The UK has temporarily banned Boeing 777s that use the same engine that blew apart over the weekend in Denver. This communication was made by Grant Shapps, the country’s transport secretary.
The 4000-112 engines, designed by Pratt and Whitney, shortly came apart after the United Airlines flight 328 set off from Denver Colorado, prompting the pilots to initiate an emergency landing procedure on Sunday. Pilots were forced to contact mayday and return back to Denver. Boeing then announced a grounding of 128 of its 777s fleet worldwide.
Debris accumulated in the suburban neighborhoods close to Denver after the engine tore apart in the sky. Reports show that 231 passengers and 10 crew members who were present were safely brought back to land with no significant injuries reported. Pratt and Whitney (owned by Raytheon Technologies) is actively coordinating with operators and regulators to support a revised inspection interval of its 777 engines.
After the Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engine incident on a Boeing 777 aircraft, we have suspended this configuration's use in UK airspace. It is not used by any UK airlines.
It is operated by airlines in the USA, Japan and South Korea where authorities have also stopped its use. pic.twitter.com/i97yio5X2q
— UK Civil Aviation Authority (@UK_CAA) February 22, 2021
Social media users and passengers shared videos of the engine catching fire shortly after take-off. Passengers narrated feeling some sort of explosion after the plane reached cruising altitude. Debris from the explode engine scattered across Denver neighborhoods. US federal regulators have ordered United Airlines to inspect all Boeing 777 flights that run on the same engine.
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Other regulators ground the planes
All Nipon Airways and Japan Airways will stop operating 32 planes running on that engine. Euronews reports that a spokesman in close contact with the FAA discussed the root cause and content for effecting corrective actions. Japan’s ministry of land, infrastructure, transport, and tourism also ordered the planes out of service. As with the case of the FAA, inspections of the hollow fan blades and engines were ordered earlier. This was shortly after another explosion took place six minutes after it took off, forcing a flight between Tokyo and Okinawa to make a return emergency landing.
In 2018, a PW4000 series engine broke after a blade fractured off the United Airlines plane heading from San Francisco to Hawaii. In this incident, no one came out hurt. Two of the engine fan blades on the Hawaii flight were fractured while the rest showed signs of damage. Fragments flying off the engine eventually pierced the fuselage. This was according to a report by National Transportation Safety Board. United Airlines will work with the NTSB and the FAA to make the necessary steps that ensure the aircraft meets required safety standards and returns to service.
Mersen plane incident
Another incident happened on a Longtail Aviation cargo plane flight 5504 cargo plane operating in the Netherlands. Dutch authorities launched investigations after parts of the plane that fell from the engine shortly after it took off from Maastricht Airport for New York. Reuters reports that this plane also used the Pratt & Whitney engine which is fairly smaller than the PW4000. The plane had to make an emergency landing in Belgium as the engine had caught fire, scattering small metallic parts over Meersen, a southern Dutch town damaging vehicles and slightly injuring one woman.
The development is a further blow to Boeing whose 737 MAX returns to the skies after two years of being grounded after deadly clashes. The bs prompted by the fatal crashes in March 2019 that took the lives of 346 people. US aviation regulators cleared the way for their return to the skies. A week later the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and UK’s CAA followed suit.