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Boeing 787's Range Capped by FAA Following Latest Rolls Glitch

Benjamin D Katz
Boeing 787 Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Boeing Co. 787 planes equipped with a batch of potentially faulty Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc engines face restrictions on how far they can fly following a ruling by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

The measure, which Boeing has said affects about a quarter of in-service 787s, restricts the planes from operating more than 140 minutes from a diversionary airport, down from 330 minutes currently, the FAA said in a post in the Federal Register on Monday. About 14 U.S. planes are impacted, the regulator said.

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The move comes after the European Aviation Safety Agency last week ordered additional maintenance checks on Trent 1000 “package C” engines after it was found that durability issues afflicting blades were worse than first thought. About 350 turbines will be affected, according to London-based Rolls.

The FAA imposed the restrictions because blades in the intermediate pressure compressor of the Trent 1000s have been found to vibrate at high levels of thrust under certain conditions. That means a 787 on which one engine failed might face having the other malfunction when tuned to maximum thrust in order to compensate.

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The regulator described the engine as involving “an unsafe condition” requiring the “immediate adoption” of new rules. The directive will be re-assessed once Rolls has presented a fix for the fault, it said.

EASA is responsible for safety regulation of Rolls-Royce as a U.K. company, whereas the FAA has oversight of Chicago-based Boeing as a U.S. one.

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