“Metal fatigue” that seems to have broken Boeing’s engine

Federal agents said the Boeing 777 jet’s engine broke over the weekend and metal fell outside Denver, most likely due to “metal fatigue.”

The incident, which occurred four minutes after takeoff, turned United Airlines’ flight to Hawaii and made an emergency landing at an airport in Colorado. No one was injured in flight or by falling debris.

The flight situation on Saturday was similar to the flight of Japan Airlines in December and the flight of United three years ago. In both cases, the fan blades snapped to the 777’s Pratt & Whitney PW4000-112 engine.

The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident in Colorado. The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered inspections of 777s with PW4000-112 turbines, which may reduce inspection intervals.

Dozens of Boeing 777 wide-body aircraft equipped with engines Grounded all over the world After the incident. Boeing’s recommended airlines will suspend jets until the aviation regulator presents an “appropriate inspection protocol.”

“I want to understand if there is any connection between this event and other events happening around the world,” NTSB Chairman Robert Samwalt said on Monday.

According to Samwalt, one of the turbine’s 22 fan blades broke at its root, hit a second blade, and broke at the midpoint.

“Preliminary field inspections of fan blades destroyed at the root show damage consistent with metal fatigue,” he said, adding that investigators planned to study jet maintenance records. It was.

According to records from aviation data provider Cirium, maintenance is carried out by United Technical Operations, the maintenance, repair and overhaul division of a Chicago-based airline, with Pratt & Whitney working on some engine components. According to the UTO website, the unit’s San Francisco facility is the only facility in the United States equipped to run on the PW4000-112 engine.

The 777 also suffered damage to the area where the wings connect to the body from a metal fall on Saturday. The cowling, which covers the front of the engine, has reached the yard in Broomfield, Colorado.

Investigators try to understand why the engine continued to burn even after the crew turned off the fuel it was supplying, and why the cowling came off. Engineers design airplanes to avoid “uncontained engine failures” due to the danger posed by debris.

Saturday’s case wasn’t a technically uncontained engine failure, but Samwalt said, “from a practical point of view of the flying masses, it really doesn’t matter.”

“Metal fatigue” that seems to have broken Boeing’s engine

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