United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner Returns to Singapore After Engine Failure

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 17, 2024 12:30 PMNews
White and black United Airlines airplane during night time
White and black United Airlines airplane during night time. Source: unsplash

A United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner, operating Flight UA28 from Singapore Changi to San Francisco, experienced an engine failure shortly after takeoff. The aircraft, with 197 passengers and 14 crew members on board, landed safely back in Singapore, with no injuries reported.

The incident involved an eight-year-old 787-9 Dreamliner powered by two GEnx engines. Approximately 30 minutes into the flight, the plane's left-hand engine suffered a suspected uncontained engine failure. Pilots shut down the engine and descended from FL310 to FL150 before safely landing back in Singapore about 90 minutes after departure. A post-flight inspection revealed a hole in the left engine cowling and engine case.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the incident, which appears to be an uncontained engine failure. In a notice, the FAA stated, "AIRCRAFT DEPARTED, SHORTLY AFTER REPORTED A #1 LEFT ENGINE FAILURE AND RETURNED TO AIRPORT, POST FLIGHT INSPECTION REVEALED A HOLE IN THE LEFT ENGINE COWLING AND ENGINE CASE, SINGAPORE."

United Airlines operates two daily roundtrips between Singapore and San Francisco, offering over 7,100 weekly seats. The 787-9 Dreamliners on this route can seat up to 257 passengers across three cabin classes. The affected aircraft remains grounded following the incident.

The Dreamliner's GEnx engines are one of two options for the 787, the other being Rolls-Royce's Trent 1000. While it's not confirmed if the engine failure was uncontained, the damage to the cowling and case suggests it could be. Uncontained failures are serious, as they involve engine parts exiting the casing at high speeds, potentially causing structural damage.

In 2022, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive (AD) revealing that some GE engines, including the GEnx, were manufactured with contaminated powdered metals. This issue has led to more ADs as further affected engines were identified. Simple Flying has reached out to United Airlines for comment on this incident.

This isn't the first incident for the aircraft. Two years ago, the same plane had a landing gear issue after taking off from Houston to London, and a few days prior, it had to return to London due to an indicator light issue.

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