Mid-Air Engine Failure Prompts Grounding of Boeing 777 Aircraft
This was not the way a trip to Hawaii was supposed to start for some 231 passengers and 10 crew aboard a United Airlines flight from Denver on Saturday. Just minutes into the flight the crew declared an in-air emergency and returned to Denver. The emergency was a "pants wetter" if you ask me.
That's the view that Twitter user Brett Guy published to his Twitter account on Saturday. He was aboard that aircraft and needless to say the sight outside his window was enough to make me wish I was on the ground, that's for sure.
The flight did return to Denver without other incident and the passengers were rebooked on different flights. But that's really just where the story is beginning.
United Airlines announced following Saturday's incident that they will be grounding two dozen 777 aircraft that are powered by the same kind of engine, a Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engine, for further inspection. The airline says it has 52 such aircraft in its fleet. Twenty-four of those aircraft are currently in-service while the other 28 are in storage.
Japan Airlines and Nippon Airlines, who also operate Boeing 777s with the Pratt&Whitney Series 4000 engines have also grounded their fleet. Just for clarity, United is the only United States carrier that operates Boeing 777s with the Pratt & Whitney 4000 series. So, other carriers will likely not be affected by this particular incident.
Members of the FAA along with representatives from Boeing and Pratt&Whitney are scheduled to meet this week to discuss details of the FAA Airworthiness Directive that was issued over the weekend to address the engine failure incident and minimize the likelihood of such a failure being repeated.
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