NTSB names lead investigator in Boeing 787 engine failure probe

National Transportation Safety Board Chair Deborah Hersman at a May 2011 meeting. (File)

The National Transportation Safety Board today assigned an investigator to find out why a General Electric engine on a South Carolina-made Boeing 787 failed during a test run at Charleston International Airport over the weekend.

David Helson is the investigator in charge, the agency said in a statement.

In the next few days, an aircraft powerplants expert and a metallurgist from the NTSB Materials Lab will go to a GE plant in Cincinnati, to lead and coordinate the disassembly and examination of the engine.

On Sunday, the agency sent an aviation investigator with expertise in aircraft engines to the scene of the incident“to gather information to better understand the circumstances of the event.”

Boeing and GE notified the NTSB that the newly built 787 experienced an engine failure at 4:07 p.m. Saturday during a pre-delivery taxi test.

As a result of the failure, it has been reported that the engine left debris on the active runway at Charleston International and caused a brush fire in a nearby grassy area.

There were no passengers aboard the aircraft and no one was injured.

The airport, which is down to one active runway because of maintenance, had to be shut down for more than an hour.

The NTSB is an independent federal agency that’s chaired by Deborah Hersman.

The Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing and GE are parties to the investigation.

For more details, see Wednesday’s editions of The Post and Courier.