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eisenbach
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A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:26 am

It's in the news in Germany and Austria since this morning, that EASA found some issues with the A350 hydraulic pumps.

Sounds a bit concerning:

If the aircraft's fuel-tank inerting system is inoperative,..., an uncontrolled overheat of the hydraulic fluid could potentially ignite the tank's fuel-air mixture.


English Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pump-concern-spurs-urgent-a350-equipment-directive-440535/
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eisenbach
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:32 am

Here the link to the official EASA document:

https://ad.easa.europa.eu/ad/2017-0154-E
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zeke
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:22 am

The changes have already been incorporated in the manuals. The A350 like many other aircraft uses the fuel tanks which are in contact with the cold air in cruise to cool the hydraulic fluid. This MEL change means the aircraft will not be dispatched in that condition ever again.

Examples of the cooling in other types, many do not have inerting systems

viewtopic.php?t=742387
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TheLark
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:56 am

So why is this all over the news? This does not sound very spectacular to me. Did some scare-mongerer publish a story "they are all going to crash", and everybody else copied it?
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Newbiepilot
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:05 am

TheLark wrote:
So why is this all over the news? This does not sound very spectacular to me. Did some scare-mongerer publish a story "they are all going to crash", and everybody else copied it?


I would not say the flightglobal article is scare mongering. It sounds mostly factual.

The issuing of an Airworthiness Directive is a common occurrence. Dozens get issued every year and vary from minimal impact to significant impact. I don't find it particularly newsworthy, but flight global has an aviation focus and the A359 is still relatively new. It is a bit surprising to me that the news has been picked up by so many mainstream news organizations. Most probably are unaware of how common ADs are.
 
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eisenbach
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:10 am

Thanks for all the information!

Flightglobal is not the problem - the problem are the news, saying "A350 might explode". But maybe there is not much going on in Germany and Austria, so the journalists found an exiting new topic ;-)
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:27 am

Newbiepilot wrote:
TheLark wrote:
So why is this all over the news? This does not sound very spectacular to me. Did some scare-mongerer publish a story "they are all going to crash", and everybody else copied it?


I would not say the flightglobal article is scare mongering. It sounds mostly factual.

The issuing of an Airworthiness Directive is a common occurrence. Dozens get issued every year and vary from minimal impact to significant impact. I don't find it particularly newsworthy, but flight global has an aviation focus and the A359 is still relatively new. It is a bit surprising to me that the news has been picked up by so many mainstream news organizations. Most probably are unaware of how common ADs are.


Older generation aircraft like the A330/777/A320/737 have hundreds airworthiness directives. At the end of its career, the A350 will have many as well. I'm not sure if every airworthiness directives would be newsworthy.

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... irbus+a330
https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+777
https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... irbus+a320
https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+737
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ap305
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:43 pm

The tabloid type of headlines has made its way into the mainstream media.... Glad to see the media being equally silly towards the a350 as it was towards the 787.
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TheLark
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:46 pm

Newbiepilot wrote:
TheLark wrote:
So why is this all over the news? This does not sound very spectacular to me. Did some scare-mongerer publish a story "they are all going to crash", and everybody else copied it?

I would not say the flightglobal article is scare mongering. It sounds mostly factual.


But this one is: http://orf.at/stories/2404359/2404358/ (in German), and there are others in a similar vein. There are some factual articles in flightglobal and similar professional publications, but for some reason this AD has hit the mainstream media, and they are scaremongering.
Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops
 
Clipper136
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:01 pm

News via clickbait. If the headline read simply "new AD issued for Airbus aircraft", 99.9% of people would have ignored it. Revenue for theses "news" sites are based on mouse clicks.
You can't beat the Experience.
 
r2rho
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:30 pm

The A350 is going to explode!!!

Seriously though, this is a nuisance, as it means one cannot dispatch with an inop FTIS, which was possible previously. Same for one Pack inop, though it is rare to dispatch in that condition IIRC. I wonder what fix Airbus will develop...

Flightglobal is not the problem - the problem are the news, saying "A350 might explode". But maybe there is not much going on in Germany and Austria, so the journalists found an exiting new topic

With the AB insolvency, one would think they have enough to report about! This is another classic case of modern "reporting"....
 
Tristarsteve
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:18 pm

So what is different about the A350.? There are thousands of B737 (and many other aircraft) with hydraulic cooling grids in the fuel tanks and no fuel inerting system. Why are these not grounded until fuel inerting is fitted? Must be a fundamental difference in the A350 case drain cooling system over older aircraft. (ps retired now so no manuals available. Interested for the reason please))
 
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Aesma
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:23 pm

Plastic wings are a significant difference.
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thepinkmachine
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:23 pm

Tristarsteve wrote:
So what is different about the A350.? There are thousands of B737 (and many other aircraft) with hydraulic cooling grids in the fuel tanks and no fuel inerting system. Why are these not grounded until fuel inerting is fitted? Must be a fundamental difference in the A350 case drain cooling system over older aircraft. (ps retired now so no manuals available. Interested for the reason please))



Perhaps the issue isn't the HYD cooling in the tank, but the design of the EDP, which can lead to rapid heating of the fluid?
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OA940
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:39 pm

Glad they found a quick fix.
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DL_Mech
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:31 pm

Tristarsteve wrote:
(ps retired now so no manuals available.)


Congratulations on your retirement. Do retiring engineers get a lavatory truck salute over there?
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
 
strfyr51
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:40 pm

TheLark wrote:
So why is this all over the news? This does not sound very spectacular to me. Did some scare-mongerer publish a story "they are all going to crash", and everybody else copied it?


I'm mistaken (and I could Be) the fuel inerting system was mandated by the FAA after the TWA 747 went down off the Eastern Seaboard.
Most if not all the USA airlines have installed the system. It was NOT however mandated worldwide.
Methinks this might be the means to HAVE it mandated worldwide to comply with the FAA directive. could it Be a perpetration??
I have no Idea. What do any of YOU think??
 
Cebo29
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:18 am

Airworthiness Directive anyone?
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:06 am

Urgent directives are news, regardless of what company made the plane.
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WIederling
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:44 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Urgent directives are news, regardless of what company made the plane.


Not really.
Enough "urgent" EASA or FAA thingies that don't make it into the press, ever.

Some articles bring the directive into its proper place as "rather improbable"
to lead to a real incident.
Some just skim off the "danger of explosion" part and are rather over the top.
Across outlets covering seems to be near 100%
I'd be surprised if Boeing ever gets such press here :-)
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notdownnlocked
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:04 am

Techs/Engineers/Manufacturers deal with things like this everyday. This thread should be in the tech/ops forum.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:47 am

As mentioned above, the sensationalist press is being sensationalist. Certainly it is an issue, but I wouldn't hesitate to put my kids on a 350 tomorrow. We're talking minuscule risks to start with.

OA940 wrote:
Glad they found a quick fix.


The "quick fix" is a bunch of MEL changes forbidding dispatch if certain issues are detected. The long term fix, which will involve changes in the software logic and hardware changes, will take a bit longer. Either way, the threat is now managed.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
fpetrutiu
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:12 pm

"The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD), warning operators about a risk of the Airbus A350 hydraulic engine driven pump (EDP) overheating and causing a fire. EASA issued the AD because the A350’s hydraulic fluid cooling system is located in the fuel tanks. " ATWonline.com

That can't be good. I wonder who's genius idea was to put something that could potentially malfunction, overheat and cause a fire inside the fuel tank...
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Starlionblue
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:14 pm

fpetrutiu wrote:
"The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD), warning operators about a risk of the Airbus A350 hydraulic engine driven pump (EDP) overheating and causing a fire. EASA issued the AD because the A350’s hydraulic fluid cooling system is located in the fuel tanks. " ATWonline.com

That can't be good. I wonder who's genius idea was to put something that could potentially malfunction, overheat and cause a fire inside the fuel tank...


Stuff that can malfunction and overheat? Like the fuel pumps? Fuel-oil heat exchangers? Hydraulic fluid heat sinks? The sort of thing that has been sitting in airliner fuel tanks for decades quite safely...?

This is not a new and revolutionary design feature on the 350...

This is the Tech-Ops forum. How about coming here with a bit more facts and a bit less sensationalism?
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
r2rho
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:24 pm

There are thousands of B737 (and many other aircraft) with hydraulic cooling grids in the fuel tanks and no fuel inerting system. Why are these not grounded until fuel inerting is fitted?

As someone else has said, this seems to be a problem of the EDP rather than of the hydraulic cooling itself.

For FTIS, the FAA did not mandate a retrofit, only a forward fit. Older aircraft can fly without FTIS. Furthermore, not every forward-fit aircraft needs one. On A330 and A320, it is only the center fuel tank that is inerted. On A380 there is no FTIS (as no center tank). On A350, both center and wing fuel tanks are inerted. I believe all A350's have one regardless of airliner or geogprahic area, whereas generally only N-registered aircraft have been forward-fitted.
 
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747classic
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:17 pm

After carefully reading the contents of above mentioned EASA EMERCENY AD,
The engine driven hydraulic pump may develop an overheated condition.
The hydraulic fluid is cooled by the fuel. The tank has a fuel tank inerting system (FTIS)
The combination of a FTIS failure and a pump overheat may cause, if not detected, a fuel tank explosion.

The AD has made the dispatch requirements more stringent for certain failures (very odd that the actual MMEL changes are listed at the password protected Airbus site and not in the actual AD)

This emergency AD will probably only be a temporally solution, until a final fix has been found.
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frmrCapCadet
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:52 pm

An interesting aside: When fuel tank inerting systems were first discussed as an important safety system it was often acknowledged that any major change like this could have the unintended consequence of being a possible hazard in certain situations. In ships and planes these sorts of trade-offs are not uncommon. On balance FTIS are a good thing. Like others have said, as a passenger this is a non-event. I would not change travel plans.
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airmagnac
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:17 pm

r2rho wrote:

For FTIS, the FAA did not mandate a retrofit, only a forward fit.


IIRC authorities only require that tank "flammability" remain under a certain level. (definition of "Flammability" is provided)
FTIS is just one solution among others, although it is of course the most obvious one.


frmrCapCadet wrote:
When fuel tank inerting systems were first discussed as an important safety system it was often acknowledged that any major change like this could have the unintended consequence of being a possible hazard in certain situations.


Indeed, adding systems on top of a basic design, even if it is for safety purposes, will complexify the initial system. Which increases the chance of something going wrong. The book "Normal Accidents" even concludes that at some point the whole thing becomes so complex that accidents are unavoidable (IOW are the "norm" for such systems). Debatable, but the basic idea is sound.

In this case however the FTIS is the solution, not the problem. Through various interactions with other systems, switching the FTIS to NO GO has impacts by ripple effect on the dispatch conditions of those other components. But this is only an operational headache, not a safety breach.
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zeke
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:54 pm

Tristarsteve wrote:
So what is different about the A350.? There are thousands of B737 (and many other aircraft) with hydraulic cooling grids in the fuel tanks and no fuel inerting system. Why are these not grounded until fuel inerting is fitted? Must be a fundamental difference in the A350 case drain cooling system over older aircraft. (ps retired now so no manuals available. Interested for the reason please))


Simply comes down to the certification standard, the A350 is certified to a more current version where the 737 was not.
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kalvado
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:56 am

Starlionblue wrote:
fpetrutiu wrote:
"The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD), warning operators about a risk of the Airbus A350 hydraulic engine driven pump (EDP) overheating and causing a fire. EASA issued the AD because the A350’s hydraulic fluid cooling system is located in the fuel tanks. " ATWonline.com

That can't be good. I wonder who's genius idea was to put something that could potentially malfunction, overheat and cause a fire inside the fuel tank...


Stuff that can malfunction and overheat? Like the fuel pumps? Fuel-oil heat exchangers? Hydraulic fluid heat sinks? The sort of thing that has been sitting in airliner fuel tanks for decades quite safely...?

This is not a new and revolutionary design feature on the 350...

This is the Tech-Ops forum. How about coming here with a bit more facts and a bit less sensationalism?

Is it possible that some features of hydraulic system specific to A350 make a difference?
As far as I remember, A380 had increased hydraulic pressure to save on piping weight - lower diameter with almost same wall thickness, or something along those lines. Not sure if that was carried over to A350, but if it is... Fluid flow can be lower at higher pressure - could that translate into higher fluid temperature, since energy at the pump is likely about the same regardless of pressure?
Or maybe (pure speculation) super-next-gen higher temperature fluid to save on heat exchanger weight?
That could make a difference in terms of fuel evaporation and all that stuff...
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:41 am

A350 hydraulics indeed run at 5000 PSI, same as A380. However I don't know if that fact has any bearing on the item at hand.
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Tristarsteve
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:55 pm

A350 hydraulics indeed run at 5000 PSI, same as A380. However I don't know if that fact has any bearing on the item at hand


The cooling radiator in the fuel tanks is for the case drain flow. In a hydraulic pump a small flow of fluid is used to cool the pump and is then led away separately through a filter and via the radiator and back to the supply tank. The pressure is very low, around 100psi.
 
r2rho
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:38 pm

IIRC authorities only require that tank "flammability" remain under a certain level. (definition of "Flammability" is provided)
FTIS is just one solution among others, although it is of course the most obvious one.

Yes, that's actually correct. They didn't mandate the equipment per se. The equipment was just the means chosen by the OEMs to achieve the flammability levels required.
 
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Classa64
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:20 pm

How hot could the fluid really get? Enough to ignite fuel vapour seems a bit far fetched, I have no idea that's why the question.
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WIederling
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:49 am

Classa64 wrote:
How hot could the fluid really get? Enough to ignite fuel vapour seems a bit far fetched, I have no idea that's why the question.


I've seen hydraulics getting hot enough to have the oil coke and the scale and indicator on a pressure gauge turn into a molten mess.:-)
( marine application, variable volume pumps running in "give pressure" mode ( idle valve was stuck )
while no working oil volume is used.
The heat exchanger on the leak line had been removed and oil temps rose beyond 190°C

"Radiator": the design case is a heat exchanger ( between fluids.) no radiation involved.
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Newbiepilot
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:18 pm

Classa64 wrote:
How hot could the fluid really get? Enough to ignite fuel vapour seems a bit far fetched, I have no idea that's why the question.


I don't know Airbus, but on Boeing airplanes, the hydraulic system overheat indication is usually set around 100C. That's pretty hot, especially when the flashpoint of Jet A is 38C and autoignition is around 210C. If a hydraulic pump overheated and burnt up, I could see fluid getting to 210C. Skydrol turns a black color and has the consistency of thick oil when burnt.
 
wingscrubber
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:49 am

Engine driven pumps can overheat if the pressure compensator gets stuck, deadheading the pump, or if it's just excessively worn and you have very high case drain. Just two possibilities. Not sure what the exact issue is in this case, but at least A350 has Hyjet V which won't turn to sludge quite as quickly as LD4 fluids do.
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ImperialEagle
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:02 pm

TheLark wrote:
Newbiepilot wrote:
TheLark wrote:
So why is this all over the news? This does not sound very spectacular to me. Did some scare-mongerer publish a story "they are all going to crash", and everybody else copied it?

I would not say the flightglobal article is scare mongering. It sounds mostly factual.


But this one is: http://orf.at/stories/2404359/2404358/ (in German), and there are others in a similar vein. There are some factual articles in flightglobal and similar professional publications, but for some reason this AD has hit the mainstream media, and they are scaremongering.


Imagine, the mainstream media "scaremongering" :roll:
"If it "bleeds" it "leads". They no longer report "news", anyway, it's all "opinion".

Every new aircraft goes through a de-bugging process when it first enters revenue service. Mostly little gremlins that need tweaking. With modern technology being what it is today, it's unlikely to see wings come off due to flutter or other serious design issues already learned from the past. It's usually the cutting-edge stuff you have to watch.
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ap305
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Re: A350 urgent EASA directive - hydraulic pump fire danger

Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:36 pm

There is now a software update to address this issue near term....

http://ad.easa.europa.eu/ad/2017-0200
Racing, competing, is in my blood. It's part of me, it's part of my life; I've been doing it all my life. And it stands up before anything else- Ayrton Senna

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