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Pilot: what happens in an emergency like United 238 (Opinion)

February 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 16.5%. 1 min read.

Les Abend explains that an uncontained and catastrophic incident caused the engine of United 238 to catch fire midair. Likely caused by a propeller blade that came lose, the flight narrowly escaped becoming a tragedy thanks to the quick thinking of the crew.

A few minutes into the trip, the airplane experienced what we call in the business a catastrophic engine failure.

A catastrophic failure is an event that occurs as a result of pieces of the plane itself traveling at high speed through the jet engine, destroying it in the process.

An uncontained failure occurs when internal pieces break through the engine, potentially spraying shrapnel onto other parts of the airplane.

Once the cowling completely separated from the engine, the normal aerodynamic flow became disrupted, causing the airplane to buffet.

After a brief moment to recognize the problem, if the captain wasn't already flying, he would have simply stated, "I've got the airplane," and then called for the engine fire/severe damage checklist, which is selected electronically and displayed on another cockpit screen.

This isn't the first circumstance of an uncontained engine failure with that engine, which both Japan and United Airlines have halted use of for now.

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