Boeing: 777s with engine that blew apart should be grounded

  • In this image taken from video, the engine of United Airlines Flight 328 is on fire after after experiencing "a right-engine failure" shortly after takeoff from Denver International Airport, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Denver, Colo. The flight landed safely and none of the passengers or crew onboard were hurt. (Chad Schnell via AP) Chad Schnell

  • This Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 photo provided by Hayden Smith shows United Airlines Flight 328 approaching Denver International Airport, after experiencing "a right-engine failure" shortly after takeoff from Denver. Federal regulators are investigating what caused a catastrophic engine failure on the plane that rained debris on Denver suburbs as the aircraft made an emergency landing. Authorities said nobody aboard or on the ground was hurt despite large pieces of the engine casing... Hayden Smith

  • A man looks over debris that fell off a plane as it shed parts over a neighborhood in Broomfield, Colo., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. The plane was making an emergency landing at nearby Denver International Airport. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) David Zalubowski

  • This Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 photo provided by Hayden Smith shows United Airlines Flight 328 approaching Denver International Airport, after experiencing "a right-engine failure" shortly after takeoff from Denver. Federal regulators are investigating what caused a catastrophic engine failure on the plane that rained debris on Denver suburbs as the aircraft made an emergency landing. Authorities said nobody aboard or on the ground was hurt despite large pieces of the engine casing... Hayden Smith

  • A part from a United Airlines jetliner sits in the middle of Elmwood Street in the street near a home peppered by parts from a plane as it was making an emergency landing at nearby Denver International Airport Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) David Zalubowski

  • A piece of an airplane engine is seen in the median along Sheridan Boulevard near E. 13th Avenue, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Broomfield, Colo. Debris from a United Airlines plane fell onto Denver suburbs during an emergency landing Saturday after one of its engines suffered a catastrophic failure and rained pieces of the engine casing on a neighborhood where it narrowly missed a home. (Andy Cross/The Denver Post via AP) Andy Cross

Published: 2/23/2021 11:47:06 AM

Boeing has recommended that airlines ground all 777s with the type of engine that blew apart after takeoff from Denver this weekend, and most carriers that fly those planes said they would temporarily pull them from service.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered United Airlines to step up inspections of the aircraft after one of its flights made an emergency landing at Denver International Airport Saturday as pieces of the casing of the engine, a Pratt & Whitney PW4000, rained down on suburban neighborhoods. None of the 231 passengers or 10 crew were hurt, and the flight landed safely, authorities said. United is among the carriers that has grounded the planes.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement Sunday that based on an initial review of safety data, inspectors “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.”

Dickson said that would likely mean some planes would be grounded — and Boeing said they should be until the FAA sets up an inspection regime. Japan ordered the planes out of service, according to the financial newspaper Nikkei, while noting that an engine in the same family suffered trouble in December.

Boeing said there were 69 777s with the Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines in service and another 59 in storage.

United had 24 of the planes in service; it is the only U.S. airline with the engine in its fleet, according to the FAA. Two Japanese airlines have another 32 that are being pulled while Asiana Airlines grounded nine, seven of which were in service, until Boeing establishes a plan to fix the problems. Korean Air said it was discussing whether to ground 16 aircraft, six of which are in service.

“We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney,” Boeing said in a statement issued Sunday, referring to American and Japanese regulators.




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