Posted by: Tim Lincoln | December 6, 2009

EASA Issues Airworthiness Directive Requiring Replacement of Fuel-to-Oil Heat Exchangers

The EASA issued an AD on Thursday requiring the replacement of FOHE units on Rolls-Royce RB211 Trent 500 and 700 series engines. This is in response to the crash of British Airways flight 38, a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft powered by a pair of RR RB211 Trent 800 engines, that occurred when the engines experienced a loss of power while on final approach to London-Heathrow. The cause was determined to be ice restricting the flow of fuel through the FOHE, and thus severely limiting the amount of fuel that was delivered to the engines.

The FAA has also issued a similar AD, targeting RR RB211 Trent 800 engines specifically. I find it interesting to note that both governing agencies have issued AD’s for similar engines, but different models. I am sure both agencies have their reasons for requiring changes to be made to the engines they specify, but it doesn’t make much sense that the engines specified by one agency are not also specified by the other.


  1. Sir/madam,

    I think the reason that the FAA is first in specifying the AD for the B777 whilst EASA has done so for the A330/A340 is that the FAA is the initial certifying agency for the B777 (country of manufacture) whereas EASA is the initial certifying agency for the Airbus aircraft (assembled in the EU).

    By convention, they will respectively be the lead agencies for ADs, etc for these respective manufacturers, although the Trent series engines are common to the UK.


    • That could very well be the case, but in both the FAA and EASA ADs that were issued, the aircraft were mentioned only as examples of aircraft the engine was installed on. They do not limit the scope of the AD to only those engines installed on those aircraft types. The FAA AD, for example, states “These engines are installed on, but not limited to, Boeing 777 series airplanes.”

      From my understanding of ADs, and I could be wrong about this, the AD affects any aircraft that operates within the jurisdiction of the authority that issued the AD. That means that if an aircraft operator wants to use a US registered and certified aircraft in Europe, the aircraft must comply with both FAA and EASA ADs that affect that particular aircraft and any equipment installed on it. If my understanding is correct on that, then in this instance any European operator using aircraft with RR RB211 Trent 800 engines (British Airways Boeing 777s, for example) would not have to comply with the FAA-issued AD if they simply did not fly the aircraft to the US, and vice versa for any US aircraft using the 500 and 700 series engines covered by the EASA-issued AD.

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