Yesterday, Rolls-Royce announced the finding of cracks on Trent XWB-84 engine blades that power the Airbus A350.

The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB has two variants, the XWB-84 and the XWB-97, that power the A350-900 and the A350-1000 respectively.

This engine is considered to be one of the most efficient engines ever built. Since it began service five years ago, it has travelled an average of 14 million kilometres with no unplanned maintenance and record low levels of in-flight disruption.

Trent XWB-97 engine on the A350-1000

Rolls-Royce Findings

The engine manufacturer explains that the earliest engines are now approaching their first scheduled shop visits, around five years, 2,300-3,400 cycles, after entering into service on the Airbus A350.

“The Trent XWB-84 has experienced the smoothest entry into service of any widebody engine we have developed. It is the most efficient in- service large civil aero-engine in the world, with unequalled on-wing reliability.”

said Chris Cholerton, President of Civil Aerospace at RR

“Engines now coming in for overhaul have travelled the equivalent of 350 times around the world, with no unplanned maintenance. It is reassuring to see that our proactive inspection regime has enabled us to identify and swiftly address this issue and minimise any potential impact on our customers.”

During these routine inspections, RR discovered indications of wear in the Intermediate Pressure Compressor (IPC). These were identified on a small number of engines, those that had been in service for four to five years and were approaching their first overhaul. None of these engines have experienced any abnormal in-flight operation.

As a result of these findings, all other XWB-84 engines, with similar service life, will now be inspected as a precaution.

“There are currently just over 100 Trent XWB-84s that have been in service for four to five years. We have inspected the majority of them and found signs of wear on an average of only 1 or 2 IPC blades in a minority of those inspected. We have also taken the precaution of sampling a number of younger Trent XWB-84 engines and have found no unexpected wear.”

Rolls-Royce Statment

Feature Image by Rolls-Royce