United Airlines has canceled about 25 of its Boeing 777-200 aircraft on the ground after realizing that some of its planes had not undergone required inspections of the leading edges of the wings.
The airline canceled flights Monday night and Tuesday morning with the intention of rebooking stranded passengers.
The Federal Aviation Administration said United grounded 25 of the jets after discovering it had failed to inspect the wing edge slats used during takeoff and landing.
The FAA said United has reported the issue and the FAA is looking into the circumstances that led to the missed inspections.
United Airlines grounded 25 of its Boeing 777-200 aircraft after failing to pass required wing leading edge inspections
United said earlier this week afternoon it had inspected 10 of the planes and was working with the FAA to get the others flying again in the next two weeks without causing additional flight cancellations.
“We have inspected 10 of those aircraft and are working with the FAA to return other aircraft to service as inspections continue over the next two weeks,” United said in a statement.
The FAA said it was reviewing United’s inspection plan “and investigating the circumstances leading to the missed inspections.”
In May, the FAA released United’s 52 Boeing 777 aircraft, equipped with Pratt & Whitney (PW) 4000 engines, for return to service.
The jets ran aground after a Pratt & Whitney engine failed on an engine that caused parts of the casing to fall in the Denver area.
United Airlines found it had failed to perform required inspections on the wing front panels, the FAA said, a U.S. regulator said.
The United flight to Honolulu suffered engine failure and dumped debris over nearby towns and made an emergency landing in February 2021.
Just four minutes into takeoff, a loud bang was heard and pieces of the engine began to fall to the ground over Broomfield, Colorado.
Jet engine parts were scattered all over the suburb, with the entire engine intake lip ending up in one piece in a resident’s front yard.
No one was injured and the plane returned safely to the airport.
United said it has not related the leading panel inspections of some of those 777-200s to engines or recent engine work.
They said inspections can be completed overnight in most cases.
United’s Boeing 777s are among the oldest models of their kind in the world.
The 777 aircraft can accommodate between 276 and 364 passengers, according to United’s website, and are mainly used on long international flights.
Meanwhile, the FAA has launched an investigation after a United plane was forced to make an emergency landing when a shower of sparks flew and debris fell to the ground just after takeoff from Newark Airport in New Jersey.
The Boeing 777-200ER, taking off from Newark at 11:24 p.m. Wednesday night en route to Sao Paulo, Brazil, was forced to enter a hold pattern at 24,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean after experiencing a hydraulic pressure pump failure on landing gear.
About an hour and a half later, after dumping fuel across the ocean to reduce weight, the plane made a safe emergency landing back at Newark Airport.
The FAA has now confirmed that they are investigating the cause of the outage.
The terrifying moment was reportedly captured on video by a nearby plane spotter, who captured the shower of sparks streaming from close by the Boeing 777’s landing gear.
He also took a photo of a rectangular, rusty-looking piece of rubble falling to the ground.
Despite the dramatic scenes, the plane landed safely after the crew reported an emergency and an investigation is underway.
There were no reports of casualties or injuries among the crew and passengers.
Video of what was believed to be a United Airlines Boeing 777 throwing debris and showers of sparks was captured Wednesday evening after it took off from Newark Airport in New Jersey
A photo of the debris falling from the plane was taken by a nearby plane spotter. The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed that they are investigating the incident
In a statement, United Airlines said: “After our plane experienced a mechanical problem shortly after takeoff, it stayed in the air to burn fuel and then landed safely.
“Passengers got off at the gate and a new plane is scheduled for this morning.”
The FFA said: “United Airlines Flight 149, a Boeing 777-200, landed safely at Newark Liberty International Airport shortly before 1 a.m. local time today after crew reported an emergency.
“The flight departed from Newark and was bound for São Paulo, Brazil before returning. The FAA will investigate.”
Boeing 777s are equipped with three hydraulic systems. The left, center and right systems provide hydraulic fluid at a nominal pressure to operate flight controls, valve systems, actuators, landing gear and brakes.
According to energy company Eaton, primary hydraulic power for the left and right systems is provided by two motor-driven pumps and supplemented by two on-demand electrically driven pumps.
The flight map shows flight UA149 entering a hold pattern at 24,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean after experiencing what is believed to be a hydraulic pressure pump failure