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By Dale Smith B


ack in the days when airlines probably spent more on in-flight meals than on Jet-A, turbine engine washing was pretty much relegated to being part of an engine’s major overhaul program. When the engine was removed from the wing, it was carted over to a dedicated


washstand where it was sprayed with a mixture of detergents and solvents then washed out. All the dirt, pollutants and chemicals just ran down a storm drain. Then, as the story goes, sometime in the mid-1990’s, sandwiched between mounting pressure from


environmental groups, the need to keep their engines on-wing longer and the increasing price of jet fuel, airlines were forced to reexamine their engine washing policies and procedures. It had become quite evident that while that generation of turbofan engines were extremely


reliable and efficient, constant exposure to airborne contaminants like salt, chemicals, soot, and unburned hydrocarbons were causing a phenomenon known as “compressor fouling.” Once a level of contamination is reached engine components had to work harder to compress a defined amount of air to achieve the desired power output. The results were rising engine temperatures, increased fuel burn and an overall degradation of engine performance and life. One solution was to wash the core of the engine more frequently. Simple enough. But the airlines


were still faced with the challenge of completing engine washes while following the increasingly restrictive environmental guidelines found at most major airports. It was just too expensive and time consuming to remove the engines and take them to a dedicated washing facility. To help solve the problem, Juniper Aircraft Service Equipment started working with a major air carrier to develop an on-wing washing process for the operator’s high-cycle, CFM56-5C engines. Using equipment already developed for the military, Juniper designed a wash rig that used specially designed washing probes to deliver hot water into the engine’s core. The resulting wash not only resulted in an effective cleaning, it also greatly reduced the problem of “smoke” entering the cabin as any residual detergents were burned out of the engine during first start up.


Certified Aviation Services is the U.S. partner for Lufthansa Technik’s Cyclean Engine Wash system. Engine washing removes contaminants and reduces EGT. The process is getting easier, CAS says.


Photo: Lufthansa Technik


Aviation Maintenance | avm-mag.com | June / July 2012 51 49


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