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Southwest Airlines Uncontained Engine Failure, One Fatality (4/17/18)


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#1 PRR 60

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 03:28 PM

WN 1380, LGA-DAL: engine failed at 32,500 feet with shrapnel penetrating the aircraft resulting in explosive decompression.  The flight diverted and made an emergency landing at PHL.  A woman sitting at a blown out window died of injuries resulting from the decompression.

 

Story, video and photos at 6ABC Philadelphia.

 

Discussion at Airliners.net



#2 Ryan

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 03:54 PM

That explains the Southwest jet we saw on TV while standing in line to board our flight. Guy next to me commented that it was never good to see one on the news like that, but there wasn't anything on the screen to explain what happened.

Bet that was a pretty crazy ride.
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#3 Dakota 400

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 04:30 PM

I think this is a second Southwest Airlines event in very recent days.  I saw online a very scary landing, not sure where, of a Southwest jet during a severe storm.  The passengers thought they were going to crash.

 

I'm very sorry to learn of the passing of the woman who was sitting next to that blown out window.  Reports on Fox News this afternoon said that she was almost sucked out of the plane.  May she rest in peace!



#4 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 04:35 PM

Barring some sort of destructive external catalyst (on-ground impact, midair collision) uncontained engine failures were supposedly relegated to the "nearly impossible" design scope.
 
 
Da_2f2hXUAAATES.jpg

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 17 April 2018 - 04:59 PM.

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#5 blueman271

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 06:59 PM

Barring some sort of destructive external catalyst (on-ground impact, midair collision) uncontained engine failures were supposedly relegated to the "nearly impossible" design scope.  Da_2f2hXUAAATES.jpg


Where has this been claimed? This exact same thing happened to Southwest a few years ago, just without the loss of life. https://en.wikipedia...nes_Flight_3472

Maybe the engine manufacturers are saying this type of engine failure isn’t possible on newer engines but I highly doubt any of them would make this claim about 20 year old engines.
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#6 CAMISSY55

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 07:09 PM

While finishing up my weekly lunch at my favorite restaurant and perusing AU forums, I clicked on the link provided by PRR 60’s in this thread about the Southwest Airlines emergency landing in Philadelphia. Having only heard the first headlines on television before I left home to run errands and then have lunch, I was curious to find out what had happened.

And boy howdy! I was totally unprepared for what followed. At airliners.net (a previously unknown message board for me) I began reading the posts and viewing the photos from the beginning of the thread. Sometimes I will jump to the last page of posts rather than read everything, unfortunately I didn’t in this case. I was captivated reading the nearly live updating of information, maybe because I don’t use Twitter or Facebook or similar sites, or the mood I was in, or..... who knows?! But, I just kept reading.

Reports varied, but it seemed horrifically apparent that a woman seated in the window seat near the back of one of the wings had been sucked partially (or worse by some accounts) through or into the window that was blown out by “uncontained engine failure” debris. The posts (and pictures) addressed varying reactions of the crew and passengers, the improper use of the O2 masks, and seemingly knowledgeable comments about how and why a drastic loss of cabin pressure could cause someone, despite having their seatbelt fastened securely, to be basically turned into “skin, water and bones.” And that they could very well be SUCKED out such a small window. Wow! How horrifying for the surrounding passengers, including some that reportedly physically pulled her back from the abyss.

For some reason (I know not why), this affected me intensely and made me happy that I had finished eating. Perhaps it was because I get my news from the “MSM” who don’t report in such graphic detail and who don’t generally report details without official confirmation. At any rate, I almost embarrassingly continued reading. About two or three pages in, a post read that the NTSB announced that the woman had died. It hit me uncharacteristically hard. It seemed surreal and so, so tragic.

The US hasn’t experienced a commercial airline fatality in nearly a decade. When I clicked on the link to find out what happened earlier today, I thought that it might possibly involve a crash type emergency landing and maybe injuries. But, someone dying because they were nearly sucked out a window.... never!

p.s. I grew up in an era where commercial aircraft crashes, while not common, did occasionally happen with catastrophic results. I especially remember the PSA crash over a San Diego neighborhood in the late 70s, as it hit close to home and near Lindberg Field, the airport I used frequently.

I am sure there have been maybe multiple incidents like this decades ago. I seem to remember an airliner heading to (or from?) Hawaii many years ago when a door blew out and at least one (maybe more?) person was “sucked” out before pressure was stabilized. But, this was before social media and instant video, pictures and live posting was available. Perhaps that is what makes it more horrific...

#7 GBNorman

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 08:00 PM

Even if I don't fly Southwest (last did so during '08), I have always been impressed by their exemplary safety record.

Considering how many cycles their aircraft are subject to, their maintenance standards have also been exemplary.

But now WN has had a passenger fatality, and with it goes the record of no fatalities on US soil since '13 - and since '09, none on a US flagged carrier.

#8 Trogdor

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:26 AM

Barring some sort of destructive external catalyst (on-ground impact, midair collision) uncontained engine failures were supposedly relegated to the "nearly impossible" design scope.


Where has this been claimed? This exact same thing happened to Southwest a few years ago, just without the loss of life. https://en.wikipedia...nes_Flight_3472
Maybe the engine manufacturers are saying this type of engine failure isn’t possible on newer engines but I highly doubt any of them would make this claim about 20 year old engines.

Nearly impossible is not the same as entirely impossible.

Engines are supposed to be able to contain a fan blade failure. If an entire disc goes, there is no material (at least nothing light enough to allow a plane to still fly) that can contain it.

Even if the plane was 20 years old, there’s no guarantee the engine was. In this specific case, I’m not sure, but most planes have engine changes every few years, and the engines to through a separate maintenance/refurb program, so a 20-year-old plane could have a brand new engine, and a five-year-old plane could have a 20-year-old engine.

Regardless, incidents like this have even happened with newer engines. Qantas had a failure with a Rolls Royce engine on a brand-new A380 that actually damaged some control systems. The plane was out of service for a year or two after that. Air France had something similar to this happen with one of their A380s a few months ago (I think AF uses the GE/PW engine on the A380, but am not 100% sure of that).

These can be caused by premature corrosion, bad maintenance, or manufacturing flaws, and depending on what the specific cause is, can be impossible to detect. The best any manufacturer could do is say that such an event is extremely unlikely (on the order of one in several million or so), but nobody could responsibly say that such a failure is impossible.
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#9 PerRock

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 08:02 AM

 

 

Barring some sort of destructive external catalyst (on-ground impact, midair collision) uncontained engine failures were supposedly relegated to the "nearly impossible" design scope.


Where has this been claimed? This exact same thing happened to Southwest a few years ago, just without the loss of life. https://en.wikipedia...nes_Flight_3472
Maybe the engine manufacturers are saying this type of engine failure isn’t possible on newer engines but I highly doubt any of them would make this claim about 20 year old engines.

Nearly impossible is not the same as entirely impossible.

Engines are supposed to be able to contain a fan blade failure. If an entire disc goes, there is no material (at least nothing light enough to allow a plane to still fly) that can contain it.

Even if the plane was 20 years old, there’s no guarantee the engine was. In this specific case, I’m not sure, but most planes have engine changes every few years, and the engines to through a separate maintenance/refurb program, so a 20-year-old plane could have a brand new engine, and a five-year-old plane could have a 20-year-old engine.

Regardless, incidents like this have even happened with newer engines. Qantas had a failure with a Rolls Royce engine on a brand-new A380 that actually damaged some control systems. The plane was out of service for a year or two after that. Air France had something similar to this happen with one of their A380s a few months ago (I think AF uses the GE/PW engine on the A380, but am not 100% sure of that).

These can be caused by premature corrosion, bad maintenance, or manufacturing flaws, and depending on what the specific cause is, can be impossible to detect. The best any manufacturer could do is say that such an event is extremely unlikely (on the order of one in several million or so), but nobody could responsibly say that such a failure is impossible.

 

 

I don't know the exact age, but in one picture I saw from the interior of the plane, the passenger safety card could be seen; which read "[blocked]7-800" NW only flies 737, making is a 737-800... a fairly new plane.

 

peter


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#10 PRR 60

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 08:22 AM

The ship was N772SW: a B737-700 delivered in July, 2000. The engines were (2) CFM56-7.  CFM is a joint venture of Safran (France) and General Electric.



#11 Trogdor

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:00 AM

 

I don't know the exact age, but in one picture I saw from the interior of the plane, the passenger safety card could be seen; which read "[blocked]7-800" NW only flies 737, making is a 737-800... a fairly new plane.

 

 

peter

 

 

 

Southwest uses the same safety card for all of their planes (the card says 737-700/-800/MAX8).

 

Honestly, I don't know how they're allowed to do that, since they have different exit configurations (the -700 has one overwing exit pair, the -800/MAX 8 have two).

 

Back when they had classics and NGs, they used the same safety card even though the overwing exit operation is different on the two types.  I would think that the safety card ought to be specific to the plane (meaning not having it list configurations or exit operations that don't apply to that plane), but I guess the FAA signed off on allowing them to do it that way.


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#12 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 02:41 PM

While finishing up my weekly lunch at my favorite restaurant and perusing AU forums, I clicked on the link provided by PRR 60s in this thread about the Southwest Airlines emergency landing in Philadelphia. Having only heard the first headlines on television before I left home to run errands and then have lunch, I was curious to find out what had happened.

And boy howdy! I was totally unprepared for what followed. At airliners.net (a previously unknown message board for me) I began reading the posts and viewing the photos from the beginning of the thread. Sometimes I will jump to the last page of posts rather than read everything, unfortunately I didnt in this case. I was captivated reading the nearly live updating of information, maybe because I dont use Twitter or Facebook or similar sites, or the mood I was in, or..... who knows?! But, I just kept reading.

Reports varied, but it seemed horrifically apparent that a woman seated in the window seat near the back of one of the wings had been sucked partially (or worse by some accounts) through or into the window that was blown out by uncontained engine failure debris. The posts (and pictures) addressed varying reactions of the crew and passengers, the improper use of the O2 masks, and seemingly knowledgeable comments about how and why a drastic loss of cabin pressure could cause someone, despite having their seatbelt fastened securely, to be basically turned into skin, water and bones. And that they could very well be SUCKED out such a small window. Wow! How horrifying for the surrounding passengers, including some that reportedly physically pulled her back from the abyss.

For some reason (I know not why), this affected me intensely and made me happy that I had finished eating. Perhaps it was because I get my news from the MSM who dont report in such graphic detail and who dont generally report details without official confirmation. At any rate, I almost embarrassingly continued reading. About two or three pages in, a post read that the NTSB announced that the woman had died. It hit me uncharacteristically hard. It seemed surreal and so, so tragic.

The US hasnt experienced a commercial airline fatality in nearly a decade. When I clicked on the link to find out what happened earlier today, I thought that it might possibly involve a crash type emergency landing and maybe injuries. But, someone dying because they were nearly sucked out a window.... never!

p.s. I grew up in an era where commercial aircraft crashes, while not common, did occasionally happen with catastrophic results. I especially remember the PSA crash over a San Diego neighborhood in the late 70s, as it hit close to home and near Lindberg Field, the airport I used frequently.

I am sure there have been maybe multiple incidents like this decades ago. I seem to remember an airliner heading to (or from?) Hawaii many years ago when a door blew out and at least one (maybe more?) person was sucked out before pressure was stabilized. But, this was before social media and instant video, pictures and live posting was available. Perhaps that is what makes it more horrific...

Aloha Airlines Flight 243 in 1988 was an accident in Hawaii that involved a large section of the roof coming off completely. One employee was sucked out of the plane; everybody else survived.
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#13 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 03:22 PM

I think this is a second Southwest Airlines event in very recent days.  I saw online a very scary landing, not sure where, of a Southwest jet during a severe storm.  The passengers thought they were going to crash.
 
I'm very sorry to learn of the passing of the woman who was sitting next to that blown out window.  Reports on Fox News this afternoon said that she was almost sucked out of the plane.  May she rest in peace!


Yes, there was another incident during a landing at MSY (New Orleans) which failed and was aborted. The aircraft diverted.
 
 

While finishing up my weekly lunch at my favorite restaurant and perusing AU forums, I clicked on the link provided by PRR 60’s in this thread about the Southwest Airlines emergency landing in Philadelphia. Having only heard the first headlines on television before I left home to run errands and then have lunch, I was curious to find out what had happened.

And boy howdy! I was totally unprepared for what followed. At airliners.net (a previously unknown message board for me) I began reading the posts and viewing the photos from the beginning of the thread. Sometimes I will jump to the last page of posts rather than read everything, unfortunately I didn’t in this case. I was captivated reading the nearly live updating of information, maybe because I don’t use Twitter or Facebook or similar sites, or the mood I was in, or..... who knows?! But, I just kept reading.

Reports varied, but it seemed horrifically apparent that a woman seated in the window seat near the back of one of the wings had been sucked partially (or worse by some accounts) through or into the window that was blown out by “uncontained engine failure” debris. The posts (and pictures) addressed varying reactions of the crew and passengers, the improper use of the O2 masks, and seemingly knowledgeable comments about how and why a drastic loss of cabin pressure could cause someone, despite having their seatbelt fastened securely, to be basically turned into “skin, water and bones.” And that they could very well be SUCKED out such a small window. Wow! How horrifying for the surrounding passengers, including some that reportedly physically pulled her back from the abyss.

For some reason (I know not why), this affected me intensely and made me happy that I had finished eating. Perhaps it was because I get my news from the “MSM” who don’t report in such graphic detail and who don’t generally report details without official confirmation. At any rate, I almost embarrassingly continued reading. About two or three pages in, a post read that the NTSB announced that the woman had died. It hit me uncharacteristically hard. It seemed surreal and so, so tragic.

The US hasn’t experienced a commercial airline fatality in nearly a decade. When I clicked on the link to find out what happened earlier today, I thought that it might possibly involve a crash type emergency landing and maybe injuries. But, someone dying because they were nearly sucked out a window.... never!

p.s. I grew up in an era where commercial aircraft crashes, while not common, did occasionally happen with catastrophic results. I especially remember the PSA crash over a San Diego neighborhood in the late 70s, as it hit close to home and near Lindberg Field, the airport I used frequently.

I am sure there have been maybe multiple incidents like this decades ago. I seem to remember an airliner heading to (or from?) Hawaii many years ago when a door blew out and at least one (maybe more?) person was “sucked” out before pressure was stabilized. But, this was before social media and instant video, pictures and live posting was available. Perhaps that is what makes it more horrific...


Airliners is perhaps the foremost airline fan site characterized by usual significant bickering between Airbus and Boeing fans and bickering between fans of various airlines. However, some of the members are knowledgeable pilots and engineers.

Hopefully NTSB figures it out soon. Too many CFM56 engines around to risk.
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#14 PRR 60

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 03:31 PM

Here's an article from the Aviation Herald with links to NTSB video and photos, plus comments from (mostly) informed posters.
 
A couple of interesting points:
 

  • A portion of the failed cowling was recovered on the ground about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
  • Fear of control damage resulted in the plane landing at Flap 5 (the angle of flap decent to slow the plane and increase lift).  Typically, a 737 lands at Flap 30 or 40. In English this means the plane touched down at a much higher speed than normal.
  • The Captain was Tammie Jo Shults, a former Navy F18 fighter pilot (Ryan swells with pride!).  
  • Very preliminary investigation by the NTSB found a missing fan blade, with the failure appearing to be metal fatigue.


#15 caravanman

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 03:53 PM

One of the things that stands out for me, with this and the Hudson River landing, is that both the commercial pilots had former military flying history. It would be nice to feel that all pilots would be as calm and clear thinking under such pressure, but these folk seem to bring a little extra to the cockpit.

 

Ed.



#16 cpotisch

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:16 PM

The -56 engines used on the more recent 737s have an exemplary safety record and this accident is indeed a shocker in the aviation world. Apparently a fan blade in the left engine had partially detached due to metal fatigue. It then got sucked into the fan and the engine exploded. Sounds fun.

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#17 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:42 PM

 

Barring some sort of destructive external catalyst (on-ground impact, midair collision) uncontained engine failures were supposedly relegated to the "nearly impossible" design scope.


Where has this been claimed? This exact same thing happened to Southwest a few years ago, just without the loss of life. Maybe the engine manufacturers are saying this type of engine failure isn’t possible on newer engines but I highly doubt any of them would make this claim about 20 year old engines.

The first time I remember hearing this claim was in the 772 GE90 era. That is not to say that it is a hard and fast rule, and it's obvious that it does in fact happen, but in theory commercial turbofan engines should be more likely to fall off the wing than explode into the fuselage.

 

Even if I don't fly Southwest (last did so during '08), I have always been impressed by their exemplary safety record. Considering how many cycles their aircraft are subject to, their maintenance standards have also been exemplary.


A few years ago Southwest was substantially fined for illegally failing to resolve and report excessively deferred maintenance. If I remember correctly the delays were so severe and widespread that Southwest suffered some of the highest maintenance and reporting fines ever levied at that time.

 

Honestly, I don't know how they're allowed to [include multiple distinct aircraft on a single safety card] since they have different exit configurations...I guess the FAA signed off on allowing them to do it that way.


I believe the approval is predicated on the staff announcing the specific series at the beginning of each flight.  My main problem with airline flight safety materials is that they never go beyond the the most basic information.  Even after five hundred flights you're no more prepared for an actual crash than you were after the first five.

 

 

I seem to remember an airliner heading to (or from?) Hawaii many years ago when a door blew out and at least one (maybe more?) person was sucked out before pressure was stabilized. But, this was before social media and instant video, pictures and live posting was available. Perhaps that is what makes it more horrific...

Aloha Airlines Flight 243 in 1988 was an accident in Hawaii that involved a large section of the roof coming off completely. One employee was sucked out of the plane; everybody else survived.

 

There was also UA811...

united-811-cap.jpg


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 18 April 2018 - 11:13 PM.

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#18 Bob Dylan

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:32 AM

I agree with Chris that the so called pre-flight Safety briefing is a charade that absolutely no-one pays attention too, and that the safety cards ard a sad joke too!
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#19 AlamoWye

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 09:44 AM

I've always wished that the airlines would provide some extra training and certification for frequent passengers, similar to CPR training, that would allow them to sit in the emergency exit areas. If a few more passengers were aware of what needed to be done in emergencies and had actually practiced it, I'm sure it could save lives. I mean it seems normal to throw the emergency exit out, but I think I've heard sometime you are suppose to bring it in. And the wing exit passenger is also supposed to assess whether it is actually safe to exit onto the wing. A lot of stuff to try to remember when this last episode shows that people don't even know how to put on their oxygen mask correctly.


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#20 cpotisch

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:20 AM

I've always wished that the airlines would provide some extra training and certification for frequent passengers, similar to CPR training, that would allow them to sit in the emergency exit areas. If a few more passengers were aware of what needed to be done in emergencies and had actually practiced it, I'm sure it could save lives. I mean it seems normal to throw the emergency exit out, but I think I've heard sometime you are suppose to bring it in. And the wing exit passenger is also supposed to assess whether it is actually safe to exit onto the wing. A lot of stuff to try to remember when this last episode shows that people don't even know how to put on their oxygen mask correctly.

I don't see how it would make much sense to give training to frequent passengers. Anyone sitting in an exit row already knows the main responsibilities of doing so. And it's not their responsibility to perform CPR. That's up to the crew.


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