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United Airlines engine blast over Denver prompts Boeing 777 to land

Federal aviation regulators order United Airlines to inspect all Boeing 777 aircraft. A catastrophic failure Saturday on Denver. United have said it will suspend the flights.

Announcements United Airlines Flight 328 exploded shortly after take-off of its right engine a day after an emergency landing at Denver International Airport. Brad & Whitney PW4000, engine casing pieces rained in the suburbs.

The plane, with 231 passengers and 10 crew on board, landed safely and no one on board or on the ground was injured, officials said.

Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dixon said in a statement on Sunday that, based on an initial review of safety data, the researchers “decided to accelerate the study gap for unique blank fan blades for this type of engine, which is only used on Boeing 777 aircraft.”

United Airlines - engine explosion, emergency landing
This photo, provided by Hayden Smith on Saturday, February 20, 2021, shows United Airlines Flight 328 approaching Denver International Airport shortly after takeoff from Denver after experiencing a “right-engine failure”.

Hayden Smith / A.P.


National Transportation Safety Board a Separate report Two fan blades of the engine broke and the remaining fan blades “revealed damage.” The NDSP warned that a decision on how the incident took place would be made very soon.

Boeing recommends that “operations of 69 service and 59 in-storage 777s” with Brad & Whitney engines worldwide be stopped “until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol”.

Brad & Whitney issued a statement saying it had “sent a team to work with investigators” and “actively coordinates with operators and controllers to support revised inspection intervals of relevant machines”.

A video posted on Twitter showed the engine completely engulfed in flames as the plane flew through the air. Sitting slightly in front of the engine and disabling frames from a different video taken by a passenger posted on Twitter showed a broken fan plate on the engine.

The FAA says United is the only U.S. airline to have the Brad & Whitney PW4000 in its fleet. United currently has 24 out of 777 services.

United will work closely with the FAA and the NTSB to “determine the additional steps needed to ensure these aircraft meet our strict safety standards and return to service,” he said.

NDSP said the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder were taken to its laboratory in Washington for download and analysis of the data. NDSP investigations can take a year or more, although in key cases the company usually releases some investigative material through this process.

Broomfield Police Department
Debris from a United Flight on February 20, 2021.

Broomfield Police Department


Airlines in Japan and South Korea also operate flights with the Brad & Whitney engine. Nicky said Japan Airways and all Nippon Airways have decided to stop operating 32 flights in conjunction with the engine.

Nicky said Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism had also ordered the planes to be taken out of service, and the ministry said it had received unspecified problems on board the JAL 777 flight from Naha to Haneda on December 4.

Boeing claimed that “Japan supports the Civil Aviation Bureau’s decision to suspend operations of the 777s with Brad & Whitney engines” and “action by the FAA”.

“We are working with these controllers as they take action when these planes are on the ground, and further investigations are being conducted by Brad & Whitney,” Boeing added.