Tag Archives: Rolls Royce

You Can Buy A RAF Tornado’s RB199 Turbofan Engine on eBay

If you have some free space at home, you might be interested in this item.

A Turbo Union RB199 engine, previously used in the Tornado jet (not clear which variant), is on sale on eBay here.

Listed as a Rolls Royce RB199 (actually, Turbo Union, a joint venture between three European aero-engine manufacturers: FiatAvio (now Avio), MTU Aero Engines and RR, produces the engine), the article is said to come straight from the MoD that deemed the jet engine in question as not airworthy and unservicable, even though complete.

Two RB199 engines power the Tornado multirole combat aircraft. 2,500 engines have been delivered since 1979 to the armed forces of Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia accumulating close to 6.0 million engine flying hours. The RB199 was designed

“In order to meet the many different mission requirements of the Tornado, in particular extreme low-level missions, a three-shaft design with afterburner and thrust reverser was selected. The Digital Engine Control Unit (DECU) reduces the pilot’s workload during operation and supports on-condition maintenance,” a public datasheet says. “The fact that the RB199 is still a very modern combat engine with future growth potential is a confirmation of its advanced design. Modular construction allows damaged modules to be replaced within the minimum turnaround time, thus ensuring greater availability of the aircraft. Its unprecedented reliability has not only been demonstrated in hostile environmental conditions but also in combat. The most recent production standard, Mk105, powers the German ECR (Electronic Combat Reconnaissance) Tornado.”

A detail of the RB199 sold on ebay. (Image credit: eBay/GI JOE ARMY STORES)

The engine was also used in the EAP Demonstrator assembled at, and flown from, Warton in Lancashire, England, and the early prototype Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, both types without thrust reversers.

At 6,500 GBP (about 9,000 USD), the 3.5 meter x 1 meter x 1.1 meter item seems to be a bargain; however, if you decided to acquire it, shipping would be a subject to extra cost.

The seller, GI Joe Army Stores, specializes in dealing with ex-MoD material – as a quick peek through his listings seems to suggest.

Following the imminent withdrawal of the Tornado jets, we may see more and more items like that listed on eBay. Some RB199s are on public display: one at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford and Brooklands Museum Weybridge, and another one at the Morayvia Centre in Kinloss.

Image Credit: eBay/GI JOE ARMY STORES

Another Qantas engine failure?! The wrong week to fly from Singapore to Sydney?

The Qantas Airbus A380 uncontained engine failure experienced by QF32 on departure from Singapore on Nov. 4, 2010, has already made the news. The following day, Nov. 5, a B747-400ER “VH-OJD” flying from Singapore to Sydney as QF6 was compelled to return to Changi for a failure on engine #1. When I first heard of this new emergency I thought to joke but the mishap has been confirmed by Qantas spokeman.
Pure coincidence? Maybe. However, please notice that: both flights departed Singapore for Sydney, both Qantas flights, both 4 engines aircraft, both Rolls Royce powered, both experiencing engine #1 failures.

Qantas Airbus 380 uncontained engine failure

Two months ago, commenting about the uncontained engine failure involving the Qantas B747-400 just departed from San Francisco (for details read here) I wrote: “Unlike other minor failures occuring almost daily everywhere, an uncontained failure (that is quite different from an engine explosion….), is somehow rare, but not a big deal (if there’s no damage to the wing or fuselage caused by a separated engine part), especially if happening in the vicinity of the departure airport”. What happened to QF32, an Airbus A380 from Singapore to Sydney somehow prove that such kind of emergency is not as rare at least for Qantas aircraft…. On Nov. 4, 2010, Airbus 380 “VH-OQA”, the first A380-800 flying with Qantas, with 433 passengers and 26 crew members on board, experienced an uncontained engine failure 30 minutes after departure from Singapore and was compelled to return to Changi airport where it performed a successful emergency landing after circling above the sea for fuel dumping. Parts from the #2 engine punctured the left wing while debris fell on the ground (fortunately, nobody was hurt). Even if the cause of the failure is obviously still unknown, as a consequence of the engine problem Qantas grounded its seven Airbus 380s, to be followed, according to rumors, by the Singapore and Lufthansa ones in the next few hours (Qantas, Singarpore and Lufthansa A380s are equipped with the Rolls Royce Trent 900 variant power plant – while Air France and Emirates are powered by Engine Alliance GP7200 engines). Since I’ve not heard latelyabout similar events involving aircraft of other airlines, what happened to QF32 raises a question: what’s wrong in the Rolls Royce – Qantas duo? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps Qantas planes with Rolls Royce engines had just bad luck but investigation will have to analyse also airline’s maintenance procedures as well as engine design and type of material used to build engine components at RR.
So, what have we learnt so far from this event?
1) engine failures happens (on 4 engine aircraft but also on 2 or 3 engine planes – the number of engines is statistically irrelevant)
2) uncontained engine failures are not so dangerous, provided they don’t cause damages to the wing or fuselage
3) in the last two occurrences, the “uncontainment” happened few minutes after departure (hence, in such a phase of flight in which stress on engine is at the highest level)
4) aircraft experiencing this type of emergency can return to the departure aerodrome safely
5) this was the most serious incident worldwide involving an A380 since it entered service three years ago
6) aircraft parts sometimes fall from the sky (as in Donnie Darko movie….) so be careful :)

BA038 crash landing caused by fuel icing

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) issued on Sept. 4 an interim report concerning concerning the accident to the British Airways Boeing 777-236ER, G-YMMM that crash landed short of RWY 27L at London Heathrow airport on Jan 17, 2008.
According to the report, that can be downloaded at the following address (http://www.aaib.dft.gov.uk/publications/interim_reports/boeing_777_236er__g_ymmm.cfm) the engines lost power during the final phase of the approach because ice accumulated next to the engine fuel feed system. The ice probably formed because water (naturally) existing in the fuel dropped below the water’s freezing temperature. Even if the aircraft operated within the certified envelope, the temperature recorded during the flight from Beijing to London, was lower than usual.
Aviation fuel contains water. Fuel tanks usually have low percentages of fuel below the freezing point of water because it is impossible to drain all the water out of them. So, the first option to try to avoid such problems to repeat, would be to inhibit water from becoming ice, a result that could be obtained by using additives. Another option, could be to implement a different fuel tank, even if it is an expensive and long term measure. In the meanwhile, using FSII (Fuel System Icing Inhibitor) or make operational change could reduce the risk of ice restricting fuel flow like happened to the BA038 flight. Obviously, changing for example the cruising altitude to prevent temperature from dropping too low (with the always growing cost of fuel) is not an option. Although the investigation is still in progress, to reduce the risk of fuel icing the AAIB released safety recommendations “to introduce interim measures for the Boeing 777, powered by Trent 800 engines, to reduce the risk of ice formed from water in aviation turbine fuel causing a restriction in the fuel feed system”, “to consider the implications of the findings of the investigation on other certificated airframe / engine combinations” and “to review the current certification requirements to ensure that aircraft and engine fuel systems are tolerant to the potential build-up and sudden release of ice in the fuel system.

B747-400s, B777s (and an A330) in Fiumicino

After discussing a lot about the safety issues of the B747-400 and B777 fleets, I thought it could be interesting to go to Fiumicino to watch some wide-bodies arriving or departing from Rome airport and visually assess their status. Among the interesting details I could notice spending more or less an hour on Sunday Aug. 3, was the red “Emirates” writing below the fuselage and the URL of the company’s website applied to B777-300 “A6-EMN” (that I had never spotted before in “Fiume”) and the skidding front landing gear of the landing Air China B744 “B-2458”.