FAA orders inspections for 777 engines like one that failed over Denver

Federal investigators examine a United Airlines Boeing 777 in Denver, Colo., after the plane made an emergency landing on its way to Hawaii due to engine failure. Photo courtesy NTSB

Feb. 24 (UPI) — The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered mandatory inspections for fan blades on some Boeing 777s after an engine failed in mid-air on a flight to Hawaii last weekend.

The FAA’s order late Tuesday covers Pratt & Whitney engines on 777s in the United Airlines fleet after the carrier had already grounded 24 of the planes.

The engine that failed last weekend spread broken parts into yards and a soccer field on the ground before the plane made an emergency landing near Denver.

A Japan Airlines 777 had a similar engine failure in December that also forced the plane to return for an emergency landing. Japan and South Korea have taken the model out of service.

Boeing on Monday recommended suspending 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identified inspection protocol.

“The FAA is issuing this [Emergency Airworthiness Directive] because the agency has determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design,” the FAA said in its order.

Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board said its investigation has found that the engine’s inlet and cowling separated and two fan blades broke, one near the root and the other about mid-span.


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