Precursors

Photo of similar GEAE engine on test stand
Photo of similar GEAE engine on test stand

Diagram of CF6-6 Engine Wings Installation
Diagram of CF6-6 Engine Wings Installation
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On November 15, 1972, American Airlines experienced a CF6 engine failure during test cell operation. The bellmouth and exhaust cone separated and all fan blades were liberated. The failure investigation focused on the cause of the failure as being the improper installation of the bellmouth to the engine, specifically the installation of the bolts by American Airlines. It was eventually determined that the bellmouth had been properly installed, and the failure had been a result of the interactive mode.

On January 12, 1973, GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) experienced a similar failure of a highly instrumented CF6 engine (engineering test) during test cell operation. This failure was initiated by the rubbing between the fan rotor and casing and resulted in damage similar to the other occurrences. The engine test cell was substantially damaged.

The GEAE engine was instrumented and was undergoing engineering tests in part as a result of the previous American Airlines test cell failure. At the time, these failures were not fully understood and the risk for a repeat event to a revenue service engine was not recognized.

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