Boss... I'm having engine problems

… of the Pratt & Whitney variety.


A 747 dropped an engine into someone’s backyard in Anchorage in March '93. I’m surprised I can’t find any photos of the engine in the back yard.

roll forward quarter century for the 777 upgraded version? :slight_smile:

Odd thing, it wasn’t because of engine failure. There were 100 mph winds aloft coming at 90 degrees to the flight path, kind of tore off the engine.

I think it was the summer of 1979, my wife, two younger children and I flew from Buffalo to San Francisco, changing planes in Chicago. When we landed in Chigao the engine that had fallen off a DC10 was still laying on the ground just outside the terminal windows.

We were booked on a 747 to San Francisco and were among 300 people waiting at the gate for our flight when they wheeled a very dirty DC10 up to the gate. The FAA had lifted the ban on them while we were in the air.

We were among only 30 people who boarded the plane, the other 270 refused. My wife asked me if I was worried about getting on the DC10. I said no, with 30 people , this thing is going to fly like a rocket ship. we each folded up the armrests in the center section of seats and laid down and slept our way to San Francisco.

Hey, that’s a significant upgrade. Going from maybe a couple hundred horsepower to 50,000 pounds of thrust, and you can blow tailgaters off the road? Where do I sign up!?

That crash scared a lot of people off of the DC-10, which was unfortunate because it was lazy maintenance practices, not the design, that caused it. Of course, the later Sioux City DC-10 crash that scared people off of the DC-10 was a ridiculous design flaw (let’s run every one of the hydraulic systems past a single point that’s right next to an engine rotating at 20,000+ RPM, what could possibly go wrong?) so I don’t feel too much sympathy for Douglas over it.

Missing one out of 3 engine was not that big of a deal. Making the right seat stick shaker an option was. Only the left seat had a mandatory stick shaker and it wasn’t powered by the missing engine.

After McDonnell Douglas bought Boeing, it made the angle of attack disagreement warning an option on the 737 max and the lion air plane that went down did not have that optional warning.

40 years apart and both crews were not given any warning to the danger they were about to face


so… given HOPE that 737 max troubles were addressed in a proper way… now Boeing gets into the lights with the 777 trouble, which makes everybody to question if company is not employing the same shady practices everywhere nowadays

given number of “facepalm” technical decisions they made in 737 max, I do not feel like flying 777 any time soon

Blaming Boeing, which makes the air frame only, because of the engine manufacturer screw up is like blaming Ford because of Firestone … oh wait, never mind

Anyways, pratt and whitney screwed up here. It’s the Boeing product and the pilots that got people back down safely.


Ummm… no

Those planes–depending on when they were built, and which engine was specified by the purchaser–could have Pratt & Whitney engines, or Rolls Royce engines, or GE engines. Only the ones with P&W engines have suffered this type of failure.

But it’s common for people not to understand that the customer specifies the engine, and the airframe manufacturer just installs what they’re told to install. And then the airframe company is between a rock and a hard place. It’s not like Boeing can come out and say “Well United picked the engine, go blame them,” because then the next time United wants to spend a few billion on a big airplane order, well, Airbus never made them look bad, so…

Yes, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t try to educate them so that they do understand the true facts of the situation.

The DC-10 has to be the most maligned aircraft ever built and they do not deserve it. That crash in Chicago in which the engine fell off was due to a maintenance error. Others were also due to maintenance errors; or corner cutting. Or pilot error.

The plane is still widely used by airlines, companies such as Fed-Ex, and the Air Force has used them as the KC-10 variant as tankers… I’ve flown on them several times and think they are fantastic.

We all drive cars and trucks, and all those cars and trucks have been involved in failures that caused injury and death. Most of those failures were driver error or maintenance failures, but some were because of defects in the products themselves. People seem to understand that generally. With this engine failure the news media themselves are continuously referencing Boeing, and they should be saying Pratt & Whitney. It’s just plain sloppy and shows evidence of relying on habits that just blame the airplane for everything.


Just a bit more analysis of the situation should have led those reporters to the actual facts of the case, but–sadly–that doesn’t seem to be the case with most of the journalists who have weighed-in on this incident.



Except for the Sioux City crash. Mounting the engine high on the tail instead of in the empennage like the other 3-holer manufacturers did meant they had to route the hydraulics right past the engine. So when that engine blew, it took all the hydraulics with it, and the pilots had to (miraculously) get it to a runway with frozen controls, only using differential thrust to steer. It’s a miracle anyone survived that, and that was a bad design.

And after Sioux City, hydraulic fuses were installed on DC-10’s so that at least one hydraulic system would remain pressurized if another engine let go.

In my time in TV newsrooms, I never ran into another journalist who knew beans about airplanes. Not saying they aren’t out there, but a lot of them don’t know the first thing about aviation, and don’t even know enough to know what questions to ask.


… or cars, or medicine, or sometimes even correct grammar…

In my regional online newspaper, they periodically post old photos on various topics. Today, the featured pics were of NJ cars from the past. In one photo, the “journalist” identifies a Buick convertible (complete with portholes on the fenders) as a Cadillac. There is also a pic of a 1961 Ford Galaxie 500 that he identifies as a Ford Falcon.

Additionally, a pic of a Corvair Monza was labeled as a Corvair Mazda until I emailed him about his mistakes, and he corrected that particular gaffe. However, the mis-labeled Buick and the phony Falcon identifications remain.


as a consumer, I’m not giving a damn if 777 kills me because of the planer or because of the engine

I’m not allowed to type “not on the 777 with P&W engine” into the search box when booking my flight

in my view, the point of integration/assembly is where the buck should stop - it’s up to them to put their stamp of approval on P&W installed particular way or not to

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But the distinction is important for you as well – a variant of that engine also has had at least one incident of blowing its blades - the 747 one that happened a couple of days ago. And that engine is installed on 5 different airplanes, so merely specifying “no 777s” only means that you won’t be on a 777 when the PW4000 engine blows, but you could still be on an A300, A310, 747-400, 767-200 or MD11 when it happens.

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makes me love Airbus even more :slight_smile:

on the serious note - I hope FAA will step in