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

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Don't forget that it took BOTH pilots to get the aircraft on the ground safely. In normal operations the pilot monitoring (PM) is the one talking on the radios while the pilot flying (PF) is the one operating the controls. Now in an emergency situation like this, it takes some serious coordination on who is doing what. Now each airline is slightly different with their SOP's. At my airline, most emergencies or abnormalities, the controls and radios are first handed to the first officer (FO), while the captain manages the situation by first getting in the Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) and takes care of the problem. Then they have to coordinate with the flight attendants about the situation of diverting, whether or not there are hurt people, then plan with ATC about diverting. The one emergency where it is the captain doing the flying is actually the emergency decent after a depressurization, in which the captain will take control of the aircraft and ask the FO to declare an emergency with ATC and then reads off the checklist for doing said decent and tells the captain exactly what do to. At a safe altitude, then the FO can take the controls while the captain manages the situation and makes sure everyone is coordinated and all final checklists are complete. Now Southwest might have totally different procedures so we won't know who was flying until the NTSB report is out. It could have very well been the FO that flew the entire time. Or perhaps he was flying while she was managing the last minute checklists and maybe they transferred controls for the landing. Who knows yet? The fact is that it's a team effort.

 

What's amazing is that this flight had not one but TWO threats at first. They had engine fire indication immediately followed by a rapid decompression. Two immediate threats that have to be dealt with in a certain order. The decompression was obviously the more serious threat at the time because you can't fight a engine fire when you're unconscious. I'm curious to see the transcripts of their thought process when this first happened. Luckily the engine was not on fire and it was just an indication when the thing nearly disintegrated. Once at safe altitude, they still had to secure the dead engine, run the checklists for single engine approaches as they had wing damage. And make sure everything was okay in the cabin. Things weren't so they made sure medics were on hand as well.

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Thanks for the insight from the Cockpit Chris!

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I will be very interested in the NTSB findings on this event...what their recommendations will be in prevention of another occurrence....

Reinforcing the engine shroud with some kind of light weight Kevlar belt, perhaps?

Reducing the time between inspections, or other engine maintenance?

Should be interesting...

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I will be very interested in the NTSB findings on this event...what their recommendations will be in prevention of another occurrence....

Reinforcing the engine shroud with some kind of light weight Kevlar belt, perhaps?

Reducing the time between inspections, or other engine maintenance?

Should be interesting...

I imagine that a Kevlar shroud won't do much to contain an exploding jet engine that puts out 34,000 pounds of thrust. Remember that we're talking about 40 or so massive fan blades firing in all directions at 5200+ rpm. I doubt Kevlar can do much about that...

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FAA has already added additional ultrasonic test requirements for operating the CFM engines in question.

 

Meanwhile there is the continuing saga of the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 Engines and their blade corrosion problems leading to inflight shutdowns....

 

http://www.godsavethepoints.com/2018/04/15/problems-mount-rolls-royce-boeing-787-dreamliner-engines/

 

Apparently even Trent 900 engines on some A380s are affected, but being a 4 engine plane the A380s are not affected by the drastic ETOPS rating reductions.

Edited by jis

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Apparently even Trent 900 engines on some A380s are affected, but being a 4 engine plane the A380s are not affected by the drastic ETOPS rating reductions.

ETOPS isn't so drastic anymore. The 787 has an ETOPS rating of 330 minutes. That means that it can safely fly with one engine working for five and a half hours. So ETOPS is not really the limiting factor here.

Edited by cpotisch

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Now, today, another Southwest 737 had an incident.

 

Too many flights between thorough inspections for their planes?

 

Southwest pulled out of my home airport. Good. I wouldn't even consider flying them now if they were a local option.

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Now, today, another Southwest 737 had an incident.

 

Too many flights between thorough inspections for their planes?

 

Southwest pulled out of my home airport. Good. I wouldn't even consider flying them now if they were a local option.

A window cracked on the SW flight! They still have the BEST Safety Record of all the Airlines, which are THE SAFEST Way to Travel!

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Apparently even Trent 900 engines on some A380s are affected, but being a 4 engine plane the A380s are not affected by the drastic ETOPS rating reductions.

ETOPS isn't so drastic anymore. The 787 has an ETOPS rating of 330 minutes. That means that it can safely fly with one engine working for five and a half hours. So ETOPS is not really the limiting factor here.
The ETOPS certification for RR Trent 787 have been temporarily cut down to 180 in case you have not been paying attention . This has led to withdrawal of 787s from some routes and substitution by other types. Edited by jis

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Now, today, another Southwest 737 had an incident. Too many flights between thorough inspections for their planes? Southwest pulled out of my home airport. Good. I wouldn't even consider flying them now if they were a local option.

 

Southwest operates under the same maintenance and safety standards as any other major US airline. If the system allows unsafe operation by one carrier it allows unsafe operation by all carriers.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Apparently even Trent 900 engines on some A380s are affected, but being a 4 engine plane the A380s are not affected by the drastic ETOPS rating reductions.

ETOPS isn't so drastic anymore. The 787 has an ETOPS rating of 330 minutes. That means that it can safely fly with one engine working for five and a half hours. So ETOPS is not really the limiting factor here.
The ETOPS certification for RR Trent 787 have been temporarily cut down to 180 in case you have not been paying attention . This has led to withdrawal of 787s from some routes and substitution by other types.

I thought it was actually reduced to 140 minutes, not even 180.

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Trog, you’re correct. 140.

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Yikes. That's not good at all.

That's OK. It'll eventually get fixed. Remember, the 787 fleet was entirely grounded for a while after the battery affair.

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I was reading a report yesterday...forgot just where...that explained the stress the multi-layered cabin windows sustain with each pressurization cycle...

I wonder if there was something that could be designed that would take the tension off the plastic or glass (not sure what each layer is), and have some type of mechanical device absorb the expansion and retraction?

Apparently, there may have been a tiny unseen flaw that suddenly cracked under the tension in this case, but thankfully it held long enough for the cabin to not lose pressure...

 

I've seen my car windshield crack in the winter, when my hot defroster hit a tiny chip in the cold glass...

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Curious as to how the orders have split between the GEnX and the RR on the 787....

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Curious as to how the orders have split between the GEnX and the RR on the 787....

I have an impression that GEnX had a significant lead based on the last definitive article on that in AvLeak. But that was a couple years back. I don't know for sure what the current situation is.

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Just did a quick look around, and apparently most 787s have RR engines. But a bad sign is that the largest 787 operator in the world (ANA), is refitting 50 planes with GEnX engines. Does not seem to bode well for Rolls if the largest operator is giving up on them altogether...

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Just did a quick look around, and apparently most 787s have RR engines. But a bad sign is that the largest 787 operator in the world (ANA), is refitting 50 planes with GEnX engines. Does not seem to bode well for Rolls if the largest operator is giving up on them altogether...

I thought they were about 50/50. Can you share where you looked around to that conclusion.

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Did some scrounging for data, and the best I can come up with is about 75%-25% GE over RR

Edited by PVD

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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-13/dreamliners-longest-trips-face-curbs-on-rolls-royce-engine-woes

 

It seems that most of the bigger users are siding with the GE

 

also glanced at production list data on planespotters...

 

with ANA replacing their RR with GE, that's 100 more GE (plus spares) for their 50 planes.

Edited by PVD

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Did some scrounging for data, and the best I can come up with is about 75%-25% GE over RR

I had thought GEs were used more as well, but saw a couple pages yesterday that said the Trents were more common. But looking around now, I can't seem to find those articles, so IDK.

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Where has ANA announced that they are switching engines to GE? Changing engine types on an already-built jet is a costly and extensive process, and thus is rarely ever done.

 

While originally Boeing wanted to design the 787 so that swapping between GE and RR engines was as simple as a regular engine change, that capability did not make it into the final aircraft design.

 

The only news info I can find about ANA 787 engines is that, two years ago, they said they were replacing all of their engines due to turbine blade problems. However, those were being replaced with newer RR engines.

 

As for the 75/25 split, I don’t think it’s that drastic. The general news items indicate the RR engine problem affects about 25% of the worldwide 787 fleet. However, not all RR-powered planes are affected. Certain models, including the Trent TEN engine, are excluded from the latest mess. Therefore. The actual breakdown of the fleet is about 25% with bad RR engines, some additional percent with “good” RR engines, and the rest with GEs.

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Changing engine types on an already-built jet is a costly and extensive process, and thus is rarely ever done.

It's easy on the 787, which was specially designed to operate interchangeably between the two engine types. To swap engines, all they have to do is slightly modify the pylons, stick on the new engines, and they're done.

Edited by cpotisch

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