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Aircraft parts rain on Broomfield, Colorado as plane makes emergency landing at Denver airport

Debris from a commercial jet rained down on Broomfield on Saturday afternoon, and the distressed flight made an emergency landing at Denver International Airport. Denver firefighters based at the airport responded to an “emergency landing” at about 1:35 p.m., said Capt. Greg Pixley, a fire department spokesman. The crew of United Airlines Flight #328, which departed Denver at 12:15 p.m. bound for Honolulu, “reported an engine issue” after takeoff, said Alex Renteria, a DIA spokeswoman. The plane… ( More...

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patrick baker 31
this is an infrequent occurrence, but one that is frequently trained for in simulators, and one that was anticipated by proper engineering and construction... I view it as an occurrence trained for and properly handled by a well trained flight crew. Training verified by performance...
Robert Cowling 14
I am a scuba diver. Early in my 'career' I was diving with new gear in early spring. It was a boat dive, and my wife was my buddy. We planed to follow the anchor line to the bottom, and regroup there, me in the lead. Not realizing it, she chickened out, and at about 15 feet, went to the surface. I continued and hit the bottom (35 feet). Seconds after, my regulator froze open. (It was 31 degrees on the bottom and the cold caused the moisture in the compressed air to condense into ice, blocking the small needle valve) I was dumping my tank at a high rate. I turned around and couldn't see my wife, and the visibility was getting worse. I checked my gauge and watched the needle move towards zero. I so wanted to panic. I so wanted to shoot to the surface. I took a second to calm down, and started my ascent, slow, and per training. I literally hit the surface with no air in the tank. My last breath denied. I had to use the manual inflator to fill the BC. But training and willing myself to stay calm worked. I'm not saying that I would have been harmed, but I'm retelling this to show that panic would be an understandable reaction, but it wouldn't solve anything, or address the problem.

Training gives people confidence in emergencies. Confidence can overpower the panic response.

That flight crew weren't heroes, they were a cohesive team that followed their training, and saved the day. Everything that could work right that day, did.

Now the training and experience of the investigators and engineers kick in to try to identify what happened to try to stop it from happening in the future.
21voyageur 14
I would agree with your statement regarding "heroes" which is a term that has been greatly watered down over the years. Athletes are not heroes, musicians are not heroes, and the list goes on. All, of course, IMHO.
kritter56 13
Lost my first engine, on a single engine aircraft, just weeks after earning my Privet license. The intense training around engine out procedures allowed me to remain calm and reassure my two passengers everything was under control. Training Pays!
MrTommy 1
Relax folks. No engine, no problem. Go back to texting your friends about what a great time you're having.
chugheset 3
Texting your friends, are you kidding? I guarantee you 80% of the passengers were videoing the entire episode for our YouTube video enjoyment (or their pending lawsuit)!
WhiteKnight77 7
Which is a sad reflection of how people are today.
Bandrunner -3
Were you running a hedge fund at the time?
David Pilot 5
Well said!
Robert Mack 1
Awesome, Mr. Cowling (I can’t even comprehend diving with a water temp of 31 degrees - anything less than 59 I turn into a crybaby). You might want to invest in a 39 cu ft pony bottle and load it up with the highest EAN mix possible for your dive - my opinion only but it’s the best buddy one can ever rely on.
One story I read about backup equipment was told by a guy that had a pony bottle, and didn't do maintenance on it. When he needed it, it didn't work. He survived, but the lesson was learned, he said. The dive shop said if I had a separate system, it too could have frozen as those regulators tend to be lower grade. Tough situation. I so wanted to panic. As said in Dune, 'fear is the mind killer'.
Robert Mack 1
Yes, like anything else you have to maintain it. Also Robert, my primary regulator was an Atomic T2 Titanium, secondary was an Atomic SS1 integrated to the power inflater hose, the regulator for the pony was a Genesis variable-flow all built around a Zeagle Ranger BC using 100cu ft 4,000psi hp steels. The Genesis saved my life one day when the T2 couldn't handle going against a strong gulfstream three miles off Jupiter as I was going after a huge lobster at 100'+. Took water into my lungs, coughing/choking, feeling the burn but got the bug. Genesis variable output helped get my breathing under control. Heading north with the current I purged the T2 and transitioned back to it, saw another bug and got him on the fly! Yup, I was a "bottom-feeder" when I wasn't flying or jumping!
blackjax 6
N773ua made the flight from DEN to Honolulu last night (as a replacement?). Wasn’t it the 777 that lost its cowling in 2018?
mbrews 7
Yes, exactly. N772UA was yesterdays "Pratt Spat Parts", over Denver on its way to Honolulu. It's highly ironic - the replacement airframe N773UA had a similar PW4077 come apart almost exactly 3 years earlier, but closer to the HNL destination. 2018 incident was written up by NTSB. Both airframes were among the very first of the type to be delivered from Boeing-Everett in 1995. PW was the engine manufacturer at launch of the product.
dnorthern 1
UAL 328 is a routine 77 flight from DEN to HNL. Tomorrow, it will be a 75 as 77s are grounded. At least certain models.
ed pataky 2
the way things are going - first the 737 Max and now the 777, pretty soon we'll be back to Clipper Ships. And I don't mean the ones that fly. ROW FASTER!!!!!
dnorthern 8
Listen to the comm between pilot and atc. Flight crew was exceptionally calm and had all under control. After the engine failure the plane vectored south of DEN, ultimately landing east to west.

Not to minimize the event, but the media ramped this up with the first ‘mayday’ call to atc. Thereafter, communication by the fly crew was measured, calm, and professional. The flight deck crew did an exceptional job
Yes, the first communications sounded like a pilot that was dealing with the start of an exercise in going through checklists, and trying to insure that everything that is done is done to continue the flight to a landing. My wife said it sounded like he was panicking, and I said what I heard was a pilot dealing with an emergency, and trying to communicate that to the ground. An engine had blown apart. A lot of things are happening at the same time. You can train for that all you want, but the time it happens to you, it's going to be damned stressful. Kicking into automatic mode, calming down, and following the training is what they are trained to do. Panic would end the flight in a bad way for everyone.
From a source much smarter than I, the crew actions followed the Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.
Kudos to all involved
Yes, I remember that from ground school. Keep the plane in the air, keep it away from other planes, and in the air. When possible, tell them what you are experiencing, and what you want to do. The plane I started training in before I changed schools had a blown cylinder about a week after I quit them. Talk about 'live training'. They also had a small fire caused by the electrical system in another plane. They were flying older Cessna 150's. I changed schools into a brand new 172 with all the trimmings.

Spoiled, and thankful.

There are some things you really don't need to experience first hand when you are training. I mean things that aren't planed. Shutting off the engine in flight is different than having it actually explode, covering the windshield with oil.
dnorthern 2
I didn’t hear panic in the voice of the flight crew. ATC did sound slightly so.

The communicating flight crew sounded more irritated. Like,” shut up, I’m running my checklist. We will check back in when things are squared away...”
I am not understanding why the engine was still on fire after landing. Iwould think the fuel had been shut off and presumably exhausted. I would appreciate some expert perspective.
There is an air-to-oil cooler (looks like a little vehicle radiator) inside the exit of the fan case. Should that get ruptured (in this case by the debris), the engine oil supply will be pumped out through the damage. Additionally, just "shutting off" or "pulling the T-handles" does not immediately stop fuel flow. There a number of gallons of fuel trapped from the spar to the fuel pump and then in lines on the engine to provide fuel-to-oil cooling, and "hydraulic muscle" to valves on the engine, itself.
mbrews 4
Not an expert, but FWIW a mechanic speculated on another site, "the bypass duct was likely soaked in lube oil due to the failure of the bearing seals, and coated the acoustic composite liner with it - thats probably what you are seeing burning. The actual ignition of the fire could simply be the hot areas of the core."
Chris B 2
Pratt and Whitney....
bentwing60 4
Front frame failures generally take out the forward cowling and the destruction retrogrades to the rest of the powerplant. A classic example, and back end tee wheels and such do not propogate forward. Lost the fan and no one was injured, cherio, and he did it just like he did in the sim 100 times!
Greg Zelna 1
Hey bentwing when you say 'Front frame failures ' - do you mean front fan blade failures or is the aforementioned frame perhaps a part of the engine mount/pylon ?
bentwing60 1
The front frame is the major forward engine section housing the forward main shaft bearing and a fan failure usually takes that out and often things aft because of the rotating mass imbalance.
Kevin Keswick 3
View of engine from inside the cabin >>
jptq63 2
1) Glad no one (apart from maybe some feelings & maybe wet pants / clothes from sweating...) was hurt in any fashion; includes folks on the ground. Saw one video where person said something like - time to grab the dog and let us get under some cover to avoid the falling debris – which, unfortunately my experience of still getting older says, is not something everyone would actually do….

2) As mentioned by Silent Bob, I would guess pilots dumped fuel as they could to lighten the weight to make for an easier landing; maybe just my optimism and gladness overall that the pilots were doing good and performing within regulations, etc… that someone will make an accusation about some hydrocarbons and metal material falling from the sky from some deliberately actions by them polluting and littering across Colorado. I do wonder a bit though about paying for the roof and other damages (my guess, relatively slight and less costly than any repair work to the plane) to the stuff on the ground. How might that get handled?

3) I am a bit surprised that it was a 777 flying the 213 people to Hawaii. Not that someone might want some warmer weather vs. snow skiing, but seems like a reasonable full flight given current travel limitations (Covid-19 rules…); wonder why not a different aircraft (787, 767, 757-range?) that I would think make better seat utilization (only Delta currently blocking middle seats still, I think) used by United? Trying to get some flight time in for 777 crew or is the 777 a typical use for this route by United?

4) Last thought for now, I understand it was either a GE or P&W (think someone else ID it as a P&W) engine failure, but the 777 is a Boeing plane. How will the public react to this in terms of Boeing AND over all comfort of air travel? I would figure for air travel the more typical response of “concern” for a while as “events” do happen in life, but will more people say, hey, fly me on an Airbus or maybe the reverse….

Will be interesting as more info is shared / learned over the investigation and hope, as the findings are released, the forum might get it posted for reading / review.
In answer to #4....the media and the general public are really not bright enough to understand that Boeing and Airbus build airframes. Other companies build landing gear. Other companies build engines. Only after you put all the pieces from all of the companies together do you get a working, living aircraft.
dnorthern 4
Not to mention the ordering airline, not Boeing, selects the engines used on the airframe.
But this being the second engine of that type/model ON THE SAME DAY, people should be concerned. I remember Rolls Royce engines being a problem a few years ago, and wasn't it on the 777 also? Looking at the videos, and pictures, it's hard to tell what part of the engine gave way. It looks like the first stage is largely intact. Things to look at would be ingestion, or a blade or bearing failure. Ingestion happens, but a structural failure, or maintenance issue could be a lot more severe.

I'm just glad, as far as I've seen, no one is wringing their hands and freaking out. They grounded planes, and the investigations are commencing. Time will tell. If there is another failure of that engine model, that's probably a good time to get way more concerned.
Greg Zelna 1
I also believe it is up to the customer (airline, country, whatever) as to what training of crew, and aircraft maintenance are (or aren't) performed- not Boeing.
To point 3, paying for damage on the ground. My perspective as someone who teaches law in this area is that the traditional rule is that airlines are strictly liable—no need to prove negligence—for damage on the ground from aircraft. Some states have changed that; in Washington State the landowner must prove negligence. I am too lazy to look up Colorado. My advice to the airline, which is probably what they'll do, is pay out generously for damages. As jptq63 observes, the damage on the ground is relatively slight. There's no point for the airline in paying for protracted litigation on a losing case that generates bad publicity.
21voyageur 2
spot on. Cheaper to pay the damages (relatively minor) than get into a legal p*ssing match. That said, is there anything stopping legal action for non-material "damages" (ie: stress, fear, etc)?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

dnorthern 2
You can listen to arc comm. no mention of fuel dump.

And I agree that when the need arises dumping fuel should be permitted.
JR Lazar 1
According to Juan Browne of Blancolirio channel, these aircraft are designed to be able to continue flight and return for landing in TAKE OFF configuration (fully loaded with fuel) in the event of an engine out on take off. There was no fuel dump in this case. Dumping fuel would have made the situation on the ground worse than it was, as Delta found out over busy L.A. a few years back.
Jack Morris 1
Denverpost blocked my view of this article by a paywall.
that was a scary episode and seeing the photos taken by a passenger made it real!kudos to the pilots by the way..this reminded me of incidents several years back with dc 10 aircraft,when cargo doors would fly open and things would be sucked out (the incident of a coffin landing in a cornfield),and sadly, the photos of an american airlines dc 10 just after takeoff in chicago, having an entire engine beak loose and fall from the plane,causing it to crash...airplanes afer all ar merely metal tubes with wings and engines,and despite safety checks and maintentance,they do have probelms,some more serious than is wnderful the pland was able to be turened back towrds the den airport and land safely!
wx1996 1
Chris B 1
From the news interviews, I am amazed how uninformed passengers are about the aircraft they fly in.
MrTommy 1
I don't fly anymore, but when I did I usually read the insert on the back of the chair in front of me about the plane, just to see what the heck I was flying in. Not that it mattered.
Gene McAvoy 1
Primo Stuff! Are you living in one of those states where wacky weed is legal...oh, doesn't matter. You write just fine without it. Loved the story!
sparkie624 1
Another Article:
SmiKooMan 1
Hey, anyone have thoughts on the overweight landing? The landing gear held up, yes?
Silent Bob 10
Not that it matters but do we know they landed overweight? In any case an engine exploded leaving them with only one, and from passenger accounts the failed engine was on fire all the way to the ground. So I'd say landing overweight would be a perfectly reasonable action!

Airliners are required by certification to be able to land safely at max structural takeoff weight. Depending on conditions that may result in overheated brakes and/or blown tires. Landing above max landing weight just requires an inspection unless there was a hard landing or damage to previously mentioned brakes and tires.
Sidney Smith 2
One account said that they had dumped fuel in preparation for landing. SOP.
mbrews 3
Amid all the armchair experts on fuel dump, the checklist says - Do NOT dump fuel in the event of an engine fire. More simply : Nah, you don't want to light that Bar-B-Q
Chris Habig 2
The checklist says no such thing. Fuel is not jettisoned in a manner to contact any part of the airplane and Boeing themselves say there are no restrictions on jettisoning when on fire.
Greg Zelna 1
I recall a story from my dad decades ago on a C-121 just as he was taking off, an engine fire alarm was tripped and its an oh crap moment as you are 'too heavy to land' and dumping avgas was not an option. Turned out to be a false alarm- the responsible party sheepishly awarded my dad a wooden plaque with a wooden dowel inserted, and a roll of toilet paper on it as a 'desk ornament'..
If they took the time to dump fuel from a burning plane with passengers on board, I hope we find out about it for sure. That seems like the wrong choice.
Not at all. The dump ports are at the ends of the wings, so they are as far away from the engines as possible. The dump would lower the landing weight, which is a good thing.

None of the pictures I've seen show a dump, but they were out a bit from the airport so it could have happened.

Everyone should be darn glad this happened where and when it did. If it happened miles off shore the issues become a lot more dire and the outcome more in doubt. It's also fortuitous that the wing and fuselage were not penetrated enough to cause a wing fire, or decompression and passenger endangerment. But everything worked like it was supposed to. The explosion was (somewhat) contained, the shutoffs worked, the fuel dump (if they did it) worked, and the plane landed safely.

Training, engineering, physics, all of it worked.

Now, the mountain of data on that engine will be combed through, and engineers will learn from it, hopefully, making air travel safer.
Vasaviation ( has the full communication and there is no indication that there was a fuel dump. They might have cut it out, but they aren't likely to cut out something important like that. *shrug*
Surely they jettisoned enough engine parts to lighten the load significantly. Dumping fuel also takes time, creates opportunities for more damage and failure. Swissair MD-11 near Halifax is usually cited as the example in support of landing ASAP even if you wreck a tire or two.
Almost, right... That cowling ling did some damage to that truck for sure...
dnorthern 1
The ac vectored south of DEN and came around to land to the west. The flight path took over 30 mins, looking at flight aware
Ray Sundar 1
Speaks of the amazing structural integrity of the aircraft despite its age. Kudos to the Boeing structural designers! Equally amazing the calmness of the pilots who were able to avert a tragedy. Kudos to the pilots.
David Craig -1
How about that Boeing 777 It sure speaks of the amazing structural integrity of the aircraft despite its age (1995) Kudos to the Boeing structural designers! Equally amazing the calmness and professional expertise of the pilots who were able to avert a tragedy. Kudos to the pilots and to Boeing as well.
Now of course CNN says it a different way: A massive Huge BOEING 777 blue up its own engine today and Boeing engineers are blaming the painting divisions part of the Boeing company for the failure in making airbus engines. Also in a related story early today a Giant Black Cougar fell out of the luggage compartment of the President's Plane while flying at an altitude of 35 miles high and 750 miles per hour, landing in the world’s biggest Douglas fir tree located in Colorado Spurts. The big cat landed in the front yard of a 98 year old woman named Helen. The old woman came hobbling outside to see what the entire ruckus was about and to comfort her wife whom was traumatized being the large cat had broken many branches clean off her prized Doug Fir tree. A blind witness stated they saw it all and heard a loud Meow, before realizing this huge black cat was still alive and kicking! A group of demonstrators were seen by the blind witness gathering out in front of the newly trimmed Doug Fir chanting "Black cats matter" while police and fire crews cleaned out the litter box for the big cat... Back to you Sharpie: In other events today CNN has learned........................
MrTommy -3
This is a priceless reply! And also SPOT ON.
msetera 0
Very glad no one got hurt, and also very glad this incident didn't happen over the Pacific, where the outcome could have been so much worse.
Stefan Sobol 2
Outcome would have been the same. It just would have taken longer to get back on the ground. Could've turned back to SFO or LAX (depending on ground track) or continued to HNL depending on where the failure occurred.
N772UA was one of the first 777's built in 1994. Perhaps age played a role here, but even then there are aircraft much older still in service.
Jaime Terrassa -1
thank god no body got hurt but this is not the frist time they had problems with the fan blades if they would take little more time to inspect them this may not happened it seems to me that they don't care about the people that make there paycheck possible.
Tim ONeill 2
Looks like the hollow fan blade in these 112 inch fans needs a life limit. Fan blades are critical parts that are supposed to meet fail-safe design criteria. Read about the 2018 failure on N773UA and the OEM inspections performed on these blades. UAL is probably relieved that these blades were inspected by PWC.
lecompte2 -2
Cannot help but wonder what would happen in a 737 Max in such an event, because the engines are now ahead of the wing instead of below the wing ?
Jasper Buck 3
737 max engines are mounted on the wings as depicted here:

777 engines are similarly mounted to the wings as depicted here;

Not sure where you're getting your information but it is, in general, wrong.


Capt J Buck

ATP DC-9 B757 B767
Flight Instructor
Ground Instructor
Aircraft Dispatcher
A&P Mechanic
Air Traffic Controller
FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (Ops & Aws) ((Ret.)
FAA certified accident investigator (Ret.)
ICAO Panel Member
Aviation Safety Consultant
Elliot Cannon -7
Not enough motors. If that had happened at 30 west or half way between SFO and HNL, you are now single engine, you are flying lower and slower, the water is real cold and the fish are bigger than you are. They didn't go from 4 motors to 2 for long distances because it was safer.
Philip Lanum 3
I call BS on "not enough motors". The 777 is rated at 180 minutes on one engine. This aircraft was over LAND not water.

ETOPS means the maximum amount of time to get to a suitable airport. The flight time over water from the West Coast to Hawaii is 4-5 hours, so half way there falls well below the ETOPS limit.
ed pataky 3
Isn't that part of the qualification for ETOPS? At 30 west over the Atlantic, they have the option of Gander, Bermuda, Axores, possibly Shannon and Reykavick Iceland.
Jasper Buck 2
Back when I was flying the line our manual listed the following diversion airports for our North Atlantic operations:

Logan International Airport
Bangor International Airport
Gander International Airport
CFB Goose Bay
Niagara Falls International Airport
Stewart International Airport
St. John's International Airport
Syracuse Hancock International Airport
Halifax Stanfield International Airport
Keflavík International Airport
Shannon Airport
Bermuda Airport
Lajes Airport (Azores)
Santa Maria Airport (Azores)
Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport
Gran Canaria Airport (Las Palmas)
Tenerife-North Airport
Tenerife-South Airport
Amílcar Cabral International Airport (Sal Island, Cape Verde)
RAF Ascension Island
Fernando de Noronha Airport
Greater Natal International Airport
Fortaleza International Airport
Recife International Airport
Cayenne-Félix Eboué Airport
Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport

Jasper Buck 2
Yes, enough motors. See my previous ETOPS guidance post. That said I don't get the sense that you'd be very happy on a 17-hour Singapore to New York flight (9500 miles) on an A350-900ULR.

Alejandro S -5
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

United Airlines Engine Explodes On Take Off At Denver International Airport

United flight 328 was taking off today from Denver International Airport when the right side engine exploded creating a loud boom


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