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#3195286 - 11/22/13 10:09 PM RB211 side smoke?
crinkles Offline


Registered: 05/28/07
Posts: 5557
Loc: earth
We took a flight from Johannesburg to Sydney recently on Qantas Flight 64. It is operated by a 747-400 with Rolls-Royce RB211-524G-T engines.

We were sitting on the right outside window, and could see engine #4 (and none other). On taxi we noticed smoke coming from a port on the side of the engine. Swirling, not jetting. This continued during takeoff, and climbout, but obviously became a smoother stream on climbout.

It is disconcerting to see this at the start of a 12 hour flight across the Southern Ocean (Went down to 51 degree south). I assumed they knew what they were doing though...

The smoke was white, probably oil related? As the sun set pretty quick after climbout, didn't pay it a second thought. Taxiing on the ground in Sydney, the swirling smoke was still billowing out.

Was this engine burning oil? does it need a seal replacement?

Here is a good photo, on a different airline though, but same port - just under the Rolls Royce decal.

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Cathay-Pa...732b0b51c77ef00

http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=jnb-syd


Edited by crinkles (11/22/13 10:16 PM)

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#3195307 - 11/22/13 10:54 PM Re: RB211 side smoke? [Re: crinkles]
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 5291
Loc: Canada
"It is disconcerting to see this at the start of a 12 hour flight across the Southern Ocean (Went down to 51 degree south). I assumed they knew what they were doing though...

The smoke was white, probably oil related?"

It's British, it's supposed to do that.

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#3195324 - 11/22/13 11:20 PM Re: RB211 side smoke? [Re: crinkles]
MolaKule Offline


Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 18444
Loc: Iowegia - USA
The Rolls-Royce RB211-524G-T is the more fuel efficient version of
the RB211 with a Trent Hot core section and an extra bleed valve.

I suspect the bleed was actually steam.

Or else it needs a serious head gasket replacement. grin2 oilburner
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#3195398 - 11/23/13 07:08 AM Re: RB211 side smoke? [Re: MolaKule]
JetStar Offline


Registered: 10/02/08
Posts: 1504
Loc: Flatlands of Indiana
My first thought was a bearing sump vent, but I don't know RR engines very well.
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#3195474 - 11/23/13 08:33 AM Re: RB211 side smoke? [Re: crinkles]
Astro14 Offline


Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 7873
Loc: Virginia Beach
Oil vent most likely.

But jet engines hold quite a bit of oil and the pilots have oil pressure, oil temperature and oil quantity gauges. The aircraft monitors those parameters as well...to provide warning if a parameter reaches an alert or critical level. The airline monitors consumption and does analysis on the oil.

So, nothing to worry about, frankly.
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#3196435 - 11/24/13 09:01 AM Re: RB211 side smoke? [Re: crinkles]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 6496
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
Absolutely normal for rolls engines. They use pressurized labyrinth seals, with no mechanical seal at all. The outboard vent you see is much the same as a crankcase vent going overboard on a car, instead of a PCV system. It will show oil vapor. In cruise flight, it seals very well and little oil is lost.

Other manufacturers do it differently and you don't see the oil mist.

On our company jet, a G550, both Br710 engines have oil vapor swirling about at idle. I think it looks cheap. But, oil consumption is nil, so it must be as effective as any other system.


Edited by Cujet (11/24/13 09:04 AM)
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#3197213 - 11/25/13 12:53 AM Re: RB211 side smoke? [Re: crinkles]
crinkles Offline


Registered: 05/28/07
Posts: 5557
Loc: earth
Thanks guys. Great Info. Would the amount of venting be different from engine to engine? This is the first time I've seen it. Perhaps that engine was a bit more worn?

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#3197714 - 11/25/13 01:25 PM Re: RB211 side smoke? [Re: crinkles]
Astro14 Offline


Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 7873
Loc: Virginia Beach
Yes, the venting will vary from engine to engine...these things all have large sumps, scavenge pumps, air/oil coolers, fuel/oil coolers, etc...pretty robust oil systems to feed the bearings oil at a nice, stable temperature and pressure....
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#3210283 - 12/08/13 10:57 AM Re: RB211 side smoke? [Re: JetStar]
Propflux01 Offline


Registered: 09/26/02
Posts: 3314
Loc: Arkansastan
Originally Posted By: JetStar
My first thought was a bearing sump vent, but I don't know RR engines very well.


My thinking as well (labyrinth seal). I've seen that a lot on T-56, but out the combined bottom drain.
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#3218072 - 12/16/13 04:59 AM Re: RB211 side smoke? [Re: crinkles]
john_pifer Offline


Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 1445
Loc: Nashville, TN via Memphis
The RB-211 bankrupted RR. They'd be outta business today had the Brit govt not bailed them out.
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