A Delta 757-200 bound for Orlando last Wednesday suffered an uncontained engine failure shortly after takeoff from Atlanta, (ATL). Delta Flight 1418 returned to ATL after the flight crew shut down the damaged engine, according to the Associated Press.
What is Uncontained Engine Failure
An uncontained engine failure occurs when pieces of an operating engine break apart, creating potentially lethal shrapnel that can damage other aircraft systems or passengers.
Why Did It Happen?
No-one was injured on this particular flight but this failure begs the question, why did it happen? The answer is probably found by looking back at recent airline history. A Southwest Airlines flight experienced an uncontained engine failure earlier this year, resulting in the death of a passenger.
The cause was thought to have been metal fatigue which caused the failure in a fan blade.
Should I Be Worried
No. Flying remains a massively safe form of travel, with the exception of private helicopters that tend to fall out of the sky more regularly than commercial airliners. Yes, as we reported earlier in the month, even if you are a billionaire, you are not immune to falling out of the sky.
Delta Air Lines has an excellent safety record so flying with them should be as safe as it gets. You could argue that because it has one of the oldest fleets of any American Airline, there are more likely to be problems related to their ageing planes and thus metal fatigue, but a new plane doesn’t always mean a safer plane, just look at the recent Lion Air crash on a brand new Boeing plane.
Flying Is Now Going To To Terrify Me!
Keep things in perspective. Flying is generally safe. I fly around 30 times a year and will continue to fly regularly. I do get nervous when I fly. Annoyingly, my armpits seem to sweat particularly enthusiastically with the stress, which I could do without!
I have been in some life-threatening situations, but never in a plane. I have been in some worrying to-close-for-comfort incidents while driving and more than once I have stepped off the pavement into ongoing traffic more than once, only to pull back at the last minute. This summer I almost cut a finger off when compressing rubbish bags into my wheely bin…
For me at least, flying is safer than doing day to day chores and driving, so I will try not to worry and I would advise any traveller to try not to worry either. Nothing is 100% in life but flying is not a high-risk activity and almost everybody comes out the other end just fine…
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