United Airlines flight 328 departed Denver for Honolulu on Saturday and was climbing through 12,000 feet when the starboard (right) engine suffered an uncontained engine failure. That term means internal parts of the engine broke through the external casing of the engine cover.
Engine failures classified as uncontained are very rare yet on Saturday we had two.
A Boeing 747 was forced to make an emergency landing in Belgium when one of the four engines suffered an uncontained engine failure that caused debris to fall on a Dutch community where two people were injured. The second was the Boeing 777 where parts of the engine fell into neighborhoods with fortunately (as of now) no injuries reported.
The airline industry has several engine failure reports daily somewhere around the world when an engine malfunctions. The crew is trained to deal with the situation where the engine is powered down and the plane lands safely at a nearby airport. The engines of modern aircraft are powerful enough that a plane can fly on one engine for extended periods of time. Passengers become quite alarmed at the time but for highly trained flight crews it is a normal process that is executed with precision.
photo: getty images