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Boeing recommends grounding 777s with certain type of engine

Boeing recommends that airlines ground all of 777s with the type of engine that suffered a catastrophic failure over Denver this weekend, as US regulators order United Airlines to step up inspections of those planes.

Several airlines, including United, said they were temporarily removing the aircraft from service after one of the American carrier’s planes made an emergency landing at Denver International Airport Saturday because its right engine blew apart just after takeoff. Pieces of the casing of the engine, a Pratt & Whitney PW4000, rained down on suburban neighborhoods. None of the 231 passengers or 10 crew on board were hurt, and the plane landed safely, authorities said.

In this photo provided by the Broomfield Police Department on Twitter, debris is scattered in the front yard of a house at near 13th and Elmwood, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Broomfield, Colorado (Broomfield Police Department via AP)

US Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement Sunday that based on an initial review of safety data, inspectors “concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes.”

Dickson said that would likely mean some planes would be grounded — and Boeing says they should be until the FAA sets up an inspection regime. Japan ordered the planes out of service, according to the financial newspaper Nikkei, while saying that an engine in the same family suffered trouble in December.

Boeing says there are 69 777s with the Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines in service and another 59 in storage.

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