The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident in which a Delta Air Lines Boeing 777 experienced an uncommanded engine rollback in the cruise phase of an intercontinental flight.
On Nov. 26, 2008, at about 12:30 pm MST, in the vicinity of Great Falls, MT, a 777-200ER (N862DA), operated by Delta Air Lines as Flight 18, en route from Shanghai to Atlanta, experienced an uncommanded rollback of the right (number 2) Rolls-Royce Trent 895 engine while at 39,000 feet in the cruise phase of flight. The crew executed applicable flight manual procedures and descended to 31,000 feet. The engine recovered and responded normally thereafter. The flight continued to Atlanta where it landed without further incident. None of the crew of 15 or 232 passengers was injured.
Flight data recorders and other applicable data and components were retrieved from the airplane for testing and evaluation. Both of the pilots have been interviewed.
This event is preceded by another airline's 777 equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 895 engines, which experienced an uncommanded dual engine rollback while on final approach to London's Heathrow International Airport on Jan. 17, 2008, crashing short of the runway on airport property. The United Kingdom's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating that accident.
NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator Bill English, who is serving as the U.S. Accredited Representative in the Heathrow accident investigation, is the Investigator in Charge of the Delta incident.
The AAIB, which has assigned an Accredited Representative to the Delta incident, is working closely with the NTSB to determine if there are issues common to both events.
Parties to the investigation are: the Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Eaton-Argotech, Delta Air Lines, and the Air Line Pilots Association.
In two cases a build-up of ice on the fuel/oil heat exchanger restricted the flow, resulting in an uncommanded engine rollback.
The interim report contains recommendations aimed at addressing a circumstance identified by investigators relating to Rolls Royce-powered Boeing 777 aircraft.
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