Wednesday, April 01, 2009

ASA grounds 60 aircraft for GE CF34 engine re-inspections

ASA CRJ200Last night, Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) grounded 60 of its CRJ200 aircraft for engine re-inspections. The Delta Connection carrier reportedly discovered through an internal audit that the General Electric CF34 turbofans on some of its aircraft may not have been inspected according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

ASA voluntarily reported the possible discrepancies to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  Details about exactly what is entailed in the engine  inspections are not clear, but an airline spokesperson was quoted this morning as saying the inspections should be accomplished within 36 hours.

Coincidentally (perhaps),  aviation news website reports that the FAA will publish a final rule tomorrow that will  mandate replacement of a certain seal inside GE CF34 turbofan engines. 

Specifically, says, the new FAA rule "calls on US operators of some 2,450 CF34 engines to replace the original 4-step air balance piston seals with 8-step seals at the next life-limited parts replacement interval, a relatively inexpensive modification expected to take five hours per engine."

It has been found that excessive friction between the static and rotating portions of the seal can create an unsafe condition "under certain high-power, high-altitude engine shutdown events."

I'm not suggesting that the ASA re-inspection of their GE C34 engines is related to the seal problem, but the timing is interesting.

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