Rolls sees end of Trent 1000 issues, but a spike in 787 AOG possible

Jan. 22, 2019, © Leeham News, Dublin: Rolls-Royce faces an uptick in Boeing 787s that may become “aircraft on the ground” (AOG) as inspections of Trent 1000s spike in the coming months.

But Richard Goodhead, SVP Marketing, Rolls-Royce, says the worst is behind the company and the airlines—even though it will be a few years before engine part replacements are fully integrated into the global fleet.

There are more than 100 Boeing 787 Trent 1000 customers. About 20 have issues.

Issues are not “atypical”

“The problems we’ve had with the Trent 1000 are not atypical of new engine programs,” he said. “Indeed, there are examples across the rest of the industry.” Goodhead was referring issues Pratt & Whitney has with the Pure Power engine on the Airbus A320neo and the A220; CFM with its LEAP on the A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX; and GE with the GEnx on the Boeing 787 and 747-8, without naming the engines or the companies.

“What has given us the big challenge is several of those problems occurred at the same time,” he said.

There were four issues causing disruptions throughout 2018. “Three of them are definitely sorted and the fix is new parts. We are about three fourth of the way toward getting those new blades for the IP turbine and the HP turbine.”

Goodhead said RR achieved certification for another fix in December, just before the US Federal Aviation Administration closed due to the US government shut down. This fix will be applied to remaining 787s that have been parked, some of months, without engines.

“We will get back to a more normal level of operations across the fleet” this year, Goodhead said.

New inspections

When the Trent 1000 issues first arose, resulting in a peak of just under 50 airplanes parked worldwide, the FAA, EASA and other regulatory agencies either grounded airplanes pending inspection or required frequent inspects (depending on the specific issue), while also reducing ETOPS.

Inspection cycles of the in-service, affected Trents are coming up and there may be a surge in AOGs, a company that tracks the issue tells LNA.

This is possible, Goodhead acknowledged, depending on where the cycles are in the inspections.

“What we are most prepared for is a relative flattening of issues once we have the paperwork to prepare for the FAA. Once that happens, we will see less disruption,” said—and all contingent on the FAA getting back to work.

Goodhead appeared at the Airfinance Journal annual conference in Dublin. He was interviewed by LNA editor Scott Hamilton.

18 Comments on “Rolls sees end of Trent 1000 issues, but a spike in 787 AOG possible

  1. How many of the six LATAM 787s are still sitting on the ground in the Cali desert awaiting RR engine repairs? What a way to take care of customers—make them fly over five thousand miles for repairs! LOL

    • ‘The desert’ is a Boeing maintenance facility!
      “While our B787-8 aircraft (registration CC-BBD) is at Boeing’s maintenance facility, scheduled maintenance will be carried out on its Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines as part of a proactive upgrade programme that began in 2016. “-LATAM

      You do realise Boeing has an option for plane maintenance at its own facilities ?

  2. Hmm, any time there is more AOG, the peak is not passed.

    It may be under control and future looking better, but its painful to the airlines and in turn RR who has to eat the costs.

  3. And not atypical.

    Coming out with an all new engine (that still carried over the core issues (pun intended) is typical.

    Really?

    Keeping in mind, there are no more 1000s being built, just supported in the B and C variants.

    Goodhead would make a good Gyro. 100,000 rpm out of an organic gyro is pretty good. Certainly better than RR track record on the 787 (and A330 7000 is caught up in this)

    And we still have to see about the A350XWB variants.

    • A330 7000 caught up in this ? The first user , TAP has just put it into service.
      “Rolls-Royce marketing vice-president for Airbus products, Peter Johnston, stated that the production issues being suffered on the Trent 7000 are industrial rather than technical.”- Flightglobal

      • Same base engine, same issues.

        They may have the time to get the fix in before enough are in service to work it out.

        RR has had blade problems with their whole lineup so far

  4. heres a classic US business news agency Bloomberg story on the Rolls Royce Trent
    “Rolls-Royce Parts Shortage to Delay 787 Engine Fix
    Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc is wrestling with a shortage of parts needed to repair hundreds of faulty engines…”

    Which is all true
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-13/rolls-royce-parts-shortage-is-said-to-delay-787-engine-fix

    Now heres a Bloomberg story about parts delay for GE /CFM engines
    “Precision Castparts, Arconic are said struggling with output”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-11/buffett-s-bottleneck-on-jet-engine-blades-crimps-boeing-airbus
    Even Warren Buffet gets a mention- Berkshire Hathaway owns Precision Castparts
    barely mentioned is CFM , the builder of the engines, and the actual engine name -Leap- is almost a footnote at the end.

    Thats how its done. GE makes its problems ‘an industry problem’ -usually by giving the journalists plenty of off the record sources-“according to interviews with more than 20 people conducted by Bloomberg.”

    When its a Rolls engine problem, the suppliers become the footnote.

    Buried in the story there are some real info on the Leap blades.

    “But to handle the Leap’s hotter temperatures, GE created a more complex high pressure turbine blade. While the design is a closely held trade secret, a person familiar with it described a double-wall casting with a special core and advanced inner-wall cooling.

    The new engine also has two high-pressure stages, said Michaels, the consultant at AeroDynamic Advisory, which means it has about double the 80 high-pressure turbine blades on an older model, the CFM56.

    For a mature engine, the percentage of blades produced that meet a manufacturer’s standards are typically in the 90 percent range, Michaels said. But the so-called first-time yield can be half that for a new and complex design like the Leap until production techniques are honed.”

    The suggestion is that for initial production of much more comple blades the reject rate is far higher, slowing the flow of new blades. Older engines had decades to ramp up production.

    • Thats a diversion from the issue.

      GE is haing a problem making the new blads (and P&W had that as well).

      Its not a desing issue though, its an mfg issue.

      RR had multi-poe blade issues that are desing issues.

      First was corrosion ad that has spread (pun intended) to one other engine (forget which – maybe the 900)

      The other was blade cracking and harmonics that it took they 8-10 years to get a clue on (been there since the 1000 came out, just did not manifest itself. )

      In short they did not understand the core of the engine and that in this day and age is stunning.

      The engine core IS the company. Its like wings on aircraft.

      While they may have a jump on it, you have to figure that it is in the XWB as well. With the cracking a longer term issue, they may get a leg up on a fix before it bites as much as the 1000 and Ten have.

  5. It wasnt that the RR problems arent real but that ‘GE arranges for the focus to be elsewhere’ and not on its self. Bloomberg being a news agency means its stories go everywhere.

    The sub story which isnt being told is how GE is tying up all the IP and the manufacturing chain for additive manufacturing.

    For the 777X, the (additive)turbine blades are being made in Italy by Avio ( now owned by GE), with the factory running’20 black, wardrobe-sized 3D printers, made by Arcam. ‘
    Arcam ?, a controlling interest held by GE.

    And then theres the metal powder, titanium aluminide, which is made by a factory in Saint-Eustache, Montreal , which is again owned by GEs Arcam.
    Even the lasers used to atomise the metal wire into a powder – owned by GE Additives division.

    https://www.ge.com/reports/future-manufacturing-take-look-inside-factory-3d-printing-jet-engine-parts/
    https://www.ge.com/reports/

    And everyone just though Avio was bought up because of its gearbox for GTF’s.

    • I don’t think RR are worried about GE buying up technology companies. The important stuff is in-house, both with regard to Trent XWB technology and Advance/Ultrafan technology. Additive manufacturing is an exception, but RR will find an answer. CMC isn’t an exception.

      Part of the issue with the Trent 1000 was that next generation technology wasn’t quite ready. For example, the Rotherham HPT blade plant for Trent XWB/Advance technology only opened in 2014 but is now running at full capacity.

      For Transworld, GE are replacing the entire hot section of the GENX engine because of durability issues. See ainonline.com. They are calling it an upgrade. GENX HPT blades have been falling off for a long time. See FAA ADs.

      With regard to GE, their shares have lost a lot of value. I think this is because of GE Aviation. GE Aviation is currently a cash cow, but the entire range of GE engines are having durability issues.

      CFM is fine but as you say the LEAP hot section is to say the least hot. Let’s see how it performs.

      • I love those out of conext, naner nanner things

        This is the link: AIN

        https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/air-transport/2018-07-12/ge-delivering-new-genx-durability-upgrade

        GE has done two Pips due to not meeting fuel usage (this could be considered 3). NO AOG, not engine failures per RR. No restricted ETOPS

        RR has done two PIPS (A/B/C 1000) and an ALL NEW engine (that still has to be more than Pipped with AOG all over the place.

        As for CFM, yes, we need to see long term.

        Same with PW on the GTF.

        Same with RR on the XWB

        • Your context not mine for you keep telling everybody that RR have had to do DESIGN changes.

          So, a GENX upgrade that involves a new DESIGN for the combustor through to the HPT, retrofited at the cost of GE to all engines. It will cost them a fortune but then the existing DESIGN is costing them a fortune. No AOGs because they have the MRO.

          Generally, if you look at FAA ADs for CF6, GE90 and GENX, then the cash cow of GE Aviation is perhaps coming to an end.

          As for context, just providing balance to your somewhat one-sided comments

        • No GEnx engine damage?
          Not true again
          “The FAA said the engine encountered “a significant fan rub event . . . apparently caused by partial fan ice shedding and a resulting fan imbalance that in turn caused substantial damage to the engine and an inflight non-restartable power loss.”

          Since when have existing operators received PIPs at the manufacturers cost…..that has to be the laugh of the year..durability upgrades because they have been running OK
          https://www.mro-network.com/engines-engine-systems/pip-or-not-pip
          The airline must do a very strict cost-benefit analysis because a PIP could be cost-prohibitive and must be planned well in advance,” he says.
          Only those within warranty get their upgrade for free

          • Nothing to do with fan icing. IT IS THE HOT SECTION. Look at the FAA ADs. Everybody within warrantee get it for free. That is the point.

            A durability upgrade is not a PIP. I agree, it is the laugh of the year. I’m sure every OEM would try that. Look up the definition of Orwellian behaviour

  6. I don’t think there will be lengthy AOGs for a number of reasons:

    HPT/IPT

    3/4 of engines have new HPT/IPT designs installed. So high and medium cycle engines have been upgraded. Only low cycle engines left; less than 4000 cycles. Low cycle engines can be done duting normal maintenance.

    IPC

    Only 1/3 of engines have shown cracking. So engine base is far less. RR have developed on-wing inspection. So if no cracking, then airplane can be returned to service quickly. Three times more MRO. So more airplanes can be checked in parallel. More spare engines because RR have swapped some engines for TENs. So more swap outs possible. New blade went into production some time ago. So high inventory.

    Put it all together, 2-3 days, at most, as opposed to weeks. Done and dusted this year as suggested by RR.

    Having said the above, RR can’t do this again. They didn’t have the manufacturing capacity [for blades] and they didn’t have the MRO.

    I do feel for them with regard to the eigenmode. Impossible to design against. All other Trents have now been vibration tested with nothing found.

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