October 5, 2022
United Airlines Boeing 777 Sparks, Drops Debris
Airlines Boeing Safety

United Airlines Boeing 777 Sparks, Drops Debris

DALLAS – Last night, sparks and debris from a United Airlines (UA) Boeing 777 suddenly dropped to the ground, forcing the aircraft to make an emergency landing.

On Wednesday, September 21, at 11:24 p.m., the flight serving Flight UA149 from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) took off. After about an hour and a half of flight time, the plane was forced to land back at EWR.

The problem looked to be related to a hydraulic pressure pump failure. However, investigations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are ongoing.

This is not the first incident concerning UA’s triple seven fleet. Four minutes after taking off from Denver International Airport (DEN) on February 20, 2021, Flight UA328/UAL328, a scheduled domestic passenger flight, experienced an engine failure.

The engine cowling fragment from the Boeing 777-222 caused a debris field that was at least one mile (1.6 km) long above Broomfield, Colorado’s suburban residential zones. Witnesses captured falling debris using smartphone cameras and dash cams. A private home’s roof was breached by debris, which seriously damaged a parked car.

The engine malfunction led to an in-flight engine fire, significant nacelle damage, and minor fuselage damage. Additionally, videos of the engine nacelle damage and the in-flight fire were captured by passengers and shared on social media. As for last night’s incident, you can see the sparks and debris coming off the Boeing 777-200ER in the clip below.

United Triple Seven Issues


Last night’s incident comes on the heels of UA taking 25 of its Boeing 777-200 aircraft out of service after realizing that it had neglected to do the necessary inspections on the wing leading-edge panels.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airline informed the organization of the problem during an internal audit and provided a plan to finish the inspections. In order to conduct the inspections, United said on Tuesday that it had to cancel about 18 flights on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

However, it did not anticipate having to postpone any further flights due to the problem.

Last May, the FAA cleared UA’s 52 Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines to return to service.


Featured image: United Airlines Boeing 777-200 N772UA. Photo: Miklos Budai/Airways

Chief Online Editor
Chief Online Editor at Airways Magazine, AVSEC interpreter and visual artist; grammar geek, an avid fan of aviation, motorcycles, sci-fi literature, and film.

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