United Pilot Takes Pictures of the Engine, Tells Air Traffic Control “Roll the Fire Trucks”

United flight UA1175 from San Francisco to Honolulu today declared an emergency around 30 minutes prior to arrival. The aircraft appeared to lose an engine cowling.

One passenger reports that the plane was “shaking like crazy” for the final 35 minutes of the flight, and that a pilot came into the cabin to take photos and view the engine.

Air traffic control recordings have the United pilot saying, “If you haven’t already, roll the fire trucks.” Air traffic control confirms “they will be standing by.”

Here’s video of the engine.

The aircraft landed safely in Honolulu, and the Boeing 777-200 was taken out of service.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Greg if the cowling separated “clean” from the aircraft and no parts were ingested into the engine, the engine is likely fully functional albeit with reduced max thrust. It is just a metal shroud.

    The shaking felt in the cabin is either caused by weight imbalance or airflow over the exposed engine accessories.

    (If anyone knows more than I do please feel free to correct..)

  2. Thanks for covering this. Why is it that a similar incident for Airbus (A380) gets non-stop global coverage whereas a B777 gets a “meh” response from the media and bloggers in general (other than you Gary)?

  3. Seems like a common trend lately in regards to issues with American planes. Hope has nothing to do with people running onto the tarmac and sabotaging them.

  4. @Mogens Larsen because AF66 was a much more serious incident – the engine itself came apart in midair.

  5. @phoenix thanks and you know that because you are on a site like this, but the news organizations have no clue what is the diff between a separated cowling and the whole fan coming off. The pics and films look dramatic enough for all major news sites to have this running nonstop – as they did for the AF A380.

  6. Its not a MEH to me. It doesn’t seem definitive yet that it wasn’t in fact an uncontained engine failure.

  7. Whether or not things are inoperable does not change the fact that pieces fell off the airplane. That’s always a big deal, nothing meh about it.

  8. I was on the live atc and heard about rolling the fire trucks live. That got my attention! I was impressed. I look forward to hearing the cause. Glad they were close to HNL.

  9. ….”The pics and films look dramatic enough for all major news sites to have this running nonstop…” Anything to deflect from Trump and Russia would be welcome!

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