One engine is enough! LiveTV exec recounts experience on Delta flight to Moscow

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.

Delta tail.jpg


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.”

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One Response to One engine is enough! LiveTV exec recounts experience on Delta flight to Moscow

  1. Chavisa Woodsbd December 23, 2008 at 2:48 pm #

    How the Delta stole (my) Christmas

    Twas three days before Christmas and my flight was canceled. I live in New York. I see my family once a year. I took vacation days off from work for the trip. They said it was bad weather, but what is this? All the other airlines at JFK had flights going out to St Louis that day. I know. I called and checked. They told me they couldn’t get me on a plane till Christmas afternoon. That’s no good I thought. Two days in St. Louis isn’t worth the money for the flight, and what good is it showing up Christmas night? Fine I’ll cancel it. They said to pick up the black phone and they would refund my fee. But call back tonight or tomorrow, they might have something flying out earlier, maybe a seat would open on a connecting flight that would work for me. I called and got the money refunded then headed down to get my luggage, full of Christmas presents my computer charger and most of my clothes. I’m a heavy parker. But hark! What is this.? My luggage is lost and I never even left the airport.

    I spend four hours in baggage. They tell me it could be today or the next day. The woman gives me a number to call to have my bags delivered. She informs me that it will be a thirty dollar delivery fee since I didn’t actually travel with them. I ask if they are at least going to refund my $15 baggage check fee. She says she doesn’t know. She gives me three numbers to call. One number is directly to storage where she believes my bag is. That number I have to call to request the COD delivery. The other number is to get the money refunded and the third is a general baggage number.

    I return home and call all the numbers for several hours, never receiving an answer. The phone just rings and rings or is busy. I also want to check and see if there any new flight info. I look online and call the Delta reservations number. I speak with the woman four a half an hour. She tells me that there may be an opening on a St Louis flight the next day, but since I already had my ticket refunded, I would be buying a ticket anew. So the cost would be upward of $1,000. She also informs me there is nothing she can do about my luggage and gives me one of the numbers that has been busy for hours.

    The next morning I call the local storage number that the baggage woman gave me. I speak with a woman who is very rude from the get go, asking me how I got this number and telling me that it is not protocol for customers to call this number. I finally give her my bag number. I don’t have a file number because the baggage woman has told me my bag is not technically lost since it is in the airport, and I don’t get a claim number since I didn’t fly. The woman on the phone informs me that if I didn’t fly I will have to pay for the delivery. I respond that “I am aware of that!” I raise my voice when I say this. she tells me not to raise my voice at her and hangs up on me.

    I have spent the last four hours calling these numbers just trying to request my luggage be delivered. Still no answers.

    This Christmas. I lost:

    Three hours waiting after my plane was delayed before the cancel.

    Half an hour on hold on the black phone getting my money refunded.

    Four hours in the baggage area.

    Five hours of time spent speed dialing the company to find my luggage and place a delivery order (so far).

    two vacation days from work

    $40.00 for a cab to the airport

    $15 in baggage check fees

    $30 (if my bag is delivered)

    The chance to see my family this year and the chance to spend Christmas with my family.

    All confidence in Delta. Not only did they cancel my flight and leave me no options to get to my detonation that day or the next, and loose my luggage they were beyond rude to me, they were malicious, like they were getting off on having the ability to hurt someone. Getting off on having a bit of power.If they go out of business, they deserve it.

    I understand cancellations and delays,but being rude on top of it and charging for it, unbelievable. !!!