Boeing suspends 777s after engine failure on United flight


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  6 days ago  •  12 comments

By:   Tim Stelloh

Boeing suspends 777s after engine failure on United flight
Boeing suspended operations for more than 100 of its aircraft Sunday after an engine on a United Airlines flight from Denver caught fire and fell apart, scattering debris in a Colorado neighborhood before the plane landed safely.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Boeing suspended operations for more than 100 of its aircraft Sunday after an engine on a United Airlines flight from Denver caught fire and fell apart, scattering debris in a Colorado neighborhood before the plane landed safely.

The suspensions apply to the model airplane used in Saturday's flight to Hawaii, the 777 powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines, the company said in a statement.

Sixty-nine of the aircraft were in use, Boeing said. Fifty-nine more were in storage. The company said the suspensions would remain in effect until the Federal Aviation Administration identified an "appropriate inspection protocol" for the aircraft.

The department administrator, Steve Dickson, said earlier that he ordered "stepped-up" inspections of the aircraft after consulting with a team of aviation safety experts.

"Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes," he said.


'Terrifying': United Airlines passengers describe moment plane experienced engine failure

United said it was immediately grounding its fleet of 24 Boeing aircraft equipped with the Pratt & Whitney engines. The airline said that it was working with federal investigators and regulators and that it expected a small number of customers to be inconvenienced while it switched the aircraft.

Federal officials said that only the U.S., South Korea and Japan use planes with the PW4000 engine and that United is the only American airline that uses them.

Reuters, citing Japan's Aeronautical Service Information Center, said Japan also halted aircraft from flying with Pratt & Whitney engines.

In its statement, Boeing said it supported the moves by aviation authorities in the United States and Japan.

Pratt & Whitney did immediately responded to requests for comment.

Video from a passenger on United Flight 328 — which was carrying 231 people to Honolulu on Saturday — showed one of the plane's flaming engines falling apart in the sky. A pilot reported a "mayday" and told air traffic control that the plane had had an "engine failure," authorities said.

Large pieces of metal fell into a neighborhood in Broomfield, Colorado; there were no reports of injuries. The pilot turned the plane around and landed safely at Denver International Airport.


jrDiscussion - desc
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1  Buzz of the Orient    6 days ago

Considering where the debris fell, it's somewhat miraculous that nobody was injured.

Masters Expert
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    6 days ago

I'm very familiar with this area. the debris field is close to a mile long.

Greg Jones
Senior Participates
2  Greg Jones    6 days ago

Boeing doesn't own the aircraft with the problem engines, but recommended they be immediately grounded by the airlines that were flying them 

MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
2.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Greg Jones @2    6 days ago

Boeing aircraft are still the only aircraft flying with those engines.

Boeing is NOT about to get into more hot water though; not after the MAX aircraft debacle. It's good that they're grounding the aircraft until further inspection occurs.

Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.1  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @2.1    5 days ago

was thinking between the 737 max and this , boeing is NOT have banner or good  times , glad i do not fly anymore at all, last flight was back in 95 into Chicago from SLC and back 2 weeks later.

MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
2.1.2  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2.1.1    5 days ago

Having gone to school for aircraft maintenance and repair, I'm very aware of how parts and pieces are supposed to function and that there are subpar suppliers. I wish that companies like Boeing would more actively perform supplier audits, deep dive supplier audits and on a more regular basis. However, the "powers that be" need to LISTEN to what auditors have to say. They need to start listening to the mechanics and pilots too. The people that are testing and running the machinery are the ones that have the best working knowledge, but most upper management [in most business types] don't listen to "the little people" down the chain.

When I was an auditor, I documented, documented, documented... CYA. When something fails / failed, the first thing "the powers that be" ask to see audits even though they don't listen before the problem occurs. If an auditor has appropriately documented the lack of action on management's part, that auditor has his / her moment; that moment when he / she can say, "I told you about this when you could've fixed it." That's usually when a big change in management happens. I STILL have all the documentation from my auditing days; why? The product(s) quality I audited is not on the market yet; therefore, still making sure my ass is covered. I read a lot of the complaints about the MAX aircraft from the pilots and mechanics after the first crash and before the second, but Boeing still maintained that their aircraft was functioning as designed. If I had to guess... pilots and mechanics were complaining before the first crash too.

Greg Jones
Senior Participates
3  Greg Jones    6 days ago

Here's an interesting update from a 777 pilot.

Professor Expert
4  FLYNAVY1    6 days ago

I watched the video that someone on the flight took of the engine.  The the turbine is still rotating, and there is a full out fire in the compressor and burner section of the engine.  If I had to guess it was a fuel explosion that took off the outer portions of the engine including the thrust reversers.   The engine looks too good to have been a turbine blade failure. 

A380 Blade Off Test - Bing video

Here is the actual video from the engine failure on the aircraft....

Engine explodes moments into United Airlines flight (  

BTW.... Titanium blades will burn if they get hot enough!  It's what I suspect the fire is all about. And they can only be extinguished with a class D extinguisher as I believe they produce their own sustaining oxygen when ignited..... Just like magnesium.

Professor Expert
4.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4    5 days ago

I retract my earlier statement,  NTSB is leaning towards metal fatigue failure in one of the fan blades having "fodded" out the engine.  


Professor Principal
5  Kavika     5 days ago

Boeing is not having a great last few years.

Greg Jones
Senior Participates
5.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Kavika @5    5 days ago

Boeing didn't make the engines

MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
5.1.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Greg Jones @5.1    5 days ago

But they obviously didn't do a deep dive supplier audit either.


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