Bolt Fracture High Pressure Turbine Disk Assembly


Pratt & Whitney Canada PW118A, Engine s/n 115120


Airnorth Regional experienced operational problems with a Pratt and Whitney Canada PW118A engine (engine s/n PC-E 115120). The problems ranged from hung starts resulting in aborted hot starts to vibration (sub-idle vibration) and noise from the high pressure (HP) rotor. These problems occurred over a period of several days. In order to resolve the problems the engine was removed from the aircraft to allow further investigation through disassembly.

Disassembly revealed that the bolted joint between the HP turbine disk and turbine stub shaft had failed. Of the five bolts used in the assembly, two had fractured in the threaded section. The remaining three bolts exhibited varying degrees of bending and thread damage.

After a detailed examination of the bolts by Pratt and Whitney Canada, it was concluded that the fracture of the two bolts and cracking in the remaining bolts was caused by corrosion fatigue, with sulphur being identified as the corrosive agent. It was proposed that the presence of sulphur was the result of environmental contamination.

Airnorth brought the bolt failure and subsequent analysis by the engine manufacturer to the attention of the ATSB. An independent review of the bolt failure analysis was undertaken by the ATSB.

Publication date: 15 June 2003
Related: Helicopter
Last update 07 April 2014
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