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CO DC-10 Spews Parts At EWR... Again

Fri Sep 08, 2000 6:09 pm

The Bergen Record
"DC-10 spews parts at Newark "
Friday, September 8, 2000

Staff Writer

For the second time in five months, Continental Airlines Flight 60 had severe engine trouble during an aborted takeoff Tuesday from Newark International Airport, causing parts to shoot from the rear of an engine onto the runway and forcing the passengers to exit on the tarmac.

No one was injured in the latest incident involving one of Continental's DC-10 aircraft, airline officials said Thursday.

On April 25, Flight 60 suffered what is known as "uncontained engine failure," meaning that parts and fragments burst through the engine casing. That flight took off, but landed at Newark just 34 minutes later with two of its three engines failing, blown tires, and ruptured hydraulic lines.

Although both incidents occurred on flights to Brussels, Belgium, different planes were involved.

"The anomalies you are talking about with the two engines on Flight 60 takeoffs are atypical, but they are not unheard of," said Continental spokesman Dave Messing. "These types of failures can occur periodically. They were handled professionally in each case."

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating both incidents.

The engine failure occurred just a few days after another member of Continental's McDonnell Douglas DC-10 fleet came under scrutiny, this time from the international community.

Last Saturday, French and American officials inspected a Continental DC-10 in Houston that may have shed a metal part authorities believe set off a chain of events that brought down an Air France Concorde minutes into its doomed flight in July that killed 113 people.

Continental officials are cooperating with the Concorde investigation, but stopped short of confirming that the metal part was from one of the airline's DC-10s.

On Thursday, Messing said the airline has confidence in its DC-10 fleet, which averages 20 years old. Overall, Continental has one of the youngest fleets in the sky, with the average plane 8.4 years old in 1999.

"We believe our DC-10 fleet is serving our customers safely," Messing said, adding that Continental's entire DC-10 fleet will be replaced with Boeing 767s within two years.

The most recent incident at Newark International Airport occurred at 7:19 p.m. Tuesday as Flight 60 was taking off on runway 4L.

Sparks and flying debris were seen coming from the plane's rear engine, said Jim Peters, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman for the Eastern Region.

The fire service responded and found turbine blades and metal debris littered on the runway. The aircraft, with 237 on board, was towed from the runway, Peters said. Passengers then deplaned onto the tarmac, where a bus took them to the terminal, Continental officials said.

The engine has been removed from the plane and will be taken apart to determine the cause of the failure. A new engine will be installed on the DC-10, and the plane will return to service shortly, Messing said.

In April, the damage from the failed engine was much more severe.

As the left wing engine broke apart, pieces tore through the engine casing, shooting at a high speed into the landing gear, puncturing two tires and slicing through hydraulic lines.

Other pieces bounced onto the runway ahead of the plane and were sucked into the right engine, crippling it. At that point, only the rear engine located on the tail was fully functioning, even though it also was damaged.

The plane, with 231 on board, made an emergency landing at Newark after dumping 90,000 pounds of fuel. No one was injured.

William D. Waldock, a professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., said engine failures are much more dangerous when ejected parts pierce the skin of the plane rather than shoot onto the runway, as they did Tuesday.

"If it just spins out the back end, it is technically not as severe a problem," said Waldock. "It's less severe than when parts go through the sidewalls."

Waldock said that following the crash of a United Airlines Flight on July 19, 1989, that killed 110 people -- caused by an uncontained engine failure -- improvements were made to the DC-10 to prevent engine parts from being ejected through the casing and into the body of the plane. Instead, the system is designed to eject parts away from the plane, Waldock said.

"It sounds like in this case, the system worked like it was supposed to -- as long as you get someone out on the runway and picking up the parts," Waldock said of Tuesday's Flight 60. "With an engine failure like that, you know what happened and someone is out picking up the runway -- particularly in the aftermath of Concorde."

Continental entered the scope of the Concorde investigation after a 17-inch piece of metal, thought to have fallen from a Continental DC-10 that took off before the Concorde, was found on the runway.

Investigators believe that piece of metal may have shredded a tire, sending debris into the Concorde's fuel tanks and igniting the fatal fire.

The jet went down 77 seconds later into a small hotel in the Paris suburb of Gonesse, killing all 109 aboard and four on the ground. The accident was the first fatal crash of a Concorde since it went into service 26 years ago.

Staff Writer Doug Most contributed to this article. Staff Writer Daniel Sforza's e-mail address is sforza@bergen.com


RE: CO DC-10 Spews Parts At EWR... Again

Fri Sep 08, 2000 6:36 pm

Here we go again, a GE CF6 coming apart!
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Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2000 3:29 am

RE: CO DC-10 Spews Parts At EWR... Again

Fri Sep 08, 2000 6:58 pm

You seriously do have a problem with GE engines dont you TEDSKI. Personally i dont mind them, ive been on a few a/c with GE engines and the flight was smooth and no trouble.
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!

RE: CO DC-10 Spews Parts At EWR... Again

Fri Sep 08, 2000 7:20 pm

Well, what is going on with these engines coming apart lately? How often have you heard of a P&W or RR engine having these kinds of failures? There is something wrong with the design of these engines for the FAA to come out with a directive a few weeks ago for airlines to inspect them for possible cracks. I don't mean to chew out GE but something is going on with Total Quality Mgmt.
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RE: Tedski

Fri Sep 08, 2000 7:21 pm

Do you see the comedy in your bitter hatred for the GE engines?
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Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2000 4:37 am

RE: CO DC-10 Spews Parts At EWR... Again

Fri Sep 08, 2000 7:37 pm

This reminds me of the problem GE had last year with uncontained GE-90 failures on a number of early 777s. They had to re-engine almost half of all GE 777s after 3 incidents with Saudia and at least one with BA. In the light of these problems, I had to fly a GE-90 777 to TLV and back to EWR. Luckily I was put on a newer plane, which did't neet to undergo the replacement.

BA, on other hand was very unhappy with GE and subsequently started ordering RR-Trent 777s. I don't have a problem with GE, especially the CF6 which proved to be very reliable, but still - too many incidents lately. Maybe these engines need heavier inspection and maintenance when they get older.


Fri Sep 08, 2000 7:49 pm

It not hatred, it is a concern with all of these incidents involving the CF6. Maybe JumboClassic is right, as the engine gets older it is going to require more inspections and maintenance.

RE: CO DC-10 Spews Parts At EWR... Again

Fri Sep 08, 2000 9:50 pm

Recently ( about 2 months ago ) I saw a show on tv about aviation and one of the topics was about fake spare-parts.
From what inspectors found so far they estimate a number up to 5% on the market. From the smallest screw to the altimeter in the cockpit up to major parts of the gear they found nearly everything imaginable.
Especially plane-types which are 10 and more years on duty are the target for these falsifications. They said that no airline could be totally safe against having fake parts in their service since their quality is often not visible even on a third view.
It´s suspected that alot of those fakes come from secret factories in Turkey and far-east.
One statement was that one should not be surprised to see more and more planes literally falling apart in the future.
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 1:52 am

GE & PW Engines

Sat Sep 09, 2000 1:11 am

Just a note for those keeping track (and you know who you are), the JAL 747 that lost engine parts had JT9D engines. I know this was listed in other areas of this forum, I'm just trying to stem the "hysteria" with a little balance.
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:54 am

RE: GE & PW Engines

Sat Sep 09, 2000 4:53 am

Actually, BA is very happy with their GE powered 777-200s and 777-200ERs. While it is true that the GE engines did have some problems, GE was able to fix them and all of the aircraft are back in service and providing sterling service. The reason that they switched to the RR Trent was due to the cancellation of 5 747-400s that were to be delivered with RR RB211-G/H-T engines (20 engines). BA would have been fined if they cancelled the order and left RR literally hanging. So, they opted to let RR power their latest batch of -200ERs.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
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Joined: Sat Jul 24, 1999 6:10 pm

RE: CO DC-10 Spews Parts At EWR... Again

Sat Sep 09, 2000 6:49 am

Im not here to say I hate GE cause I really have nothing to base my feelings on, but the CF6 engines have had quite a few problems lately, 3 with AA, 2 with CO, 1 with KLM, and probably some others, Are the GE engines the same company that makes the light bulbs and TVs and stuff? Cause GE home appliances suck and lack quality and reliability, ex. My parents had a 29" GE TV that lasted only 2 years.

RE: CO DC-10 Spews Parts At EWR... Again

Sat Sep 09, 2000 7:50 am

Was at a local Borders book store where I came upon a book on the 777. In this book, it mentioned about British Airways becoming the launch customer of the GE90. It said in this book that there were alot of problems getting this engine into service because of design flaws such as the fan blades coming apart. This was causing many delays for British Airways getting these aircraft in service. I was reading in other forums that the GE90 has been consuming large quantities of oil while in service with British Airways and it's engineers not happy with it's design.


Sat Sep 09, 2000 7:59 am

Hey Navion, this was only one incident involving the P&W JT9D in how many years vs. how many with the GE CF6 each month or every week.

Hey Tedski

Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:10 am

I think you should change your name to P&WJT9D. Since you love them so much I really think you should. But I think someone already has that name.
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 1999 11:34 am

RE: CO DC-10 Spews Parts At EWR... Again

Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:35 am

As someone who has worked with the CF6 series of engine since 1977 I think they are a very good reliable engine.

Engine reliability has a lot to do with how much the operator is prepared to invest in engine overhaul. I know this from personal experience, an operator I have worked for had a period of terrible engine reliabilty, JT9's incdentally, with engine changes virtually every week, however when they changed overhaul agencies and invested in tighter overhaul limits (tighter than the manufacturers) engine reliabilty shot up to become one of the fleet leaders.

Another point to bear in mind about the percieved GE engine problems is the media. As you are all aware whenever there is a 737 accident, for the next couple of months every 737 incident is reported in detail. It will be the same with these engines.

RE: Adam84

Sat Sep 09, 2000 9:02 pm

GE's small appliances (TVs, VCRs, clock-radios, etc) are made by a company called Thompson Consumer Electronics, not by GE themselves.


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