U.S. air-safety regulators were evaluating ramped-up inspections of certain Pratt & Whitney engines before one powering a United Airlines Holdings
U.S. air-safety regulators were evaluating ramped-up inspections of certain Pratt & Whitney engines before one powering a United Airlines Holdings Inc. flight broke apart Saturday over a town near Denver, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
The FAA’s scrutiny followed a similar engine failure on the same type of Boeing Co. 777 aircraft on a Japan Airlines Co. flight to Tokyo in December. That incident was the second engine failure of this kind within three years. U.S. regulators had previously ordered stepped-up inspections of fan blades after an earlier engine failure on another United 777 flight in 2018.
The FAA said Monday it had been “evaluating whether to adjust blade inspections” following December’s incident, after reviewing maintenance and inspection records and conducting a metallurgical examination of a fan blade fragment to determine the cause of a fracture in the engine failure.
Japan Airlines moved on its own, opting to replace and inspect fan blades on those engines at shorter intervals than the inspection schedule laid out in the FAA’s 2019 directive, a spokesman said.
Saturday’s engine failure, which in effect led to a swift global grounding of a subset of Boeing 777s so their engines can undergo immediate inspections, is another example of how air-safety regulators are grappling with serious aviation incidents and accidents after Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis.