Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mumbai: Ice crystals problem in Dreamliner to persist

There’s no solution in sight to the problem of formation of ice crystals in the engines of Air India’s Dreamliner aircraft, the Air India management has said. The airline officials attributed the problem to the installation of General Electric (GE) company’s newly designed blades.

Last month, Dreamliner 787’s manufacturer Boeing had issued an advisory to all airlines, including Air India which has GE company engines installed in its aircraft. Boeing urged the airlines to deviate the plane by 50 nautical miles when faced with a cloudburst as ice crystals could get stuck in the engine, thereby affecting the aircraft’s performance.

The problem is found to be more pertinent on tropical routes, including those to Australia and Japan. While Japan Airway Ltd has seized the operation after the advisory, Air India has refrained from doing so.

When asked why it took Boeing a year to issue an advisory even though the Dreamliner aircraft have been inducted into Air India’s fleet since last September, additional general manager-technical (flight operations) P Balachandran said, “Earlier, there was no mechanism available with Boeing to test the efficiency of the newly designed blades. But now, since it’s available and the problem has been pointed out, the manufacturer has asked us to take the precautionary step of avoiding thunderstorms.”

“Normally, other aircraft avoid thunderstorms by deviating just 10-20 nautical miles,” added Balachandran, who was speaking on the aircraft during a seminar.


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