By David Shepardson and Jamie Freed
Feb 23 – An initial assessment has determined that damage to a failed engine blade on a United Airlines Boeing 777 flight may be attributable to “fatigue” of the metal parts, the president of the investigating body said Monday of plane crashes in the United States.
The Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engine failed with a “loud thud” on Saturday four minutes after takeoff from Denver, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters. journalists after an initial analysis of the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.
According to Sumwalt, the body of the plane suffered minor damage, but there was no structural damage.
The expert said it remained unclear whether the incident was related to an engine failure on a non-United flight, bound for Hawaii in February 2018, which was attributed to a fatigue break in a fan blade.
“What is important is that we really understand the facts, the circumstances and the conditions around this particular event before we can compare it to any other event,” Sumwalt said.
The engine that failed in the 26-year-old Boeing Co 777 that devastated a Denver suburb was a PW4000 used in 128 aircraft, or less than 10% of the world’s fleet of more than 1,600 777 aircraft. widebody delivered. In another 777 incident, in this case by Japan Airlines (JAL) with a PW4000 engine in December 2020, the Japan Transportation Safety Board reported that it had found two damaged fan blades, one of them with a crack. by metal fatigue. An investigation is ongoing. The focus is more on engine maker Pratt and analysts expect it to have little financial impact on Boeing, but the PW4000 woes are a new headache for the aircraft maker as it recovers from the 737 MAX crisis, much of it. More serious. The iconic Boeing narrow-body aircraft was immobilized for nearly two years after two fatal accidents.
(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Jamie Freed in Sydney; additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Joyce Lee in Seoul, and Tim Hepher in Paris; Edited by Kim Coghill and Gerry Doyle, Translated by Michael Susin in the Gdansk newsroom)