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Damage to fan blade in United Boeing 777 engine consistent with metal fatigue, NTSB says

A North Metro firefighter and a Broomfield police officer stroll in direction of a big piece of an airplane engine in the entrance yard of Kirby Klements on Elmwood St. close to E. thirteenth Ave February 20, 2021.

Andy Cross | Denver Post | Getty Images

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert Sumwalt mentioned Monday that injury to a fan blade in a Pratt & Whitney engine that failed in a United Airlines Boeing 777-200 is consistent with metal fatigue, in accordance to a preliminary evaluation.

At a news briefing, Sumwalt mentioned it was not clear whether or not Saturday’s failure of the PW4000 engine shortly after takeoff is consistent with one other engine failure on one other Hawaii-bound United flight in February 2018 that was attributed to a fatigue fracture in a fan blade.

In one other incident on the identical engine kind on a Japan Airlines 777 in December 2020, Japan’s Transport Safety Board reported it discovered two broken fan blades, one with a metal fatigue crack.

The United engine’s fan blade will probably be examined on Tuesday after being flown to a Pratt & Whitney laboratory the place it should examined beneath supervision of NTSB investigators.

“What is important that we really truly understand the facts, circumstances and conditions around this particular event before we can compare it to any other event,” Sumwalt mentioned.

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to situation an emergency airthworthiness directive quickly that may require stepped-up inspections of the fan blades for fatigue.

The FAA in March 2019 after the February 2018 United engine failure attributed to fan blade fatigue ordered inspections each 6,500 cycles.

Sumwalt mentioned the United incident was not thought-about an uncontained engine failure as a result of the containment ring contained the elements as they had been flying out.

There was minor injury to the plane physique however no structural injury, he mentioned.

NTSB will look into why the engine cowling separated from the aircraft and in addition why there was a fireplace regardless of indications gas to the engine had been turned off, Sumwalt added.

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