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Rotational torsion fatigue failure of an engine driven fuel pump coupling


B. Withy. E-mail:


Between 2005 and 2007 serious flight safety concerns arose when a small fleet of single engine basic trainer aircraft experienced five critical failures of engine driven fuel pump (EDFP) couplings, and a further instance of a cracked coupling. Consequent investigations showed that the coupling fractures were likely to have been caused by a combination of reverse torsional loading and bending. Engine ground runs were then carried out to evaluate linear and torsional engine vibration levels in the drive train affecting the fuel pumps. Analysis of the vibration data indicated that engines, which had caused pump-coupling failures exhibited high-amplitude torsional vibration at certain power settings. The excessive vibration level was eventually attributed to detuning of the crankshaft counterweight dampers. This investigation resulted in a change to the maintenance practises on the aircraft in question and no fuel pump failures have occurred since December 2008.