The Federal Aviation Administration is ordering the immediate inspections of Boeing 777 planes after debris from a United Airlines plane fell onto Denver suburbs on Saturday.
One of the plane’s engines suffered a catastrophic failure, and pieces of metal from the engine casing rained down on a neighborhood, narrowly missing a home.
The flight was headed to Honolulu but was able to return to Denver International Airport, making that emergency landing.
United reported there were 231 passengers and 10 crew members on the flight. All passengers were rebooked on a new flight.
Regarding the immediate inspections, the FAA sent out this statement:
“After consulting with my team of aviation safety experts about yesterday’s engine failure aboard a Boeing 777 airplane in Denver, I have directed them to issue an Emergency Airworthiness Directive that would require immediate or stepped-up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. This will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service. We 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, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes. The FAA is working closely with other civil aviation authorities to make this information available to affected operators in their jurisdictions. The FAA’s aviation safety experts are meeting into the evening with Pratt & Whitney and Boeing to finalize the details of the Airworthiness Directive and any accompanying service bulletins to ensure that the appropriate airplanes are included in the order. The exact details of the inspection will be specified in the emergency order.”
Boeing also released a statement regarding the engine failure on United Airlines Flight 328:
“Boeing is actively monitoring recent events related to United Airlines Flight 328. 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.
“Boeing supports the decision yesterday by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the FAA’s action today to suspend operations of 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. 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.”
Pratt & Whitney also released a statement late Sunday night regarding the engines that power the Boeing 777 aircraft:
“United Airlines Flight 328 is currently under NTSB investigation and Pratt & Whitney has dispatched a team to work with investigators.
“Pratt & Whitney is actively coordinating with operators and regulators to support the revised inspection interval of the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines that power Boeing 777 aircraft.
“Any further investigative updates regarding this event will be at the discretion of the NTSB.
“Pratt & Whitney will continue to work to ensure the safe operation of the fleet.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.