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What we know so far about the Southwest incident

Philadelphia - A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia on April 17 after one of its engines had been severely damaged following the loss of a fan blade. ( More...

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taterhed1 2
The engine in question has been identified as delivered in 2000 (year of airframe delivery too) with 10,000 cycles SMOH and 40,000 total cycles. It's also listed as 'not covered' under previous inspection mandate.

Is this normal cycles or low/high?

This is NYT/Reuters article.
gerardo godoy 3
The Pilot and First Officer were right on the ball.....congratulations to both for a great job!!
How come they didn’t do those checks after 1st incident.
Carlen Kirby 2
I’m sorry, what is the first incident you are speaking of. There have been many main fan failures over the last forty years but the attempt has been to maintain or trap the debris from such a failure by keeping it inside the main blade housing. Great improvements have been made in this effort in the last ten years or so with the implementation of kevlar linings inside the housing. This is the same material used in bullet proof vest. A main fan blade rotating at 20,000 to over 30,000 RPM can have the force, in some instances, of over 20,000 pounds if it separates from the main shaft. Keep in mind these are just generalized numbers because the actual RPMs and centrifugal weights vary greatly with the size of the engine. The point here is that containing such a catastrophic failure is a major undertaking. Every engine designed must go through a blade out test to prove that the blade and fragments can be maintained within the housing. These test are very expensive and require the total destruction of an engine that may cost over thirty million dollars. Unfortunately, as seen in this incident, other faults can result in further destruction and even loss of life.
matt jensen 1
Because no one died
matt jensen 1
The question I have is did the fan blade break first or did the cowling break it?
Craig Stepp 1
Delta MD-80 in 1996 in Pensacola, FL had a engine explode during takeoff killing two people in the cabin.
Jared Smith 1
My understanding is that the fan shroud is designed to contain any fan blade separations. This was the argument against propellers and unducted fans. The accident at Soiux City was explained away that the blisk failed there and in that case the parts were too heavy and contained too much energy to stop with flight structure.

Why is it that there has been no discussion as to why the blades were not contained by the fan shroud?
scott ebrite 1
There is no discussion as such because it was not an uncontained engine explosion. The fan blade detached, went through the engine, destroyed the internal rotating sections and all existed out the back. The engine did not explode. All the, now seriously unbalanced rotational sections, about 30,000 RPM, created such severe vibration that the nacelle (inlet cowling) and engine covers failed the separated from the engine.
Thomas Frisch 1
Was the woman who so tragically lost her life in this incident buckled in or not? If not, would her seatbelt have prevented her from being (partially) sucked out and thus possibly have saved her life?
It sounds like the passenger who was killed was buckled in, per this interview with a woman in the same row.
AWAAlum 1
By several reports I've read, she WAS buckled in. It was opined that had she not been, she very likely would have been completely pulled out of the aircraft.
Carlen Kirby -1
From what we know, according to passengers and cabin crew, the passenger did not have her seat belt fastened. The plane was at cruising altitude therefore the “fasten seat belt” light was off. As a pilot, this is why we often suggest that while seated all passengers should remain safely fastened in their seat belt. There are a lot of unknowns in the sky’s and one bad thermo pocket can send things, and people, tumbling. Sadly, if a window is compromised the initial loss of cabin pressure can be devastating to the planes structural integrity and have the vacuum effect equivalent to that of a ping pong ball being sucked into a vacuum cleaner hose. Not a very pleasant scenario and one that occurs very, very infrequently. Though we are trained to react very rapidly to these conditions, not all situation can be contained and controlled as rapidly as we would wish. Though a life was lost, the flight crew made very aggressive decisions that may have saved many more lives. They should and have been praised for their quick lifesaving reactions.
Carlen Kirby 0
My first post failed so to repeat. There is some confusion as to whether the seat belt was secure. It is possible that someone released the buckle in an attempt to pull the passenger back in. It is also possible that her seat belt was re fastened when she was returned to her seat. To many conflicting statements to issue a final call on this one. However, it should be noted that due to her physical size it has been determined that she could not have physically fit through the window. Since there are no other incidents reported where the inner and outer glazing have been blown out there is nothing to compare this incident to. Will have to wait for the final NTBS report on this one. An aircraft at altitude flying over 500 miles an hour with a passenger partially out of the fuselage pretty much creates a situation that cannot be survived.
AWAAlum 1
I wish I'd had the foresight to make a record of specifics, but, included among the reports I mentioned earlier, was the fact that actually, a number of years ago, a similar incident (re the window) occurred. However, this particular time, a rather large male was seated next to the window and he was, in fact, lost out the window and went on to describe he was fed through the engine (TMI?). The article briefly went on to discuss how someone larger than the opening could fit through. I'm sitting on the fence regarding the facts stated, but am willing to entertain them as true.
Carlen Kirby 1
The incident you are referring to occurred on November 3, 1973 when a man aboard a National Airlines DC-10 flight had an engine blow up at forty thousand feet. However, in that incident, there was much more damage around the window allowing more room for the man, who was reported to be of average size, to be ejected from the plane. The man’s body was found as skeletal remains and did not show any indications of having struck the engine. By the way, this man was in his seat belt and according to witnesses he had eight to ten inches of slack in the belt.
matt jensen 1
Lake City - do you mean SLC?
DEN is the technical hub and IND was maintenance hub for UAL - at least it was the last time I visited it in 2003
Coalora 1
UAL closed their maintenance hub at IND a while ago, unfortunately.
Chris B 1
Missing parts found
Carlen Kirby 1
As late as February of this year a United Airlines Boing 777 had a catastrophic engine failure as the engine began to “fall apart in mid flight. The 777 made a safe landing and taxied to the gate under its own power. In Septemer of 2017, an Airbus 380 owned by Air France suffered a catastrophic uncontainable engine failure in route from Paris to Los Angeles. An Airbus 380 owned by Quatas Airlines suffered a similar fate in 2010 when one of its engines again suffered a non contained engine failure. No injuries occurred with any of these flights. So the possibility of engine failures do exist and normally are not life threatening. Before better technology was introduced some fifteen years ago, these could have been fatal to all passengers on these flights. However, containment, if only for a few moments as the main blades break loose, keeps the large sections of debri from entering the cabin causing major damage to the airframe and supporting structures. It is sad that there was a loss of life with this incident but overall safety is still much better today than in the past. Especially when you consider this, a separated fan blade turning at more than 30,000 rpm can travel at twice the speed of sound and have the impact of a small bus or large truck! Fill safer now....
joel wiley -2
What we know so far: 1) the engine broke 2) 1 death several injuries 3)NTSB investigating.
Sergio Luka 8
Nice summary, but there is slightly more than this in the article.
djames225 5
Badly busted up thots to the female passenger's family and friends and to the rest of the pax and crew.
There are going to be huge magnification glasses come out on way in hell that nacell should not have minimized the debris scatter more.
matt jensen 0
craigbell1941 -1
If it aint Boeing, I aint going never rang so true this week, Pylon stayed in place, engine stayed mounted to pylon, no control surface damage ( ala UA DC10 in Iowa) only one dead in what could have been worse, much worse.
Stefan Sobol 10
How does this engine failure demonstrate that "If it aint Boeing, I aint going." trope? 737's and A320s can be equipped with the same engine. The A320 has smaller windows so maybe a) the window would not have been hit, and b) no one would be sucked out.
craigbell1941 -2
Any commercial airline pilot could have done the same thing. These two are not special. Plane was never in peril due to control surface damage or total hydraulic system failure. These aircraft are designed to operate even if an engine falls off the pylon.
joel wiley 4
Well, I think I understand your point that this was a 'typical' emergency situation for which pilots train and that their actions don't stand head and shoulders above others.
However, IMHO, the training, expertise, and professionalism of the class pretty much makes 'special' the norm.
victorbravo77 -1
Pratt & Whitney = Reliable Engines. (koff koff)

LOL, yes I realize this was a GE/Snecma (CFM) engine.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Chris B 5
Thats lifted word for word from this article in Vanity Fair.
matt jensen -1
Sorry, I didn't think to use ""
matt coe 12
That article is completely wrong and you shouldn’t post stuff you don’t know for sure. I have worked for two airlines mentioned and neither fly their planes out of this country for maintenance. Even when united bought airplanes from China they flew them to the states (lake city to be exact) and retrofitted them to match their current fleet.
linbb -9
Nice to hear from some one who knows first hand as many who post on here are just Trolls with nothing better to do while at work or waiting for wife to fix dinner.
william baker -5
Where all trolls from time To time lol.
matt jensen -4
Please ID which carriers you have worked for and where you are working now?
djames225 4
Did you trip and bang your head??..Delta uses AAR for major stuff their TechOps finds, Southwest does likewise, Aeroman in ElSalvador is a joke at best..they have not even updated their website since 2015..stop spewing garbage about where airlines get major MRO work done..and why would it change for American after they were the 1';s taking in US Airways???
Highflyer1950 2
Actually, didn’t US Airways buy American!
djames225 2
Maybe they did and maybe they didn't..the "American after they were the 1';s taking in US Airways" I was referring to their operations certificate.
That would've made it The New US Airways...
Highflyer1950 2
Actually no, they kept the American name, but I like your thinking.
AWAAlum 1
That is correct.
Tony Perez 1
I'm guessing they have maintenance facilities where they have regular flights to, in case maintenance is required before the return leg.
fernando kosop -8
high time (cycles) engines that do not get proper maintenance are a real and huge problem to aviation and a threat to passengers.
wake up southwest!!!!! it´s not "cargo" you are hauling,,,,,,,it is transportation of human lives.
chalet 5
How do ypu know that SWA is not maintaining its aircraft in a safe and proper manner. Your accusation is heavy. Tell us all you know ot stay shut.
rfinsl1 2
Technically, it is Self Loading Freight.
Frank Harvey 1
Pax may be freight and the crew are really just No-Go (without) Rotable parts which are inserted into specific locations on the A/c Type(s) for which they are certified to be placed. These Rotables are used on the A/c for a specified, limited, maximum number of hours, after which they are removed and sent to a "Refurb Shop". They remain in "Refurb" for a specified number of hours to be restored to Usable status, after which they can be moved to the "Warehouse" and sit on the shelf waiting to be issued to a specific A/c for another time-limited, relatively short life-cycle.

I once tried to explain this from an IT perspective as to why we didn't need a separate Crew-Scheduling system but could use the existing Engineering Parts and Scheduled Maintenance Parts Issuing systems, slightly modified using the Tire-Life (keep them in the dark !), Oils (you want to rotate your Inventory), Shelf-Life and a Pre-Issue modified FIFO (to accommodate Bidding for particular routes/flights). You even had the ability for "MX" (Dispatcher) to "inspect" them (Alcohol/Uniform etc) before inserting them into the A/c.

The Cabin-Crew Rep went ballistic (I don't think she liked my quip about "Mechanics inspecting 'her girls' before flight") and my cost-saving idea -which would have worked fine- was shot down. They ended up spending hundreds of thousands to develop a "purpose built" system.
Frank Harvey 1
I should add they are "Serialized Rotable Parts" - You need the serialization to tell them apart and to track their Time etc.
Carlen Kirby 0
As late as February of this year a United Airlines Boing 777 had a catastrophic engine failure as the engine began to “fall apart in mid flight. The 777 made a safe landing and taxied to the gate under its own power. In Septemer of 2017, an Airbus 380 owned by Air France suffered a catastrophic uncontainable engine failure in route from Paris to Los Angels
Carlen Kirby 0
Additionally, another Airbus 380 belonging to Quantas Airlines suffered an uncontained engine failure in mid flight. The cowling and main fan housing on all these failures contained the main fan debris for mere seconds which is long enough to keep the debris from doing major damage to the fuselage or other engines. In all of the previous examples each plane landed without further incident. A pretty good record in comparison to ten or so years back.
Mike C 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Ongoing Southwest 1380 Investigation

The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday his agency was interviewing the crew of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 and examining cockpit voice and data recorders as they investigate an engine failure that killed one passenger.


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