This is an excellent example of why any prudent traveler should generally stick with North American carriers, Western European carriers and a few other carriers like Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Singapore.
A pilot for a Chinese carrier requested permission and landed at FRA (Frankfurt, Germany) for an unscheduled refueling stop. The reason became soon apparent to the ground crew: The Number 3 engine had been shut down because of excessive vibration, and because it didn't look so good. It had apparently been no problem for the tough guys back in China: they took some sturdy straps and wrapped them around several of the fan blades and the structures behind, thus stopping any unwanted windmilling (engine spinning by itself due to airflow
passing thru the blades during flight) and associated uncomfortable vibration caused by the suboptimal fan.
Note that the straps are seatbelts....how resourceful!
After making the "repairs", off they went into the wild blue yonder with another revenue-making flight on only three engines! With the increased fuel consumption, they got a bit low on fuel, and just set it down at the closest airport for a quick refill. That's when the problems started: The Germans, who are kind of picky about this stuff, inspected the malfunctioning engine and immediately grounded the aircraft.
(Besides the seat belts, notice the appalling condition of the fan blades.)
The airline operator had to send a chunk of money to get the first engine replaced (took about 10 days) The repair contractor decided to do some impromptu inspection work on the other engines, none of which looked all that great either.
The result: a total of 3 engines were eventually changed on this plane before it was permitted to fly again.
THE TRUTH WOULD BEHaving read the blog, it is very obvious the blogger knows little about aviation or maybe it is a malicious attempt to tar the Chinese and the follow-on comments from Netizens reflect that.
1. It is hard to believe the aircraft did a refueling stop in Frankfurt. Especially when the pilots had known about the condition of the the engine and taken off. Certainly, if the PW4056 engine on the Air China Boeing B747-400 had this condition at Beijing, it would not have taken off since AMECO, which maintains Air China Aircraft, would be well poised to change the engine at main base. Secondly, if it were flying back from Europe, a refuel stop after an hour? out of Paris or London? Just doesn't make sense.
2. With regards to seat belts tying in the fan blades. This is highly unlikely. A seat belt will not last a second once the engine rumbles down the runway and will snap off immediately. Even if those were not seat belts, using a tie belt would get Air China banned from flying to Western countries.
3. Why would the other 3 engines be removed too as 1 engine's damage should not be the basis for the removal of the other engines.
Therefore, based on the above observations, this is probably what happened.
The aircraft probably took off from a European Airport and encountered hail, which can be very serious FOD (Foreign Object Damage). Which in theory can damage the other engines and airframe as well. Flying into a flock of goose can cause that too. The pilots obviously must have sensed the vibration and the Vib reading on the EICAS page must have displayed a very high reading (a reading over 4 on the PW4056 is considered out of AMM limits) and normal procedures will call for shutting down the engine immediately and land at the nearest airport, which in this case "was" Frankfurt.
Obviously someone at Lufthansa Tecknik took a picture and it
got circulated. Whereby some smart ass blogger picked it up and
embellished the story to beyond what the actual story is.
I BELIEVE THIS IS WHAT REALLY