After Plane Disaster in Denver, Bad News for Boeing's 777s

Company calls for 128 planes with Pratt & Whitney engines to be grounded
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2021 6:11 AM CST
After Plane Disaster in Denver, Bad News for Boeing's 777s
This Saturday photo shows United Airlines Flight 328 approaching Denver International Airport after experiencing right-engine failure shortly after takeoff from Denver.   (Hayden Smith via AP)

It hasn't been a good couple of years for Boeing, but the beleaguered airplane manufacturer had just started to turn things around, getting its Boeing 737 Max back up in US skies and trying to move on from the crisis surrounding that plane model. Now, a backslide after a United Airlines flight on Saturday suffered engine failure and rained debris down onto neighborhoods near Denver. The plight of Flight 328, which completed a safe emergency landing with no injuries in Denver after the right engine on the Boeing 777 caught fire, now has Boeing calling to ground all 777s with a certain type of engine, and for United to conduct inspections of all of its 777s with that engine, per the BBC and the AP. The issue involves 128 jets equipped with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines, and that company is now sending its own team to work with investigators to find out what happened in the air over Denver.

Initial inspections to Flight 328 indicate fractures and other damage to the engine's hollow fan blades, per the National Transportation Safety Board. United, the only US carrier using 777s with this type of engine, has pulled the aircraft out of service. The FAA says airlines in Japan and South Korea also fly 777s with this engine. The majority of 777s have GE Aviation engines, not Pratt & Whitney models, per the New York Times. Meanwhile, the Guardian reports another Boeing plane, the 747, is also drawing attention after engine parts fell from a Longtail Aviation cargo plane headed to New York soon after takeoff Saturday from the Maastricht airport. Small metal parts fell from the skies into the Dutch town of Meerssen, causing minor injuries to one person on the ground and damaging vehicles. That plane landed safely in Liege, Belgium, with witnesses saying they saw an engine on fire. (More Boeing stories.)

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