United Boeing 757 Loses Right Engine Power Over The Pacific Ocean

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Summary

  • A United Airlines Boeing 757-300 encountered an engine failure over the Pacific Ocean before landing safely.
  • The plane has remained out of service for over 36 hours, with a new aircraft being deployed on the HNL-SFO route.
  • The incident remains under investigation, with no details available regarding the cause of the engine failure.

On 4 March 2024, a United Airlines Boeing 757-300 experienced an engine failure while flying over the Pacific Ocean on a scheduled flight from Hawaii to California. The aircraft arrived safely in California despite the mechanical issue, and no passenger injuries or fatalities resulted from the incident.

The aircraft was completing United Airlines Flight 214, a regularly scheduled fight between Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in the popular leisure destination of Honolulu and the carrier’s primary transpacific hub at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The flight departed as scheduled around 10:00 local time and experienced the engine failure around 4 hours into the flight, touching down in San Francisco about an hour later at around 17:00 local time.

Photo: Theodore Trimmer | Shutterstock

This aircraft was inspected thoroughly after landing and remained out of service for over 36 hours after landing, as engine issues can require lengthy repairs. In the meantime, the airline has placed another 757-300 on its HNL-SFO route, and no flights were reported as canceled.

The incident specifics

While relatively limited details are available regarding how the incident occurred, sources have revealed more specifics about what happened. According to The Aviation Herald, the 757-300 in question bears registration N57869 and departed from HNL at exactly 10:09 Hawaii Standard Time.

United new livery 757-300 landing

Photo: Nathan Klemstein I Shutterstock

Upon takeoff, the aircraft ascended to its cruising altitude of 33,000 feet around 22 minutes into the flight and reached its cruising speed of around 580 miles per hour. When the plane was around 270 nautical miles from the coast of California, the jet experienced a failure of its right-hand engine, after which time the pilots descended the aircraft down to around 24,000 feet, according to data from FlightAware.

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The plane had only been in service for two weeks.

Eventually, the aircraft landed safely in San Francisco on runway 28R after around 50 minutes of flying with just a single functional engine. Shortly after landing, the plane vacated the runway and was immediately inspected by the airport’s emergency services, later being granted permission to taxi.

ETOPS and engine failures

While this week’s incident remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), engine failures like this one are not out of the ordinary and are rarely dangerous. The majority of twin-engine aircraft are given a rating for Extended-Range Twin-Engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS), which indicates the longest range that regulators believe a plane can safely fly with one operational engine.

United 757

Photo: United Airlines

The Boeing 757-300, the aircraft involved in Monday’s incident, is rated at ETOPS 180, according to Airline Reporter. This rating allows the jet to perform flights up to 180 minutes from a diversion airport, allowing for transatlantic service and flights to and from Hawaii.

In the incident of Flight 214, the aircraft was less than 60 minutes from the closest diversion airport in San Francisco and, as a result, barely had to push the limits of its ETOPS qualifications. According to Rolls-Royce, the highest ETOPS rating in operation today was issued to the Airbus A350XWB, allowing the jet to fly almost everywhere except directly over the South Pole.



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