Photo: Around the World Photos/Shutterstock

Part of an Engine Apparatus Fell Off During a Southwest Flight Sunday Morning

Travel Safety Airports + Flying
by Matador Creators Apr 8, 2024

It’s no secret that airlines have been in the news lately for airplane issues, ranging from mid-air disasters to hiccups related to passengers behaving badly. But on Sunday morning, attention was once again drawn to Southwest Airlines, when a piece of its engine apparatus fell off mid-flight.

According to the airline, Southwest Airlines Flight 3695 left Denver International Airport at 7:40 AM on Sunday, April 7. It was bound for Houston, Texas, but during takeoff, passengers reported hearing a loud bump. Moments later, someone noticed something understandably alarming: a large piece of one of the engine covers, called a cowling, had fallen off and was stuck on the wing.

The plane immediately turned around and returned to Denver without incident, with no injuries reported. The flight was assigned to a different plane, which brought passengers to Houston about three hours behind schedule.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced in a very short statement that it will investigate the incident, simply reporting “Southwest Airlines Flight 3695 returned safely to Denver International airport around 8:15 a.m. local time on Sunday, April 7, after the crew reported the engine cowling fell off during takeoff and struck the wing flap. The aircraft was headed to William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. The FAA will investigate. Please contact the airline for additional information.”

It’s no surprise what company made the plane

southwest airlines engine incident - april 2024 boeing factory

Photo: First Class Photography/Shutterstock

It’s Southwest and United airlines that have been in the news the most lately, but that’s because both airlines are the largest buyers of planes from one company. And it won’t surprise anyone what that company is: Boeing. Boeing has not made a public comment on the incident, but the FAA has been investigating the airplane manufacturer for a series of quality control issues that began in January 2024, when an airplane door flew off a Boeing plane mid-flight.

Since then, it’s failed a production audit, and the FAA announced after an investigation that it had “identified non-compliance issues in Boeing’s manufacturing process control, parts handling and storage, and product control.” In March, the FAA gave Boeing 90 days to fix its quality issues, while simultaneously forcing it to halt production on any new 737 MAX aircraft. Of the major airlines, Southwest and United have the most 737 MAX jets in their fleet, which may explain why those two airlines have seen the lion’s share of airplane issues over the last four months.

Boeing is the largest producer of commercial aircraft in the world, and is, along with AirBus, one of only two large-scale commercial aircraft producers in the world. It’s estimated that roughly 42 percent of commercial aircraft in use are produced by Boeing.

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