Updated to include Delta comment…see end of story
Delta Air Lines calls the Boeing 767 the workhorse of its international fleet. That workhorse was tested recently when a flight from Atlanta to Moscow apparently lost power to one of its two engines. The aircraft landed safely in Moscow.
I haven’t seen any formal safety reports about the incident yet, but The Aviation Herald says the Pratt & Whitney PW4060-powered 767-300 is registered N181DN. A pic of the aircraft is available at this Flickr account.
Mike Moeller, an executive at JetBlue Airways subsidiary LiveTV, happened to be on that flight as he and has wife were travelling to Russia to adopt their beautiful new son Liam. Mike recounts his experience on his family’s blog. Key passage:
“After flying all night, we were awaken around 8:00 Moscow time (two hours before landing) to breakfast. As we opened our breakfast and were about to be served something to drink, something happened. Suddenly, the plane’s engines got quieter, we slowed, all the lights and in flight entertainment went out. No more air coming from the overhead consoles.
“We had lost power. I noticed along with a couple of other people that something was up, but the rest of the passengers continued as is. About 20 seconds later, the head flight attendant came running down the aisle and whispered to the other flight attendants. They very quickly took the carts to the back and sat down. The head flight attendant continued as he ran to the front of the plane and soon returned to look out the windows.
“I then wondered: Have we lost an engine? (I read something about Delta and American losing an engine 2 weeks ago on 767 flights) Is something up with Russia and we cannot land? Is there fighter airplanes outside the widow? Where are we going to land?
“After about 20 minutes, the captain came on ‘We have lost and engine (we have two by the way) and will be landing soon’.”
The full text of Mike’s blog post is definitely worth a read. I admire he and his wife’s faith that everything would be alright. Frankly, I would have been a nervous wreck especially after flight attendants began the process of reviewing the fundamentals of crash landing with passengers.
Delta has been in the news of late for other engine issues. You’ll recall that the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) last month issued an urgent recommendation to FAA to require operators to cut inspection intervals for Pratt & Whitney PW2037 engines to prevent uncontained failures. As reported by Flight’s John Croft, the NTSB request is tied to an ongoing investigation of a 6 August incident at Las Vegas McCarran International airport where a Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-200 experienced an uncontained engine failure during its takeoff run.
Investigators later learned that at least four other PW2037 second stage turbine hubs had experienced cracks in the blade retaining lugs, and that during a routine overhaul, American Airlines uncovered a PW2037 second stage turbine hub with cracks in two adjacent blade retaining lugs.
Asked to comment on the Atlanta-Moscow incidednt, a Delta spokesman says: “Pilots received indication light on the left-side engine. Moscow was the closest airport. They powered down the engine. Engine type was PW4000, Flight #46.”