max: Post-snag, DGCA to keep eye on SpiceJet 737 Max

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NEW DELHI: India has decided to mount strict surveillance on the Boeing 737 Max that fly in the country following a snag in an engine of one of these planes on December 9. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given SpiceJet — the only Indian airline operating the Max — an elaborate list of preventive measures that involve monitoring aircraft and engine performance data.
“So far seven Boeing 737 Max (of SpiceJet) were flying in India post their return to service (last month). One has been grounded following an engine snag. The other six will fly under increased regulatory surveillance. SpiceJet has been given a list of parameters to observe very closely and report if any deviation from accepted levels like oil temperature, pressure and engine vibration is noticed to us immediately,” DGCA chief Arun Kumar said.
This Thursday a Max had taken off from Mumbai for Kolkata as SG-467. One of its CFM LEAP-1B engines developed a snag and the pilots switched it off inflight. The aircraft returned to Mumbai safely on one engine.
SpiceJet, which had 13 Max in India when they were globally grounded in March 2019, had so far seen seven of those return to service (RTS) after carrying the required modifications. An initial probe into Thursday’s engine snag, say people in the know, indicates a metal chip in it had broken. Boeing and CFM are together working to examine the exact part from which the chip broke. The chip sample has been sent to a Bengaluru lab, Global Technical Centre India.
Not taking any chances, the DGCA is closely examining the RTS program of the remaining six Max to ensure that this job was not done in a hurry. The regulator has asked SpiceJet to follow specific “maintenance actions” for 15 days. These include recording of hydraulic and engine oil quantity before and after each flight; visual inspection for signs of leakages of engine oil and hydraulic oil before and after each flight; recording of any variation of oil temperature and pressure indications after every flight; monitoring of engine vibration during every flight sector. Any exceedances (deviation in recoding from exceeding levels) has to be reported to the DGCA immediately.
Engine-manufacturer CFM on Friday had said in a statement to TOI that it is “aware of a technical issue that resulted in SpiceJet flight SG467, a Boeing 737 MAX airplane powered by LEAP-1B engines, to return to Mumbai shortly after takeoff on December 9. The company is coordinating with SpiceJet, Boeing, and India’s DGCA to gather data to determine the root cause of this event.” As of now, CFM is the only engine option for B737 Max.
“There are currently more than 1,460 LEAP-1B engines in service with nearly 60 operators worldwide. Through November 2021, the fleet had logged about 30 lakh engine flight hours and more than 11 lakh engine flight cycles. The first LEAP-1B-powered Boeing 737 MAX entered service on May 2017,” the CFM statement had added.

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