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Mon, Feb 22, 2021

Catastrophic B777 Engine Failure Results In Debris Trail, But No Injuries

Number Two Engine Failure Results In Visually Dramatic Emergency

An elder B777-200 suffered an engine failure this past Saturday, leaving parts strewn along the flightpath used to return after declaring an emergency.

United Airlines Boeing 777-200, N772UA, was built in 1994 and on its way to Honolulu from Denver International. The catastrophic failure resulted in extensive damage to the engine housings and fairings... pieces of which were found in several locations along its return path over Broomfield, CO, to DIA -- where the aircraft landed safely with no injuries to anyone on board.

The FAA has gotten in front of the media right away over this, FAA Administrator Dickson making a speedy statement... “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.”

Dickson also noted that this will likely mean that a number of aircraft are likely to be removed from service. Shortly thereafter, UAL did just that, with United stating that it is immediately removing 24 Boeing 777 planes (out of 52 in their current fleet), powered by PW4000 series engines, "out of an abundance of caution."

United further noted that, "Since yesterday, we’ve been in touch with regulators at the NTSB and FAA and will continue to work closely with them to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service. As we swap out aircraft, we expect only a small number of customers to be inconvenienced..."

Former NTSB investigator, Greg Feith, noted on his Facebook page that, "Following up on the catastrophic engine failure on a United Airlines B777, it is apparent from the Flight Safety Detectives’ examination of passenger pictures show 2 fan blades failed causing a severe fan disk imbalance. It is probable that the failed blades moved forward after separating and exited the engine ahead of the 'containment' ring, thus compromising the engine cowling. Once the cowling was structurally deformed, vibration and aerodynamic loads ripped the cowling off the engine."

He added that, "Similar engine failure events occurred on a United B777 in 2018 and a JAL 777 in 2020."

FMI: www.united.com, www.faa.gov, www.ntsb.gov

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