Boeing Co said one of the first revamped General Electric Co engines intended to power its 777X flight-test aircraft was damaged during a freak shipping accident last month.
While the incident isn’t expected to create a new delay for the 777X, it does add to a string of mishaps to confound Boeing’s newest model. The 777X is already behind schedule because of an engine durability issue. And in September, a cargo door blew out of an airframe during the closing minutes of an aerodynamic-stress test.
The hulking wide-body jet will be the first new Boeing airliner to face the rigors of certification since the 737 Max made its commercial debut in 2017. The Max, Boeing’s best-selling plane, has been grounded since March after two deadly crashes, thrusting the company into one of the worst crises in its 103-year history.
The damaged GE9X engine was among the first to be sent to Boeing with parts redesigned for greater durability. The rare mishap occurred last month during a hard landing while the turbofan was being ferried to Paine Field, adjacent to Boeing’s main wide-body factory in Everett, Washington.
Earlier this year, the company postponed the 777X’s initial flight after GE discovered wear issues for the compressor stator that affected about 18 engines.
“Safety is our highest priority. We are working closely with GE as they assess the condition of one GE9X engine damaged during shipment,” Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said. “At this time, there does not appear to be any major damage. Boeing recently received reconfigured engines for the first flight airplane and remains on track for first flight in early 2020.”
The GE9X is the world’s biggest engine, with an 11-foot front fan diametre, and the most powerful. It was clocked producing a record 134,300 pounds of thrust, GE said.