Aviation News Online

737MAX fleet grounded

As Boeing looks to ramp-up 737Max production and airlines await the aircraft we learn that the 737Max has been grounded due to an engine problem. The issue was confirmed by Boeing in an emailed statement to Aviation News Online: “CFM has notified us of a potential manufacturing quality escape with low pressure turbine (LPT) discs in LEAP 1B engines delivered to Boeing.

“We are working with CFM to inspect the discs in question. CFM and its supplier notified us after discovering the issue as a part of their quality inspection process. At no time have we experienced an issue associated with the LPT during our ongoing MAX testing program.

Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to temporarily suspend MAX flights. The step is consistent with our priority focus on safety for all who use and fly our products.

“The MAX 8 flight test program put over 2,000 hours on the engines, including abuse testing and flights lasting over 9 hours, undergoing thorough inspections throughout. Additionally, 180-minute ETOPS testing completed in March, 2017 required another 3,000 simulated flight cycles on the test stand, before a complete inspection was conducted by CFM. The LEAP 1B and 737 MAX have been certified to the most stringent requirements in commercial aviation.

“We will work closely with CFM to understand the precise scope and root cause of the quality issue. Our plan remains to begin MAX deliveries in May. MAX production will continue, as will production and delivery of our Next-Generation 737 airplanes.”

Although this is serious enough problem to ground the current test fleet, a delay in deliveries might be a good thing for some airlines and lessors.

Date: May 10, 2017