United Boeing 777 Loses Engine Parts Over Denver

A United Boeing 777 was forced to return to Denver International Airport earlier today. The 26-year-old aircraft suffered an engine failure over the city, with parts of the engine cowling ending up in a local resident’s front yard.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://simpleflying.com/united-boeing-777-loses-engine-parts/
1 Like

@clayviation guess you beat the bot to it. That engine looks all over the place but glad everyone is OK. I didn’t know it was the second time in two days.

1 Like

well I heard about this earlier and needless to say, it didn’t even leave the Denver TRACON. I’m just glad it didn’t crash and kill everyone on board.

This is chaotic and dangerousssssssss. Luckily everyone is ok.

I was so shocked to hear about this. Especially over Colorado.

1 Like

Did the NTSB or any other agency release any new info about the cause ? I personally have not seen anything yet, but I may not be looking in the right places.

I honestly wouldn’t be scared if I were on the plane. Startled and surprised, yes, but not scared. If the engine caused a decompression though, I’d be terrified.

there really hasn’t been much released about this incident so far, really the biggest thing is if you found debris to not touch it

1 Like

I thought I would just nip in here seeing as in the UK this has been on the news for the majority of the day. I want to start with a well done to the pilots - not only did they act decisively and instantly but no-one was killed! If you watch back the mayday call they sounded confident about the situation and remained professional in a situation which could have turned out with their death. Props to them; it just really shows the effective of simulator training.

If you look at this image it just shows the severity of the crash - debris actually falling from the aircraft after an explosion on the airliner. This itself weighed a tonne and if it had just been blown a meter off course would have gone through the house and likely killed every sole in it. Absolutely mad - I know the NTSB said items should not be touched let alone moved so they can simulate and understand the crash but that just doesn’t look like a nice but of driveway decoration to be honest…

I’d put yourself in the situation before questioning your abilities bud. Take a look at the image below.

Id count myself a frequent flyer, getting up in an airliner a good few times a year before Covid, not to mention having hours on my PPL in crosswind conditions at my local airfield. But damn. If I saw that I think the emotions would definitely kick in. I remember reading an article about the passengers sending messages to their loved ones and in this situation regardless of knowing a plane can land with one engine I would be absolutely terrified. Not to mention the fact the engine is on fire - bits flying off everywhere. My worst nightmare possibly being the thought of a broken off but breaking one of the windows and the whole cabin suddenly a big vacuum of sorts. I know Pilots are heavily trained but in the end no-one knows how they will react in the situation itself and that would be one of my biggest fears…

I like to think of what would be a well known example in my eyes. The Trolley Problem… An uncontrollable train jammed full speed ahead. Yourself placed at the lever to switch tracks on one side 5 people tied down and the other one worker. The logical and the answer best suited to utilitarianism is to obviously switch the track and destroy the one worker but then of course you would be responsible for his death. We all like to think in this situation we would change the tracks but being real with all the adrenaline myself I would probably go into shock and just stand there still watching the 5 workers being crumbled. But any-who enough about that. Being real here I can say with almost 100% confidence every single person here would respond like an average civilian in this situation regardless of all our aviation knowledge possibly worse in some respects because we understand just the true severity of the situation. Scary stuff I know…

I want to end by saying if anyone has any information on who’s fault this was exactly? Looking at the facts the aircraft was 26 years old which at least in Europe is really old for an airliner - the aircraft obviously had to have proper maintenance so it would be interesting to see where they went wrong from an aviation perspective…The Pilots saved United from a huge PR scandal if any passengers died because no doubt at least in my opinion I think maintenance could have been relaxed due to Covid… Oh and also props to whoever got the photo below - the spotter must have had a terrible shock! Thats it from me now - off to bed!

1 Like

that’s actually pretty common for long haul aircraft, as the real way commercial aircraft life span is measured is in the number of cycles it goes through, that is to say, the number of time the cabin pressurizes and depressurizes. It is because of that the the short haul aircraft you see tend to be newer than the long haul aircraft.


I don’t know about you. But in the scheme of things I think it was much older than other aircraft. Flying over 530 flights in the last 12 months - for Covid and no doubt less maintenance thats a lot. I also get short haul aircraft are cheaper then proper airliners and thats probably part to do with the price… 400 million for a single aircraft - it isn’t cheap and no doubt a long term investment.

I just hopped on FR24 and filtered United 777 aircraft clicked on a random one and it turns out it was only a year old… as planes get older maintenance increases and no doubt at least in my opinion I think it was partly a reason for the what could be avoidable near disaster… Not to mention a lot more airlines have newer aircraft…

1 Like

It has nothing to do with price, short haul aircraft will often times do more than one cycle a day, vs. a long haul aircraft will generally average one or less in a day(general rule of thumb, can change). Not to mention that the 777 has been in production for a long time, and doesn’t seem to be on its way out yet with the 777X coming along here very soon. Plus it wasn’t an airframe issue, and I have no intel on how long the engine has been in service for, as the airframe tends to out last the engine. That engine might be original, but it’s more than likely to have been overhauled or at least taken apart for big inspections which could have put something into the engine by mistake. Also update: The FAA has issued an emergency AD for Boeing 777 airplanes with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines link: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLkqK61rXyU/?igshid=s5iu6suo6ku2

was just watching Captain Joe’s Video of the incident, and there is a fan blade missing. Most likely to be metal fatigue, but root cause will need to be investigated to find out what cause it to wear out so fast:
timestamp 3:30

That fan blade came off during the incidient, they found it on the ground

1 Like

uh, yeah, that picture is literally from a video after it had the uncontained engine failure in flight. The fan blade breaking off is most likely the root cause, but we will have to wait for the NTSB to investigate to get final answers.

1 Like

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States announced Tuesday that it had issued an emergency airworthiness directive regarding certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. The directive requires Thermal Acoustic Imagery of fan blades to detect any hidden cracks before the planes equipped with them are allowed to take off again.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://simpleflying.com/faa-pw4000-engine-failure-ad/