• Joe Breitfeller

Boeing, Pratt & Whitney and NTSB Publish Statements on United B777-200 Incident Last Saturday

Last Saturday, February 20, 2021, United Airlines Flight 328, a Boeing 777-200, experienced an uncontained engine failure in the number two engine while climbing out after takeoff from Denver. The aircraft was enroute to Honolulu, Hawaii, with 241 passengers and crew.


Boeing 777-200LR - Courtesy Boeing

On Saturday (February 20, 2021), United Airlines Flight 328, a Boeing 777-200, tail number N772UA, experienced an uncontained engine failure in the number two engine shortly after departing Denver International Airport (DEN) at 13:04 local time. The aircraft was enroute to Daniel K. Inouye Airport (HNL) Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii with 231 passengers and 10 crewmembers. As the engine casing disintegrated, parts rained down over the Denver suburb of Broomfield, landing in open fields and residential neighborhoods. Although some homes suffered vehicle and roof damage, fortunately, nobody on the ground was injured. Additionally, the United Airlines’ pilots commanding UA 328 successfully returned to the airport, without further incident or injuries.


On Sunday evening (February 21, 2021), Boeing published a statement regarding the incident, which says,

“Boeing is actively monitoring recent events related to United Airlines Flight 328. 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. 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. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”


Pratt & Whitney is the manufacturer of the incident aircraft’s PW4000-112 engines. The company also published a statement, which reads,


United Airlines Flight 328 is currently under NTSB investigation and Pratt & Whitney has dispatched a team to work with investigators. Pratt & Whitney is actively coordinating with operators and regulators to support the revised inspection interval of the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines that power Boeing 777 aircraft. Any further investigative updates regarding this event will be at the discretion of the NTSB. Pratt & Whitney will continue to work to ensure the safe operation of the fleet.


United Flight 328 Engine Cowling Lands In Residential Area of Denver Suburb - Courtesy Broomfield Police Department/Twitter

According to an investigative update by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an initial assessment of the incident aircraft indicated that most damage was confined to the number 2 engine with the airframe only suffering minor damage. The inlet and cowling had separated from the engine and two fan blades were fractured, one of which fractured near the root, and the other approximately mid-span. A portion of one blade was embedded in the containment ring and the remainder of the blades exhibited damage to the tips and leading edges. Naturally, the investigation is ongoing and the NTSB has set up groups to evaluate structures, powerplants, operations factors, maintenance records, the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR).



Source(s): Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, NTSB