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Boeing 777 Is Targeted by FAA for Fixes After Engine Broke Apart

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 12/22/2021 Alan Levin and Ryan Beene

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. aviation regulators have proposed modifications to some Boeing Co. 777 jets to prevent engine debris from flying loose in a failure and endangering passengers as happened in some recent incidents.

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The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday filed a pair of proposed directives in the Federal Register that would require strengthening the engine inlets and adding shielding on Pratt & Whitney engines used on 777-200 and 777-300 aircraft.

The FAA in a third airworthiness directive proposed expanding required inspections for Pratt & Whitney engines. The company is a division of Raytheon Technologies Corp.

Boeing 777 Drops Debris Onto Denver Neighborhood After Engine Explosion © Getty Images via Bloomberg Boeing 777 Drops Debris Onto Denver Neighborhood After Engine Explosion

The front of an engine on a United Airlines 777-200 broke apart on Feb. 20 after departing Denver International Airport, spraying the plane with shrapnel. A fan blade that had a slowly expanding crack broke loose, triggering the damage, according to preliminary findings by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

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The FAA had announced earlier this year that it was working with Boeing to develop fixes to the plane. 

Only United operates 777s with Pratt & Whitney engines in the U.S. Most 777s have different engines that aren’t subject to the FAA proposals.  

In a statement, Pratt & Whitney said the inspections ordered by the the FAA are already underway and that the agency’s directive mirrors guidance the company has provided to customers.

“Pratt & Whitney is coordinating all actions with the FAA, Boeing, and airline operators, to ensure the continued airworthiness of the fleet,” the company said.

Boeing didn’t immediately comment. 

(Updates with Pratt & Whitney comment from seventh paragraph)

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