An All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 787 Dreamliner jumbo jet was forced to make an emergency landing last week after experiencing engine failure. The incident marks the third time in the last seven months that an ANA flight has been forced to make an emergency landing following a 787 engine failure.
ANA announced last week that it would temporarily ground its f leet of Dreamliners after the latest 787 engine failure. The airline expected hundreds of flights to be cancelled as a result of the grounding. On August 26 alone, the airline was forced to cancel nine flights, affecting more than 3,000 passengers and costing ANA an estimated 55 million yen.
According to reports, the ANA 787 engine failures were the result of corrosion and cracking of turbine blades under certain flying conditions. ANA’s fleet of 787s are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, which have three turbine sections within each engine. ANA has not specified which turbine blades are corroding and cracking.
In response to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner engine problems, ANA has announced that it will be refurbishing the engines of all 787 Dreamliners in its fleet with new turbine blades, a process that could take up to three years to complete. At present, the airline has five 787 Dreamliner engines in need of urgent repairs.
An ANA spokesperson reiterated to the media that the repairs will not be outright engine replacements. “We are not replacing the 787 engines with new ones,” the spokesman said. Instead, the 787 engines will be removed, then the faulty turbine blades will be replaced.
Rolls-Royce has already started working on a new turbine blade that is slated to be ready by the end of this year. Moving forward, the new blades will be installed on new 787 engines starting next year. As for other airlines with 787 Dreamliners equipped with the affected engine, Rolls-Royce said they are managing the issue with “ongoing maintenance,” according to the Guardian.
ANA Emergency Landings This Year After 787 Engine Failure
February 2016 – ANA Flight From Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo Makes Emergency Landing. A 787 heading to Tokyo from Kuala Lumpur was forced to turn around after pilots received a cockpit warning that the temperature of the exhaust gas coming from the right engine was very high. The pilots shut down the affected engine and landed safely back in Kuala Lumpur on just the left engine. The plane reached an altitude of 28,000 feet before turning back. No one was injured in the in-flight incident.
March 2016 – ANA Flight Makes Emergency Landing in Vietnam. A 787 Dreamliner carrying passengers from Hanoi to Tokyo was forced to return to the airport and make an emergency landing after experiencing engine failure. No injuries were reported.
August 2016 – ANA Flight Forced to Make Emergency Landing in Osaka. An ANA 787 was forced to make an emergency landing in Osaka after the pilots received a cockpit warning of power output problems and abnormally high temperatures emitting from the plane’s left engine. After taking off at around 7:18 a.m. local time, the pilots quickly made the decision to return to Osaka, landing at around 7:50 a.m., according to the airline. None of the 246 passengers or 11 crew members were injured in the emergency landing.
787 Dreamliner: New Era in Commercial Flight?
When the Boeing 787 Dreamliner made its commercial debut in 2011, it was hailed as the aircraft that would usher in a new era in commercial aviation. Each plane is made of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials, making it 20 percent more fuel efficient than other airliners and 30 percent cheaper to maintain. The plane was also marketed as being more comfortable and spacious for longer flights.
Not long after its introduction, however, the 787 suffered a series of well-documented issues, including battery fires, fuel leaks and faulty wiring, among others. The battery fire issue was so serious that federal regulators grounded 787s in 2013. That year, an electrical fire erupted on a Japan Airlines 787 Dreamliner at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Officials said the battery in plane’s auxiliary power unit exploded and suffered severe fire damage. The incident happened while passengers were disembarking the plane.
Just one day later at the same airport, another Japan Airlines 787 had to cancel takeoff due to a fuel leak. The 787 was towed back to its gate after losing an estimated 40 gallons of fuel.
ANA previously grounded its entire fleet of Boeing 787s after a 2013 incident in which the pilots of an ANA flight in Japan were forced to make an emergency landing after a smoke alarm went off in the cockpit. Flight instruments indicated that one of the plane’s batteries had malfunctioned. The plane quickly diverted to Takamatsu. Thankfully, no one was injured in the in-flight incident.
In total, Boeing has delivered nearly 450 787 Dreamliners, which carry a price tag of between $225 million and $265 million per plane.
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