20 April 2018

The Asymptote of Progress - part the ninth

Yesterday morning was going to be a Carnac day, in which a missive stating the prediction that FAA/NTSB would demand stepped up inspection of high-cycle engines was to be offered. Never got around to it and, naturally, such was reported later in the day. Which brings us to today's reporting where we get some fruitful quotes about jet engines.
Like the engine on the Southwest jet, two others — one used on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and another on some Boeing 767s — developed cracks. On Tuesday, the same day as the engine failure on the Southwest plane, the Federal Aviation Administration said Boeing 787 Dreamliners powered by Rolls-Royce engines could no longer be flown on ultralong, over-water flights.

The engines are produced by three different manufacturers, but the fact that all three have developed safety issues is prompting questions about the engines' design, operation and their inspection procedures.

The worry is that the flaws are part of a trend as manufacturers push to develop ever more powerful and complex machines.

"We've gotten smarter," said Richard Giannotti, an aerospace engineer. "We can design things to a very low margin with a lot of reliability data to back it up. But when we get to the ragged edge, it doesn't take much for things to go wrong."

Sound like turbofans have reached the wall? Along with Li-ion batteries?

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