The US Federal Aviation Regulatory Authority (FAA) ordered, on Sunday February 21, additional inspections on certain Boeing 777 type commercial aircraft, the day after an engine failure on one of these aircraft. above Colorado.
“After consulting my team of aviation safety experts about yesterday’s engine failure [samedi] aboard a Boeing 777 aircraft in Denver [Colorado], I asked them to issue an Emergency Airworthiness Directive which would require immediate or in-depth inspections of Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines ”, wrote FAA official Steve Dickson in a statement on Twitter.
United Airlines is the only American airline to have in its fleet of planes with PW4000 engines. Shortly after the FAA’s announcement, it said it was suspending the use of its twenty-four Boeing 777s equipped with PW4000 engines and that it was discussing with US regulators any additional measures needed to ensure the surrender. in service of these devices safely.
A shower of debris
The American company saw one of its Boeing 777-220, which had taken off Saturday from Denver for Honolulu (Hawaii) with 231 passengers and ten crew members on board, be obliged to make an emergency U-turn after the fire in its right reactor. The aircraft was able to land without incident and none of its occupants were injured.
A video taken by a passenger on flight UA328 shows the right engine of the plane in flames and shows that the damaged engine fairing is completely missing.
As the Boeing returned to the airport, a rain of debris, some large, descended on a residential area in Broomfield, a suburb of Denver. No one was injured on the ground.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a separate statement that two of the engine’s fan blades were broken, and the others “Showed damage”. The NTSB warned it was too early to draw conclusions about how the incident happened.
An incident with the same engine in Japan
“Based on the initial information, we concluded that the interval between inspections should be shortened for the hollow fan blades, which exist only on this type of engine, used only on Boeing 777s”, said the FAA official. Mr. Dickson added that officials from the US Federal Aviation Regulatory Authority were meeting with officials from Pratt & Withney and Boeing on Sunday evening.
Japanese and South Korean airlines also operate aircraft powered by the Pratt & Whitney engine. According to the Japanese daily Nikkei, Japan Airways and All Nippon Airways have decided to cease operating thirty-two aircraft equipped with this engine.
Nikkei reports that the Japanese transport ministry – which also ordered the decommissioning of these planes – said that an engine of the same PW4000 family suffered problems, the nature of which has not been specified, on a domestic flight of a Boeing 777 on December 4, 2020 and ordered more stringent inspections in response to the incident.
American aircraft manufacturer Boeing has had a serious problem in recent years with another of its models, the 737 MAX. The plane was banned from flying in March 2019 after two accidents that killed 346, that of Lion Air in Indonesia in October 2018 (189 dead) and that of Ethiopian Airlines in March 2019 in Ethiopia (157 dead).
The resumption of commercial flights of the Boeing 737 MAX took place from December 2020, first in Brazil, then in the United States and Canada. The first commercial flight in Europe, under the colors of the Belgian company TUI fly, took place on Wednesday February 17 between Brussels and Alicante then Malaga, in Spain.
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