An engine failure that ignited a grass fire at the Charleston, S.C., airport last week has been traced to an engine shaft problem on a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner doing taxi tests.
The National Transportation Safety Board said today that a mid-shaft failure in one of two General Electric GE-nx-1B engines powering the Dreamliner caused hot engine parts to blow out the rear of the engines and ignite the fire in the dry grass.
The plane, the second Dreamliner built in Boeing’s new Charleston plant, was undergoing taxi tests before delivery to Air India. Aircraft operations at the airport were halted for more than an hour while the fire was extinguished and the runway cleared of debris.
The NTSB said the engine is being torn apart at General Electric’s engine plant to discover what can be done to prevent future failures.
The Dreamliner can be equipped with engines built by General Electric or by Rolls-Royce. Boeing last month discovered flaws in some gears in some of the Rolls-Royce engines. Dreamliner launch customer All Nippon Airways grounded several of its Dreamliners until the parts were replaced.