GE engine in China didn’t fail from same cause as S.C. incident

By Alan Levin Bloomberg News

A General Electric Co. engine that broke apart Sept. 11 in China didn’t have the cracked shaft that caused a similar engine to spew hot metal in a July 28 incident in South Carolina, U.S. investigators said today.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which is assisting the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s investigation, said in an emailed release that the GEnx engine on a Boeing Co. 747-8 failed in Shanghai for different, as-yet-undetermined reasons.

The NTSB had previously said that preliminary evidence in the Shanghai incident suggested a cracked mid-shaft, which is what caused a GEnx engine on a Boeing 787 to break apart in Charleston, S.C. That had prompted an urgent recommendation for inspections.

After the July 28 incident, inspectors discovered a second cracked shaft on a GEnx engine that hadn’t yet flown.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates the aviation industry, followed with an order for the inspections.

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings is the only carrier flying the Boeing jets that would fall under the FAA rule. Both of Atlas’s two 747-8 cargo jets have been inspected and didn’t have cracks, the company said in a release.