FAA orders immediate inspections of some planes after engine failure over Denver

Greg Nash

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered immediate inspections of planes with a certain engine that blew up on a United Airlines flight from Denver.

The FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive on Tuesday requiring airplanes operated with certain Pratt and Whitney PW4000 engines to inspect them before further flights.

Under the order, operators would be required to conduct a thermal acoustic image inspection (TAI) of the large titanium fan blades at the front of each engine. The TAI technology can detect cracks on interior surfaces of the hollow fan blades, or areas that cannot be seen during a visual inspection, the agency said.

The agency said it would review the inspection results on a rolling basis, and may revise the directive based on initial data it receives from the investigation.

Pratt and Whitney said in a statement on Thursday that it is “coordinating all actions with Boeing, airline operators and regulators. The safe operation of the fleet is our top priority.”

The directive only applies to the PW4000-112 model. The aerospace company powers 125 Boeing 777 aircrafts with the engine.

The inspections come after after an engine on a Boeing 777 malfunctioned just after beginning a flight on Saturday from Denver to Honolulu. The FAA noted that the aircraft landed safely, but the failure resulted in damage to the engine, an in-flight engine fire and damage to the airplane.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement posted to Twitter on Sunday that he would step up inspections of the PW4000 engines after the malfunction. 

After Dickson’s Sunday announcement, United Airlines announced that it was removing 24 Boeing 777 airplanes that use the PW4000 engine immediately.

Tags Boeing Boeing 777 Federal Aviation Administration Pratt & Whitney United Airlines

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