- Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 suffered an uncontained failure of its left engine on Tuesday.
- In August 2016, Southwest Airlines Flight 3472 also suffered an uncontained failure of its left engine.
- Both engines are CFM56 turbofans and failed when one of its fan blades snapped off mid-flight.
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 suffered a catastrophic failure of its left engine on Tuesday and was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the death of passenger Jennifer Riordan of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, investigators believe the left engine on Southwest Flight 1380 failed when one of its 24 titanium alloy fan blades snapped off mid-flight. The violent event caused the front cowling of the engine to disintegrate, firing shrapnel into the cabin of the aircraft.
The resulting loss of engine power and depressurization for the crew of Flight 1380 to make an emergency landing on the plane’s remain engine.
An initial examination of the engine found evidence of metal fatigue at the point where the blade failed.
For investigators, this is something they have seen before.
In August 2016, Southwest Airlines Flight 3472, another Boeing 737-700, also suffered an uncontained failure of its left engine that ripped off its front cowling. In this case, shrapnel also pierced the fuselage causing decompression forcing the flight to make an emergency landing Pensacola, Florida.
In both cases, the planes were powered by CFM International CFM56 turbofan engines. NTSB investigators believe that engine also failed when one of its fan blades snapped during flight. Again, metal fatigue is believed to have played a role in the 2016 incident.
Fortunately, the similarities end there. According to NTSB records, Flight 3472 resulted in no known injuries or fatalities among its 104 passengers and crew.
The CFM56 is one of the most popular commercial jet engines in the world and can be found on more than 6,700 aircraft. CFM International is a joint venture between GE Aviation and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines.
Read More about the Southwest Incident:
- Southwest passenger’s death was the first in a US passenger airline accident in more than 9 years
- Southwest pilot to air traffic control before emergency landing: ‘There’s a hole and someone went out’
- Southwest passenger says there was ‘blood everywhere’ after ‘terrifying’ emergency landing
- Southwest passenger who died after major engine failure has been identified as a Wells Fargo VP and mother of two
- Investigators found a major clue to what may have caused Southwest jet’s engine failure
- The type of engine that blew apart on Southwest plane was a growing concern for regulators
- The pilot who made the Southwest flight emergency landing is a former fighter pilot and one of the first women to fly an F-18
- Southwest passenger’s torso was sucked out of plane after engine explosion busted open aircraft window
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.