Shortly after taking off from Denver, a United Airlines flight pilot was forced to make an emergency landing as the airplane engine, manufactured by Pratt & Whitney, burst into flames. Similar blowouts had happened on at least two other separate flights, according to some experts on Monday.
Based on the records, a fan blade also broke on one of the PW 4000 engines that powered another United Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane three years ago. The aircraft was then flying over the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Honolulu.
In December, the Airlines Boeing 777-200, en-route to Tokyo from Naha, also suffered the same scenario as two of its fan blades in the same engine broke.
But same with what happened in Denver, the pilots on both flights were able to land their aircraft safely and secured everyone's safety, The Denver Channel reported.
Aviation expert Greg Feith shared that this is not the first time the scenario happened, referring to the malfunction of the PW4000 engine, According to NBC News.
After the fiery display in the skies of Colorado on Saturday, images of the incident went viral online. It also prompted Boeing to ground all of its older model of 777-200 airplanes worldwide.
On the other hand, federal investigators are currently inspecting all of the PW4000 engines on the planes, which were only used by the United Airlines in countries like Japan, South Korea, and the United States.
The Federal Aviation Administration administrator, Steve Dickson, specifically stated that inspections are being stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, which is solely used on Boeing 777 airplanes.
But the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Jim Hall, shared that the faulty blades are only on the PW4000 engines' first generation.
Hall shared in an interview that he suspected that the planes were all being taken out because Pratt & Whitney and the FAA do not have any inspection process in place, and they were embarrassed. The former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board also added that the FAA has been responding to the economic interests of the aviation industry for the last decade, which has outweighed safety.
However, Pratt & Whitney, which Raytheon owns, emphasized and insisted that the company is cooperating with the investigators from the FAA.
In its statement, Pratt & Whitney shared that the United Airlines Flight 328 is currently under the NTSB investigation, and the company already dispatched a team to work with investigators. The company also mentioned that they are actively coordinating with operators and regulators to support the revised inspection interval of the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines that power the Boeing 777 aircraft, Tech Xplore reported.
The NTSB investigation on the malfunction of a Pratt & Whitney engine on the Honolulu-bound United Airlines flight on February 13, 2018, faulted the company for failure to do more stringent inspections.
Related article: Hospitals Experience Low Water Supply in Winter Storm Aftermath