Second United A320 in a year loses nacelle on take-off

Los Angeles
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A United Airlines A320 had to make an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport yesterday after losing much of its port engine nacelle on take-off from the airport.

According to the FAA's initial report of the incident, the A320 sustained some damage to the leading edge of the left wing and the engine pylon. However, none of the passengers or crew was injured in the incident.

United Airlines' spokesman Matt Triaca says that much of the nacelle blew off - a video clip on local television news showed that the A320 had indeed lost most of the nacelle aft of the engine fan surround - and that most of the remainder was "pretty mangled".

However, he says, "there was little damage to the internal workings of the engine".

According to Triaca, United believes that the latches securing the nacelle to the engine either were not secured properly or failed, and is investigating the incident.

The A320 was operating a flight to Washington Dulles Airport, where - most ironically - last year a United A320 had what appears to have been a nearly identical incident, losing most of an engine nacelle on take-off for a flight to Chicago.

The aircraft's damaged nacelle was captured on a television station's video footage after it landed and the video clip was shown on television news stations throughout the USA.

The similarities between the two incidents could give United - and the FAA - pause for thought. However, safety inspectors of neither body could be contacted immediately to comment on the likelihood of two United A320s losing nacelles.