In order to prevent overheating engine-housing components, which might cause them to break away from the plane, U.S. regulators are advising airlines to restrict the use of anti-icing technology on Boeing 737 Max jets in dry air.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the risk to the flying public is so great that the order will go into force in just 15 days without first allowing for public response.
According to the FAA, if the engine intake becomes overheated, pieces of the housing may fall loose and crash into a window, leading to decompression and posing a risk to passengers sitting in window seats.
All Max variants that use LEAP-1B engines are impacted by the discovery. A joint venture between General Electric and Safran of France produces the engines under the name CFM International.
A Southwest Airlines passenger lost her life in 2018 when a piece of the engine housing from an older Boeing 737 aircraft fell off and shattered the window adjacent to her seat.
A damaged fan blade was the cause of that engine failure. The overheating issue has not been reported to have occurred on Max flights, according to the FAA. It claimed that the possibility of damage was found in June during flight testing and analysis.
According to Boeing, overheating of the inlets—which are manufactured by Boeing, not CFM—can only occur under “very specific” circumstances and wasn’t previously recognized.
According to a statement from the business, “Boeing has identified measures to mitigate the potential issue and is working with our customers to deploy those measures while a permanent fix is developed.
Engine anti-ice, which uses hot air from the engine to heat the housing and prevent the formation of ice that could be sucked into the engines, is the issue that the FAA has brought up.
The FAA is mandating that airlines and pilots not use engine anti-ice in dry air for more than five minutes in their flight manuals. Otherwise, the engine inlet inner barrel could be heated over its design limit, according to the FAA, “during certain combinations of altitude, total air temperature,” and engine settings.
This can harm the inlet barrel.
According to the FAA, if pieces of the engine housing come loose, they could damage other important components of the aircraft as well as the glass, potentially causing the pilots to lose control.
The FAA said that the regulation will be published in the Federal Register on Thursday. In 2018 and 2019, two Boeing Max airplanes crashed, leaving 346 people dead.
The automatic flight-control system that forced the plane’s nose down based on inaccurate sensor readings was the focus of the investigations. After the first crash, Boeing informed airlines and pilots about the technology.