US and Europe consider new aircraft engine certification criteria for flocking birds

March 17, 2011 at 8:21 am | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Flightglobal

A new analysis under way in the USA and Europe will determine whether “large” flocking birds – those weighing more than 1.13kg (2.5lb) each – are a growing threat to narrowbody aircraft and, as such, should be part of the engine certification criteria.

Heightening the expectations of the work, which began in 2009, are several recommendations by the US National Transportation Safety Board from its wrap-up of the January 2009 ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson river.

The NTSB, after its May 2010 final meeting on the Hudson river accident, asked the FAA to have the bird-ingestion rulemaking advisory group determine if the 2007 large-flocking-bird engine requirement should apply to smaller engines such as the CFM56, with inlet areas less than 2.5m2.

“The working group has agreed that the core ingestion element of the overall bird ingestion threat needs closer evaluation against the safety objective of the rule, and against our standard practices for conducting such tests,” says the FAA. “At this time no final conclusion has been reached.”

Included with the EASA, the FAA, Airbus and Boeing in the rulemaking committee are engine makers General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce.

The FAA will in turn respond to the NTSB recommendation. Engine manufacturers developing new-generation engines are spending significant resources on new fan designs, a process complicated by comprehensive bird-ingestion survival criteria, even with today’s criteria. [Full story]


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