MIAMI — Tuesday, United Airlines Flight 1175 made an emergency landing in Honolulu after the engine cowling of one of its Boeing 777s fell off over the Pacific.
Passengers reported through social media that the incident occurred about half hour before landing when the plane started to shake violently. The Triple Seven landed safely at 1:00 pm (local time) on Daniel K. Inouye International Airport about six hours and two minutes after departing San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
A United Airlines Boeing 777, Flight 1175, landed safely at Honolulu International Airport on Tuesday afternoon (12:40pm local time) after part of the starboard engine cowling detached over the Pacific Ocean #flight1175 #boeing pic.twitter.com/RVVl282SYd
— Flight (@flightorg) February 14, 2018
“United flight 1175 traveling to Honolulu from San Francisco landed safely after the pilots called for an emergency landing because of a loss of the engine cowling (the covering of the engine),” declared the airline.
The Fourth Boeing 777-200
The 23-year-old Boeing 777-222 (N773UA • MSN 26929 / LN 4) happens to be the fourth Triple Seven ever produced by Boeing. It was also one of the test aircraft that the manufacturer used in 1995 for the 777’s ETOPS certification.
Delivered to United in 1996, the plane came equipped with two Pratt & Whitney PW4077 turbofans in the original United livery. The plane was then repainted into the Continental globe-style livery in 2010.
The plane departed SFO at 09:00 AM and took off at 09:38 AM, then climbing to an initial altitude of 34,000ft. About three hours into the flight, the plane descended to 28,000ft, where it remained for the next 65 minutes.
The last portion of the flight, the plane climbed again to 36,000ft before initiating a normal descent about 40 minutes ahead of its scheduled arrival time. However, during its descent into HNL, the pilots of the plane squawked 7700 signaling an emergency.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) February 13, 2018
“Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft. The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally.”
Another Uncontained Engine Failure?
According to the Department of Transportation, the emergency landing had no impact on airport operations or the runways. The Boeing 777 was taken to a hangar after all passengers deplaned.
“They kept us informed. They let us know that we had to brace for impact in case there was a rough landing. It was scary. But they did a really good job,” one passenger said.
— Erik Haddad (@erikhaddad) February 13, 2018
Following the emergency declaration, the crew onboard Flight 1175 asked passengers to prepare for an emergency landing. A few passengers captured the moment when Flight Attendants asked to brace for impact as the plane approached for landing.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) would send two investigators to determine what happened, while they made their own investigations.
However, even though the affected engine was not shut down in-flight, a few post-landing photos suggest that this might have been another uncontained engine failure, as a few fan blades seem to be missing.
Ok let’s set the record straight. This screenshot is evidence of a missing fan blade and half of the one next to it. That might account for #UA1175 missing its cowlings. Un-contained failure is a serious event. Report it properly. pic.twitter.com/QzaFx43i1y
— Steve Selwood (@Steady1970) February 14, 2018
Almost a decade ago, United Airlines had an engine failure with almost 20 passengers injured in the emergency landing operating the same route.
— Chicago 🇺🇸 🇵🇭 (@MetraModeller) February 14, 2018
In 2017, Air France had a related situation after one of the four engines of an Airbus A380 exploded in midair, forcing an emergency landing in Northern Canada. Just after the incident, FAA ordered engine inspections on every Airbus A380 operating flights to the U.S.
Also, Delta Air Lines flight 70, operated by an Airbus A330, was forced to make an emergency landing in Goose Bay, Newfoundland in Canada last October over an “engine performance issue.”
As well as, American Airlines flight from Phoenix to San Francisco turned back after part of the engine cowling fell off. And a JetBlue flight from Newark to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, did the same in 2010.