This Feb. 22, 2016 file photo shows a British Airways plane undergoing repairs sits on the tarmac at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Officials say flight-worthiness tests are being conducted in Las Vegas on a repaired British Airways jet that caught fire while passengers escaped an aborted takeoff in September. The damaged engine was removed and replaced, and officials said they planned to restore the rest of the big Boeing 777 to airworthiness so it could be flown from McCarran International Airport to repair facilities abroad.
Airworthiness tests have been conducted in Las Vegas on a British Airways jet that was damaged by an engine fire while passengers escaped an aborted takeoff almost six months ago, officials said Friday.
An airline official wouldn't say when the repaired Boeing 777 will be flown out of McCarran International Airport, or where it will go. But airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said it was towed late Thursday to an inactive runway for engine testing while firefighters stood by. No mishaps were reported, and airport operations weren't affected.
British Airways Flight 2276 was barreling down a runway Sept. 8 for what would have been a 10-hour flight to London with 157 passengers and 13 crew members aboard when its left engine burst into flames.
The plane screeched to a halt with fire and smoke billowing beneath the wing while all 170 people escaped down evacuation slides. No one was seriously hurt.
Since then, the aircraft has remained in a corner of the McCarran property while the fire-damaged General Electric engine was removed and replaced by the manufacturer.
Victoria Madden, a British Airways spokeswoman in New York, said in a statement that Boeing technicians have worked to repair the aircraft "to the same high standards as if the aircraft was brand new."
A Boeing spokesman referred questions to British Airways.
The aircraft was built in 1998, outfitted with GE90 engines of the type used in most Boeing 777s. It was registered to British Airways a year later. In its 14 years of service, it flew nearly 77,000 hours, according to the British Civil Aviation Authority.
Early findings by the National Transportation Safety Board were that a catastrophic failure occurred at a crucial compression point when the engine was under the highest pressure, although investigators said they weren't immediately sure what caused it.
On the tarmac, investigators recovered several 7- to 8-inch fragments from the spool assembly of the high-pressure engine compressor. They noted some shards apparently sliced through the armored shell around the engine.
Board spokesman Eric Weiss said this week the investigation was continuing.
GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy said Friday the company examined more than 50 model GE90 engines of similar configuration and age, and found no anomalies and no clues about what might have caused the fire in Las Vegas.
"Those engines were without issue," Kennedy said. "We're looking at other early-model GE90s to see if there's a pattern. So far, they haven't found anything."
GE Aviation has said the spool, which holds the blades in the GE90-85B engine, was among the first ever made for that model in 1995.
About 400 base GE90 engines are being used to power 167 aircraft worldwide, according to the company.
Kennedy said the spool and blades of all GE90 engines built before 2001 are being inspected during scheduled overhaul and maintenance.
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NTSB Identification: DCA15FA185
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 129: Foreign operation of BRITISH AIRWAYS PLC
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 08, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV
Aircraft: BOEING COMPANY BOEING 777-236, registration: G-VIIO
Injuries: 1 Serious, 5 Minor, 164 Uninjured.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On September 8, 2015, about 1613 pacific daylight time (PDT), British Airways flight 2276, a Boeing 777-200, equipped with two GE90-85B engines, registration G-VIIO, experienced a #1 engine uncontained failure during takeoff ground roll on runway 7L at McCarran International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada. The #1 engine, inboard left wing, and a portion of the left and right fuselage sustained fire damage. Resulting fire was extinguished by airport rescue and fire fighting. The 157 passengers, including 1 lap child, and 13 crew members evacuated via emergency slides on the runway. There were 5 minor injuries and 1 serious injury as a result of the evacuation. The airplane was substantially damaged. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 129 and was en route to London - Gatwick Airport (LGW), Horley, England.