Aviation analyst on United flight’s engine catching fire after Denver takeoff
Aviation analyst and pilot Kyle Bailey says the NTSB will be investigating whether a mechanical failure, debris being ingested into the engine or possible improper maintenance is to blame.
A United Airlines Boeing 777 jet that suffered a catastrophic engine failure shortly after departing Denver International Airport, littering Colorado neighborhoods below with large pieces of debris, led the U.S. planemaker, airlines and international regulators to order inspections and even groundings of the widebody aircraft.
The moves come after a PW4000 engine on United Flight 382, headed to Honolulu, exploded on Saturday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing back in Denver less than a half-hour after taking off and marking the third incident in recent years involving the same jet and same engine.
BOEING RECEIVES FAA INSPECTION ORDER ON SOME 777 ENGINES AFTER UNITED FAILURE
In December 2020, a Japan Airlines 777 headed to Haneda Airport in Tokyo returned to Naha Airport in Okinawa after pilots experienced an issue with one of the PW4000 engines, which is manufactured by Pratt & Whitney. Japan’s Transport Safety Board found two broken fan blades, one with a metal fatigue fracture, and said its investigation into the matter is ongoing.
In addition, a fan blade broke on a different United Boeing 777-200 jet in February 2018, which was flying over the Pacific Ocean during a San Francisco to Honolulu flight. An NTSB investigation of the incident determined that a lack of training in Pratt & Whitney's thermal acoustic image (TAI) inspection process resulted in "an incorrect evaluation of an indication that resulted in a blade with a crack being returned to service where it eventually fractured."