Pratt & Whitney announced on February 21, 2018, that it has found a solution to the PW1100G-JM engine problem. The problem came to spotlight earlier in February 2018, when both the European and U.S. aviation authority bodies deemed Airbus A320neo aircraft – powered by the engine – unsafe to use. As a result, several A320neo operators have reportedly grounded their aircraft.
Now, Pratt & Whitney claims it released a revised configuration to solve a knife edge seal on the High Pressure Compressor (HPC) aft hub problem of the PW1100G-JM engine. “The solution is based on a design with which the company has significant experience, and this solution has received all necessary regulatory approvals,” the engine maker said in a statement. The company says it has begun implementing the solution, expecting to begin the alternated engine deliveries in early March, 2018.
The company intends to work with Airbus and airlines to “minimize” operational disruption, which reportedly affects at least 20 A320neos grounded by airlines and 11 of the 113 Pratt & Whitney-powered jets grounded by Airbus. However, other sources put the estimations of affected aircraft at three-time higher numbers. For instance, Reuters have reported that a total of 98 engines could be affected, with 43 confirmed to have the problem and the rest possibly affected, as told by Pratt & Whitney.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on February 9, 2018, issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) for Airbus A320 and A321 (the A320-271N, A321-271N, A321-272N) aircraft indicating that several occurrences of engine in-flight shutdown (IFSD) and rejected take-off (RTO) have been reported on these Airbus A320neo-family planes.
On February 14, 2018, the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) issued a similar warning, citing a “knife edge seal failure” in the engine that could lead to an engine stall “and consequent inflight shutdown and rejected takeoffs,” the agency said in an airworthiness directive (AD).*
The problem supposedly affects only the PW1100 series engines and not the similar engines for Bombardier CSeries, Embraer’s second-generation E-Jets or Mitsubishi Regional Jet, Reuters reports.