Air regulators react to United Airlines engine blast

by Callum Tennant
Flight UA328 with smoke trailing from the right engine

America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)have announced measures that could see 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney (P&W) PW4000 grounded.

The FAA ordered that emergency inspections be carried out on 777s with PW4000 engines, whilst the CAA went a step further, banning them from UK airspace.

The rulings come two days after large sections of engine fell from a United Airlines flight, after the aircraft experienced engine trouble shortly after take-off.

 What are the new rules of the FAA and CAA?

Most 777s will not be affected by the FAA and CAA’s rulings, as they apply solely to 777s powered by the PW4000 engine.

The FAA’s Administrator, Steve Dickson said that:

“I have directed them [the FAA] to issue an Emergency Airworthiness Directive that would require immediate or stepped- up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain PW4000 engines. This will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service.”

He added that the FAA is:

“Working closely with other civil aviation authorities to make this information available to affected operators in their jurisdictions”.

The UK’s CAA said that they had “suspended” the use of 777s with PW4000 engines “in UK airspace”. However, the CAA also emphasised that the affected engine is not used by any UK airlines.”

Boeing urges airlines to the ground 777s with PW4000 engines

 Boeing, as covered by Satu Dahl yesterday, also recommended that 777s with PW4000 engines should be grounded until further notice.

The company stated that:

“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.”

 We will bring you more details as this story develops.

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