Shocked United Airlines passengers have shared video of an exposed engine on a Boeing 777 flying from San Francisco to Honolulu.
The pilots of United Flight 1175 called for an emergency landing after the engine cowling was ripped off as the plane approached Honolulu.
Photos and videos posted on social media show debris falling away from the shaking B777-200 engine. It is not clear whether the engine itself was compromised or whether the damage was confined to the cowling.
— Erik Haddad (@erikhaddad) February 13, 2018
The plane, which is capable of flying on one engine, made a safe landing at its destination.
“Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft,” United said in a statement.
“The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally.”
The airliner was equipped with Pratt & Whitney (P&W) PW4077 engines and was delivered to United in 1996.
The incident comes after a series of problems involving Rolls-Royce engines in Boeing 787s and Airbus A330s.
Problems with the durability of turbine and compressor blades on Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines powering the 787 have grounded a number of the high-tech aircraft. The issue has prompted Rolls to redesign the components.
More recently, troubles with P&W’s new fuel-efficient geared turbofan (GTF) engine led the European Aviation Safety Agency to issue an emergency air worthiness directive warning of potential dual shutdown on GTF-powered A320neos.
Airbus said Friday it was assessing the situation with the US engine manufacturer and had informed customers after the issue affecting the high pressure aft hub was identified.
The airframe manufacturer said 113 P&W-powered A320neo family aircraft were flying with 18 customers.
Pratt and Whitney said the problem related to the knife edge seal in the engines and was limited to “a suppopulation of engines’”.
The EASA directive called for aircraft with two affected engines to be grounded so that one could be changed out and suspended extended range twin operations (ETOPS) for aircraft with affected engines.
Operators affected by the problem include Indigo Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines , LATAM, Air China, Sichaun Airlines and Lufthansa.