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Update on Flight 3472 and working with the NTSB

LindaRutherford Employee
Employee
UPDATED on Monday, August 29 at 12:45 p.m. CT
 
As a reminder, Southwest cannot speculate or comment on details of this investigation outside of our cooperation with the NTSB. We respectfully ask that users on The Southwest Community refrain from speculation as well.
 
UPDATED  on Saturday, August 27 at 1:00 p.m. CT
 
I wanted to provide an update around an event involving a Southwest plane this morning, and some context around the accompanying statement provided below. When we have an operational event that results in aircraft damage and/or passenger or crew injuries, that can trigger a review or investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). When the NTSB decides to launch an investigation, we give the Board our immediate cooperation so that we are able to properly streamline information and avoid speculation (especially this early). If you do not see an update from us, that is because we are working behind-the-scenes with the NTSB to follow this process. They are very good at what they do, and we strive to be good partners. You can follow updates from the NTSB on twitter at @NTSB_Newsroom.
 
Southwest's Initial Statement:
 
Today, the Captain of Flight #3472 from New Orleans to Orlando made the decision to divert to Pensacola due to a mechanical issue with the number one engine.  The flight landed safely without incident at Pensacola International Airport at 9:40 a.m. central time.  Initial reports indicate there were no injuries among the 99 passengers and five crew members onboard.  We have notified the NTSB, and when authorized, we will be inspecting the aircraft to assess the damage.  The aircraft is out of service, and we will work to accommodate the passengers to Orlando or their final destination as soon as possible.
10 Comments
apeltier65
New Arrival

Thanks, a Southwest. I'm traveling in a couple of weeks and looking forward to it .

bjsmith413
New Arrival

I'm just going to put this out there, as I've asked around on various forums over the past months, with little feedback ... edit.  I'd regularly see panels above the cowling of the CFM56 not flush with the panels or wing ... edit ... I apologize for not getting the aircraft's registration.

 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/thebs413/24121648049/in/dateposted-public/
I don't want to raise any alarms, or say there are any oversights in any maintenance or procedures ... edit ... I wanted to share, just in case.

 edit

Thank you for your time, and I will continue to enjoy Southwest's service, ... edit ... as with AirTran since the mid '00s.

LastInspector
New Arrival

Boeing "quality." Yet more people narrowly escape death due to Boeing QA fraud. http://www.thelastboeinginspector.com

silicon212
New Arrival

LastInspector ...

 

The issue was an issue with the CFM56-7B engine on this aircraft, not with the airframe.  I would speculate it to be an uncontained fan failure, leading to the destruction of the fan housing and the cowl bolted over it.  What caused the failure is a job for the NTSB to figure out.  It had nothing to do with the aircraft.  Also, I would like to state the Boeing 737 is one of the most reliable jet aircraft ever built and would never hesitate to fly on one - in fact of my 14 flights, they've all been on 737s and 12 of them on Southwest.  

 

Keep up the good work, Southwest.

bjsmith413
New Arrival

Indeed, let's not demonize anyone here.  The Boeing 737 is one of the most reliable and safest aircraft ever, especially considering Boeing didn't ever intend it to outsell the 727 when they designed it.

 

The only thing I've ever wondered is if there was some misalignment further up on the cowling, that caused the panels not to be flushed.  As I said, I'd rather share it -- and be totally wrong -- than not.

 

This wasn't supposed to be a share that questioned the quality of either Boeing or Southwest.  It was just something I've seen on several Southwest 737 aircraft, that I never really noticed on any other 737s I've flown over the years.

Biker733777
New Arrival

Bjsmith413,you are correct that the panel in the picture is not RIGHT but it is going with the airflow and not a really big deal,it most likely has been  off and some mechanic just put too much sealant under and some inspector just stamped it off as good.

  Worked on a lot of Boeing planes including the first 100 747s and that would have never passed on any plane I worked on,looking at the fan blades I don't see any missing from the ones that can be seen but broken blades would cut the cowling off.

Biker733777
New Arrival

Looking at that picture again I suspect something punctured the coweling on takeoff and air was forced inside and it just blew apart,that cowering is honeycomb inside and is very tough but any intrusion from the outside could blow it apart,I see no fan damage and they are a long ways from the damaged area.

bjsmith413
New Arrival

Biker733777

 

Yeah, the fact that the blades were still intact kept the whole nacelle from being destroyed.  I've seen pictures of when that doesn't happen, although it's nice they require the blades to not penetrate the cabin these days.  That's a tall order on its own.

 

As far as the panel, I really don't know much about the alignment and covers.  If you say it was application of sealant or other things, then I believe you.  It's just been one thing that has been bothering me for some time.

 

bjsmith413
New Arrival

My apologies for my original post, which I've now edited to greatly reduced size.  It was my very first post on the forum, although I didn't meant to break any rules or ettique, written or unwritten.  I just wanted to point out I've been a loyal customer of Southwest, continuing from AirTran prior to acquisition.  So I have no ulterior motives, and didn't want to seem as if demonizing any entity.

 

I.e., I know how easy it is for consumers to demonize companies, engineering and processes, seeing it from "the other side."

Daytonagal
New Arrival

image.jpeg

I witnessed the engine coming apart on Southwest Flight 3472, last Saturday August 27, 2016.  I can tell you that there aren't any words that will take away the trauma I endured that day.  Am I grateful that we landed?  Absolutely.  Does that take away ANY of the feelings I felt (and still feel)?  NO.  As a passenger, I do not have the knowledge of planes and how they work, so therefore for 20 minutes I felt absolute sheer terror...wondering what was going to fall off next, how is this plane going to stay together, and what it was going to be like to die.  I am not exaggerating... This is my life now.  I have had people say and state on social media, well at least you had one engine and a plane can fly on one engine.  Honestly that is not the first thing I thought about (actually I never thought about that), what I thought was, "OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO DIE!" There was a loud boom and the plane shook violently, pieces flew off of the engine, then the plane swerved back and forth and started to descend. Oxygen masks dropped.  It's hard for me to believe that anyone would think, "oh, it's okay we still have one engine"!! But that is what I hear and see a lot... Comments like that.  So, yes I am very thankful that the pilot and crew were able to land us safe, but just for the record, not everyone is "okay".  There are many of us, probably 105, who are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress, so to say, "the plane landed safely and everyone is okay" is so untrue...because we are not okay...many of us are dealing with the most scariest thing that I hope will never happen, and we are changed forever.