Boeing’s almost cursed 737 MAX is slowly starting to return to service but it seems that the aircraft maker has another headache coming. Fortunately, there were no lives lost before Boeing learned about what could be another faulty component that could have just as deadly consequences if left unchecked. Dozens of Boeing 777 planes have been temporarily put out of service after a flight from Denver had one of its engines failed in a rather dramatic way just after takeoff.
The good news is that there were no casualties or even injuries on United Airlines flight UA328 bound for Honolulu despite how frightening the circumstances were. The plane was able to turn around and make a safe landing even with only one engine working. Of course, given the technology of the times, people both onboard and on the ground were able to capture what could have been a harrowing disaster.
The Boeing 777-200’s right engine more than just failed, it also caught fire and was visibly damaged for everyone with a window seat to see. This was, of course, recorded on video by one of the passengers but the falling debris and parts of the engine were also captured on camera. Fortunately, again, no one on the ground was hurt despite those pieces falling onto neighborhoods.
The US FAA’s initial investigation pointed to a problem with the plane’s Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines and its unique hollow fan blades as the cause for the failure and has ordered an immediate or stepped-up inspection of planes using that particular engine. Although no grounding has been officially ordered, United Airlines is voluntarily grounding its fleet of 24 Boeing 777 using that specific engine. Japan, on the other hand, has ordered Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways to remove theirs from service. It is reported that only the US, Japan, and South Korea are using Boeing 777 with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines.
Although it may seem like a cause for alarm over Boeing’s planes yet again, the incident does also demonstrate the careful design of planes as well. The fact that the pilots were able to make a safe landing despite having only one functional engine is a small but important testament to the redundant systems of aircraft. At the same time, it also calls into attention the need for more stringent inspection and testing of those systems and components, especially after fleets of planes have been grounded or out of operation in the past months.