outside the U.S. often implement safety directives issued by the U.S.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Hughes in Washington at Jhughes5@bloomberg.net

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