Rolls Royce under fire after hole in plane engine

A DISINTEGRATING fan or a loose engine part are considered the most likely causes of a gaping hole in the left engine covering of a China Eastern Airlines' A330 in Sydney.

The pilot became aware of an engine fault within seconds of takeoff from Sydney at 8.30 Sunday night, and radioed Air Traffic Control.

Passengers on board flight MU736 to Shanghai, reported hearing a loud bang then a burning smell sparking some concern.

The giant tear in the engine cowling that could be seen from the plane only served to heighten the alarm.

China Eastern Airlines flight MU736 suffered serious engine failure after takeoff from Sydney.
China Eastern Airlines flight MU736 suffered serious engine failure after takeoff from Sydney. Twitter

Air Traffic Controllers warned other aircraft landing in Sydney of the "engine loss" and raced to get a runway inspection completed.

In just over an hour, the A330 was safely back on the ground, and the 221 passengers deboarded.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau yesterday began an investigation, focusing on the Rolls Royce Trent 772 engine.

The damage after a China Eastern Airlines flight was forced to return to Sydney after take-off.
The damage after a China Eastern Airlines flight was forced to return to Sydney after take-off. 7NEWS

Airbus spokesman Ted Porter said they would assist investigators where required.

"We are in contact with the airline and Rolls-Royce and will support the investigation of this engine issue," said Mr Porter.

It was the second incident resulting in damage to an A330's left engine cowling in a month, following on from a strikingly similar occurrence involving an Egypt Air plane in Cairo.

Damage to the left engine of an Egypt Air A330 after takeoff in Cairo on May 17, 2017.
Damage to the left engine of an Egypt Air A330 after takeoff in Cairo on May 17, 2017. Simon/AvHerald.com

Aviation expert, Byron Bailey, a former Boeing 777 pilot, said it looked to him like "the fan blade detached from the large fan at the front of the engine and caused a penetration of the cowling".

"The interesting common denominator of the China Airlines A330, Egypt Air A330 one month ago in Cairo, and the magnificently handled Qantas A380 engine blow-up in Singapore years ago appears to be the very efficient Trent 700 engine," said Mr Bailey.

Air Traffic Controllers warned other aircraft landing in Sydney of the “engine loss”.
Air Traffic Controllers warned other aircraft landing in Sydney of the “engine loss”. Ten News

"I guess Rolls Royce, the manufacturer of the Trent series of engines, will be now be rapidly finding out the cause of this engine " blow-up" and issuing instructions to airlines if any action such as immediate inspection is required."

Fellow aviation expert, Trevor Jensen, said if the engine had recently undergone work, a loose part may have caused the damage to the cowling.

"It is very unusual," said Mr Jensen.

China Eastern Airlines' General Manager for the Oceania region, Kathy Zhang, said the A330 remained under investigation at Sydney Airport.

"All passengers and crew members were landed safely. They were then arranged accommodation by China Eastern Airlines," said Ms Zhang.

"Today (MON) the passengers have been arranged to fly to their destinations on either China Eastern flights or other airlines."

News Corp Australia


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