Italian authorities have issued three recommendations to increase Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine safety, following a serious incident in August 2019. At the time, left engine on Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 787-8 broke down shortly after take-off, pouring 4 kg of debris on Italian city streets. 

Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 problems by Italian authorities

The Norwegian Dreamliner that suffered in-flight shut down, was equipped with two Rolls-Royce 1000 G/01A engines. The Italian Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority (ANSV) has found that two intermediate-pressure turbines (IPT) on the broken engine were fractured and the fractures are “attributable” to the same corrosion fatigue problems detected in ten previous cases of in-flight shut down in the Trent 1000 fleet. 

While unusual corrosion in IPT blades has already been addressed by the manufacturer and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), at the time of the incident the particular engine on Norwegian Dreamliner was 200 flight cycles short of the hard life limit currently mandate by EASA. Ultimately, the Italian investigation has suggested that current EASA and Rolls-Royce’s efforts to solve IPT blade fatigue problem fall short and additional measures are needed. 

On September 4, 2019, ANSV made public its three recommendations regarding engine safety for EASA to address. EASA is asked to define different safety measures than the ones currently in place. For example, stringent time limits for the Trent 1000 pre-mod 72-H818 IPT blades could be one of the solutions, ANSV writes.

The Italian authority suggests EASA to “re-evaluate the whole validity of the service management adopted by the manufacturer”. The final recommendation is to come back and evaluate relevant de-pairing pre-mod 72-H818 engines provisions, in order to minimize the risk of two faulty engines installed on the same aircraft. 

In early 2016, the launch customer of the Boeing 787, All Nippon Airways (ANA), detected unusual corrosion in IPT blades, resulting in early wear and cracking on Trent 1000 engines. This forced Rolls Royce to start a long campaign of inspections and replacement of defective parts.

Norwegian Boeing 787-8 engine parts poured down on Italian streets

On August 10, 2019, Norwegian Boeing 787-8 (reg. LN-LND), operating flight DY-7115 from Rome Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) to Los Angeles (LAX), suffered left engine failure shortly after takeoff, forcing the aircraft to turn back and perform an emergency landing at FCO. 

While the Dreamliner landed safely and none of the 298 passengers on board was injured, the incident did cause damage for residents of Fiumicino, a city located nearby the airport. According to ANSV, 4 kilograms of debris, mainly turbine blades, poured down on the streets of Fiumicino, wrecking houses, roofs and cars. One person, who was reportedly injured by falling debris, later recalled: "Hundreds of those pieces fell, boiling. One of them hit me on the right side. I got slightly burned," as reported in AdnKronos.

Italian investigators do not mention any people injured during the incident. 

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Updated on August 13, 2019. To include comment from the victim. Engine fragments of a Norwegian Boeing 787 fell from the sky shortly after takeoff from  Fiumicino airport in Rome, Italy, damaging houses, roofs, and cars. One person was injured in the incident.
 

“We are aware of the event and are working with our customer to provide support and technical assistance,” Rolls-Royce spokesperson told AeroTime at the time. “We are committed to working closely with the airline, aircraft manufacturer and the relevant authorities to support their investigation”.