The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered an emergency inspection of Boeing 777 aircraft after Saturday’s incident in Denver. A huge chunk of an engine hit a United Airlines plane in the suburbs of an American city. The measure only applies to Boeing 777s with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines, Reuters reported today. The suspension of this type of aircraft was also recommended by Boeing itself.
“We are reviewing all available safety data from yesterday’s (Saturday) incident,” he told the FAA on Sunday.
In the United States, only United Airlines operates a Boeing 777 with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines. It has already announced that it has taken its 24 aircraft out of service. The same type of aircraft is also used by companies in Japan and South Korea. The Japanese authorities have ordered the cessation of operation of aircraft with this model of engines. Two Japanese companies, Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings, operate 32 of these machines.
The Japanese Ministry of Transport reported an incident on December 4, 2020, when an aircraft of the same type and age (26 years) had to return a few minutes after takeoff and had to make an emergency landing, also due to a problem with the aircraft’s (left) engine.
Boeing said in a statement that he supported the decision of the American and Japanese authorities. According to the manufacturer, 69 aircraft are in active operation. Boeing said his technicians were working with authorities to clarify the incident. The engine manufacturer has not yet commented on FAA measures.
According to the first conclusions of the United States National Transportation Safety Board, the right engine suffered the most damage in Saturday’s incident. Two fan blades were broken, others were damaged. The fuselage suffered only minor damage.
The fan blades of this specific PW4000 motor type are titanium and hollow inside. The cracks appear to have started on the surface from the inside, making it impossible to detect them in time. Airlines use ultrasound technology to find them.
United Airlines Boeing 777 operating as flight 328 flying from Denver – Honolulu suffered a serious engine failure on takeoff.
It made an emergency landing and everyone is ok.
Check out these pieces of the engine falling from the sky…pic.twitter.com/1IyBj6Nlf2
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) February 20, 2021
On Saturday afternoon local time (late evening CET), a Boeing 777 with 241 people on board shortly after taking off from Denver airport, one of the engines broke down and started burning. The passengers of the flight described that they heard a “big explosion” shortly after takeoff.
“The plane started to shake and we started to lose altitude and descend,” describes David Delucia. He also said that he and his wife put wallets with identification documents in their pockets. They did so in case they did not survive the flight, and wanted to facilitate the identification process.
However, the plane managed to return safely to the airport. But a huge chunk of the engine fell into the residential area in front of the door of the family house. Other parts fell around the neighborhood, including the football field. Nothing happened to anyone on board the plane or on the ground.
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