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Boeing to suspend operations of all 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines

By Mario Lotmore | Lynnwood Times Staff

Chicago, Ill., February 21, 2021 – Today, Boeing announced that it will be suspending the operations of all 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines following a right engine failure of United Flight 328 shortly after take-off that resulted in the engine fully engulfed in flames.

Source: Chad Schnell, a passenger on United Flight 328.

“Boeing is actively monitoring recent events related to United Airlines Flight 328,” Boeing released in an official statement Sunday evening. “While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol.”

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the plane with 229 passengers and 10 crew on board landed safely at Denver International Airport and no injuries were reported.

On Sunday, the NTSB ongoing investigative stated that United Flight 328 sustained minor damage and most of the damage was confined to the right engine. The NTSB initial examination of the Pratt & Whitney PW4077 engine revealed:

  • The inlet and cowling separated from the engine
  • Two fan blades were fractured
  • One fan blade was fractured near the root
  • An adjacent fan blade was fractured about mid-span
  • A portion of one blade was imbedded in the containment ring
  • The remainder of the fan blades exhibited damage to the tips and leading edges

The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are scheduled to be analyzed by the NTSB laboratory in Washington DC.

Boeing stated that it supports the suspension of operations of its 777s and will work with Pratt & Whitney on conducting further inspections its engines.

“Boeing supports the decision yesterday by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the FAA’s action today to suspend operations of 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney.”

United Airlines currently has 52 Boeing 777 aircraft in their fleet, including 24 active and 28 in storage. Japan Airways and Nippon Airways – a South Korean airline – have suspended operations of the 777s with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines impacting 32 in-service planes.

Pratt & Whitney is an aerospace manufacturer headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut and employs over 38,000 employees.

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