Pratt & Whitney Investigating GTF Engine Vibrations

A geared turbofan engine in testing. Pratt & Whitney

Pratt & Whitney is reportedly investigating cases of excessive engine vibration in its new geared turbofan engines that power Airbus's A320neo. Pilots have received alerts of high vibration levels in flight and the FAA is currently studying the problem. Pratt & Whitney, a part of United Technologies Corp., has not yet identified the cause of the vibration, according to Bloomberg News and is reported to be working closely with customers to retrofit affected aircraft.

While the geared turbofan is an efficient upgrade for jet airliners, its introduction into commercial service has been marred by a series of issues. For example, Qatar Airways experienced uneven cooling in the geared turbofan engines used to power their A320neos. Qatar eventually swapped its order for 50 A320neos to 50 A321neos from CFM engines. Bloomberg News said India's IndiGo, Airbus' largest A320neo customer has been forced to replace 69 of the Pratt & Whitney GTFs in 18 months.

In 2014, Flying reported that a GTF suffered an uncontained engine failure during testing of a Bombardier CSeries flight test vehicle. That aircraft was later renamed the Airbus A220.


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