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Potential Engine Failures Found in GE and CFM Engines

US and European regulators have warned that more GE Aerospace and CFM International engines could be susceptible to premature failures due to a manufacturing defect. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first raised the issue last year, stating that in airworthiness directives (AD), a small number of CFM Leap-1A, GE GEnx and GE90 engines could have components produced with contaminated material. The FAA indicated that the material could contain "iron inclusion", according to Flightglobal. The US regulator reported that more Leap-1A and GEnx engines could have faulty components, while its European counterpart pointed out a similar problem with some Leap-1B engines.

The issue involves a small number of GE Aerospace GEnx turbofans, which power the 787. In an AD published on April 12, the FAA stated that "certain compressor rotor stage 6-10 disks and front seals on some GEnx engines were manufactured with powder metal material suspected to contain iron inclusions." "An investigation by the manufacturer determined that the iron inclusion was introduced during the manufacturing process, from degraded raw material filtration screens," the proposed rule states.

The proposal states that only 13 engines on registered US aircraft are affected but does not specify whether they are 787s or 747-8s; if confirmed, operators will be required to replace affected components. "GE Aerospace is taking proactive steps through a service bulletin specifying a removal threshold for a subset of affected engine parts," the engine manufacturer said.

The issue involves possible contamination of a metal alloy used to manufacture certain components of rotary engines, although the problem is contained and is being worked on with a supplier to determine the cause, GE Aerospace said. The company also says it has no evidence that the problem poses an immediate risk to flight safety.

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