The NTSB is investigating a preflight incident over the weekend in which falling debris from a Boeing 787 engine triggered a grass fire at Charleston International Airport in South Carolina.
There were no injuries as a result of Saturday’s fire, but analysts are now looking into what caused the GEnx engine failure and whether an operational glitch played a role in the incident.
GEnx engines first entered into service last October and have since accumulated more than 125,000 hours in the air. They began flying on the Boeing 747 and were first used to power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner a few months ago.
Boeing reps say the airplane has not suffered this type of engine failure before, and they are unaware of any existing engine problems that would serve as cause for concern. Some analysts have also spoken out about the problem, maintaining it was more likely caused by a foreign object in the engine rather than an operational defect.
This weekend’s engine problem is the latest in a string of setbacks for the Dreamliner, the first airliner made of 50 percent composite materials. The revolutionary aircraft, which made its first passenger carrying flight last October, entered into service more than three years beyond schedule due to production delays and other glitches.
Earlier this year, Boeing uncovered incorrect shimming in the aft fuselage area of production Boeing 787s and just last week, All Nippon Airways, based in Japan, grounded its five Dreamliners after discovering corrosion during tests of the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce engines.