Boeing recommends grounding model 777 airplanes after one experienced engine failure and dropped debris over Colorado

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United Airlines Boeing 777-222

United Airlines Boeing 777-222 takes off at Los Angeles international Airport on September 15, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

  • A Boeing 777 operated by United Airlines experienced engine failure Saturday, dropping debris over Colorado.

  • The FAA is now requiring inspections of all Boeing 777 jets with a particular engine model.

  • Boeing also recommended that airlines ground all 69 active planes with the engine model.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Boeing said Sunday it recommended the grounding of all 69 active Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with a particular engine model after one experienced engine failure and dropped debris over Colorado.

This followed an announcement earlier that day by the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who said he was requiring “immediate or stepped up inspections” of all Boeing 777 with a Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engine model.

The engines are only used on Boeing 777 airplanes, the FAA said. There are 69 planes with the engine in service and 59 in storage, according to Boeing.

United Airlines, the operator of the plane that experienced engine failure, announced it would temporarily ground all 24 of its active Boeing 777 planes with that engine model. It is the only US airline that uses the affected engine, CNN reported.

In a statement provided to Insider, United said it would work with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board “to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service.”

The statement said that United has 52 of these planes, 24 active and 28 in storage, and that the move to ground them should temporarily impact only a small number of customers.

The FAA said it has reviewed all available safety data following yesterday’s incident.

“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,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement.

Japanese regulators also told Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways to ground their combined 32 planes with the affected engine. Korean Air has also grounded its six planes with the engine.

United flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu, Hawaii was carrying 231 passengers and 10 crew members when it experienced engine failure Saturday shortly after taking off. The Boeing 777 aircraft began shedding debris, some of which landed in residential neighborhoods.

One photo shows a large piece of debris that narrowly missed someone’s home. A video taken by a passenger on the plane showed one engine on fire while the plane was in flight.

The plane returned to Denver International Airport and landed safely, with no injuries reported from anyone on board or as a result of the falling debris.

An initial examination of the engine by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed the inlet and cowling had separated from the engine and two fan blades were fractured.

Boeing is “actively monitoring” events related to United Airlines Flight 328, the company said in a statement.

“While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol.”

It supports the decisions by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau and the FAA to ground planes with the affected engines, and is working with the regulators, it added.

Pratt & Whitney said it is conducting further inspections of the engines,.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at [email protected].

Read the original article on Business Insider





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