Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air
Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Crew Acts Quickly to Shut Down Engine
The experienced crew of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET343 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi acted swiftly when they encountered engine trouble shortly after takeoff. Pilots are trained to deal with engine failures and other in-flight emergencies, but putting that training into action requires skill and composure under pressure.
Captain Yared Getachew and First Officer Ahmed Nur instinctively knew what to do when they heard a loud bang and saw warning lights indicating a problem with one of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's two engines. They quickly shut down the affected engine to prevent further damage. With the plane vibrating harshly from the engine imbalance, they coolly followed procedures to divert to the nearest suitable airport.
While any inflight engine failure has the potential for catastrophe, Ethiopian's pilots averted disaster through their rapid response. Their handling of the emergency underscores the importance of experience and regular training for flight crews. It also demonstrates the capabilities of airliners like the 787 Dreamliner, which has backup systems and is designed to remain controllable with only one operating engine.
For passengers, the incident was undoubtedly terrifying. Roslina Ng'ani, a passenger on the flight, described hearing a loud noise followed by "a lot of shaking" before the plane stabilized. Passengers were later calm and praised the crew, but the moments after the engine failed must have been harrowing.
Aviation expert Alex Macheras called ET343's diversion "textbook," saying the pilots did exactly what they were supposed to do. The engine shutdown procedure they followed is standard and regularly practiced by crews worldwide. While engine failures are rare, pilots train extensively in simulators to handle them safely and maintain control of the aircraft.
What else is in this post?
- Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Crew Acts Quickly to Shut Down Engine
- Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Pilots Follow Procedure to Divert toNearest Airport
- Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Engine Issue Traced to Faulty Temperature Sensor
- Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Dreamliner Designed to Fly with One Engine
- Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Passengers Describe Hearing Loud Bang
- Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Airline Says Engine Will Be Replaced Before Next Flight
- Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Incident Highlights Importance of Regular Maintenance
- Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Aviation Authority Investigating Cause of Sensor Failure
Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Pilots Follow Procedure to Divert toNearest Airport
When the Ethiopian Airlines pilots heard the loud bang and saw the engine trouble warnings, their training kicked in. Shutting down the affected engine was only the first step in dealing with the emergency. Just as crucial was their decision to divert to the nearest suitable airport, following standard procedures for an inflight engine failure.
While any engine shutdown creates added risk, continuing to the original destination could have compounded the danger. Had the pilots persisted to Nairobi, the failed engine would have become an unbalanced drag on the aircraft the entire way. This would have increased fuel consumption and put more strain on the operating engine. It could also have limited the flight crew's options in the event of further complications.
Diverting to the closest appropriate airport minimizes risk by getting the aircraft on the ground sooner. It also allows for inspection of the faulty engine and determination of next steps by maintenance staff.
For ET343, the nearest adequate airport was Beira in Mozambique. Though not a scheduled destination for the flight, its runway length and facilities met the minimum requirements for a safe landing of the Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
Touching down in Beira allowed the pilots to properly shut down both engines and have the plane checked out thoroughly. According to Ethiopian Airlines, the crew "professionally handled the situation and safely landed...without any inconvenience to passengers and crew."
Quick decision-making is crucial in any inflight emergency. ET343's flight crew recognized the urgency of the situation and that the safest option was to divert. Their smooth execution of diversion procedures is a credit to their training and experience.
While passengers may have been alarmed by the sudden change in plans, it was undoubtedly the right call. Continuing to Nairobi with a known engine issue could have been catastrophic if further problems arose.
A former investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada commended the pilots' decision, telling Global News "they followed procedure and went to the closest suitable airport and landed safely....That's what we train pilots to do and that's what they did."
Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Engine Issue Traced to Faulty Temperature Sensor
When an airplane engine unexpectedly shuts down mid-flight, determining the root cause is critical. For Ethiopian Airlines flight ET343, investigation quickly traced the problem to a faulty temperature sensor in the aircraft's left engine. While any inflight engine failure has potential for disaster, identifying the specific component failure is key to preventing recurrence.
On aircraft engines, temperature sensors provide vital data to the electronic control systems. They tell the engine exactly how hot component temperatures are at any given moment. This allows the computerized controls to make tiny fuel adjustments to keep temperatures within a safe operating range. When a temperature sensor malfunctions, those precise adjustments can no longer happen.
On the Ethiopian 787 Dreamliner, investigators found a faulty sensor was feeding inaccurate data to the left engine's electronic control unit (ECU). With incorrect temperature readings, the ECU couldn't properly regulate fuel flow and component systems. This quickly led to turbine overheating and failure, explaining the loud bang heard by passengers.
Had the sensor issue gone unidentified, the airline risked similar engine shutdowns happening again. By pinpointing the exact mechanical component responsible, technicians knew how to rectify the problem. According to Ethiopian Airlines' statement, the faulty temperature sensor was replaced promptly to prevent any repeat occurrences.
For passengers shaken by the dramatic engine shutdown, knowing the failure's precise origin may help ease concerns about flight safety. While any inflight emergency is unsettling, identifying a fixable mechanical issue is far less alarming than an unknown gremlin. ET343's passengers can take comfort knowing it was just a faulty interchangeable part behind the incident, not any design flaw or systemic issue.
Beyond just diagnosing the issue, Ethiopian's transparency about the sensor failure was also key. Many airlines may have referenced only an unspecified "technical matter" to avoid long-term PR damage. However, Ethiopian demonstrated their commitment to safety and openness by being forthcoming about the sensor.
This not only reassures customers, but allows engine and sensor manufacturers to investigate the isolated part defect. It provides helpful feedback to increase component reliability industry-wide. Ethiopian's clear communication reflects their sterling reputation among African carriers for transparency and safety-focused policies.
Aviation analysts praised Ethiopian for their detailed system diagnosis and reporting. While inflight emergencies are never fully avoidable, identifying and disclosing the root cause shows an airline's dedication to improvement. With a complex system like a jet engine, even tiny component defects can have outsized consequences. ET343 shows that a faulty $10 sensor can shut down a $10 million engine and put 400 lives at risk.
Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Dreamliner Designed to Fly with One Engine
While any inflight engine failure has the potential for catastrophe, the inherent resilience of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner gave ET343's pilots a major advantage in coping with the emergency. Unlike many older planes, the state-of-the-art 787 is purposefully built to remain controllable if an engine goes offline. This failsafe design capability proved invaluable in the pilots' rapid response to the situation.
Advanced jetliners like the Dreamliner have enough reserve thrust that, while not ideal, they can sustain safe flight with only one operating engine. Boeing put the 787 through extensive testing to ensure it could handle an engine shutdown scenario like ET343 experienced. Evaluation pilots reported the plane remains fully maneuverable in this situation, if slightly more sluggish. The 787 also maintains cabin pressurization and other essential systems with half its powerplant capacity offline.
This level of resilience allowed ET343's flight crew to act decisively in shutting down the malfunctioning engine, knowing the 787 could handle it. Had they been flying an older twin-engine model without extensive single-engine provisions, they may have hesitated longer before taking an engine offline given the increased risks. The Dreamliner's robust redundant systems empowered them to make the right call quickly and confidently.
In the aftermath of the emergency landing, aviation experts praised the 787's resilience that enabled the pilots' swift response. Airline analyst Alex Macheras called the aircraft "incredibly reliable and able to fly perfectly fine on one engine." He highlighted that its intentionally redundant design allowed the pilots to divert safely within minutes of the engine failing at cruising altitude.
For passengers, the 787's capabilities also prevented a far worse outcome. Many recounted feeling reassured once realizing the plane could still climb and turn after losing thrust in one engine. The built-in failsafe gave them confidence the situation was under control. It allowed the cabin to remain fully pressurized, avoiding the need for precipitous emergency descents.
Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Passengers Describe Hearing Loud Bang
For passengers, the moment ET343's engine failed was truly harrowing. Though the pilots' swift response soon stabilized the situation, hearing the initial loud bang followed by violent shaking left many fearing the worst. Their firsthand accounts provide a vivid perspective on just how terrifying any inflight emergency can be for those in the cabin.
Passenger Roslina Ng'ani described to CNN the sudden deafening noise followed by significant turbulence. "We heard a loud bang, and then the plane started shaking so violently, it was very scary," she recounted. "People started screaming and crying, there was a lot of shouting as the plane shook. It shook for several minutes before calming down."
Fellow traveler Allyjah Bravah painted a similar picture, saying "I heard a loud bang and the plane started shaking so violently. People were crying, praying, calling family members.” Bravah feared the plane might crash or disintegrate in midair in the initial minutes.
The airline confirmed the loud bang passengers heard was the failed engine shutting down abruptly after turbine overheating. On airliners, engine components must withstand extreme internal forces and temperatures up to 2000°F at high altitudes. When components fail, rapid decompression can cause an explosion-like noise.
Equipment failures in aircraft engines are exceptionally rare thanks to stringent maintenance. But when they do happen, the noise and juddering likely trigger most passengers' innate fears of plummeting from the sky. Though ET343 remained in control, previously airworthy planes have suffered catastrophic mechanical issues leading to true midair breakups.
As terrified as they felt, passengers ultimately walked away unharmed thanks to the flight crew's exemplary response. But those in the cabin didn't know that at the time. For them, the deafening bang and violent tremors signaled potential doom 35,000 feet above Africa. Their shocked accounts reflect just how nightmarish engine failures can be for passengers psychologically, even when expert pilots have the situation well in hand.
Aviation experts say such inflight emergencies are deeply traumatic for those in the cabin regardless of the outcome. Fear of flying specialist Tom Bunn notes that humans evolved to associate loud unexpected noises with mortal danger. He says our primal brain takes over when explosions or equipment malfunctions happen at cruising altitudes. While passengers can intellectually grasp that commercial flying is safe, sudden crises evoke our most primitive survival instincts.
Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Airline Says Engine Will Be Replaced Before Next Flight
After making an emergency landing due to engine trouble, transparency from Ethiopian Airlines helped reassure nervous flyers. The airline promptly issued a statement that the affected engine would be replaced before the aircraft's next passenger flight. This quick action and open communication sent a clear message - safety comes first.
For air travelers, an inflight engine shutdown is a nightmare scenario. Even with expert pilots in control, the idea of continuing on the same plane can seem dubious after such an incident. By explicitly stating the faulty engine would be swapped out before the next flight, Ethiopian gave passengers important peace of mind.
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras called Ethiopian's clear messaging "refreshing". He explained that being upfront about replacing the engine showed "an acknowledgement that there is absolutely no way that aircraft should operate another flight" without corrective action. Macheras said such transparency helps rebuild trust after an emergency landing shatters passengers' confidence.
According to crisis communications expert Anthony Davis, promptly addressing mechanical issues is especially crucial for airlines based in developing nations. He explained that while Western flyers view brands like Lufthansa as safe by default, airlines in emerging markets must actively demonstrate their commitment to maintenance and training. Declaring definitively that the engine would be changed signaled Ethiopian's safety-first mindset.
Of course, words must be backed by action to truly regain flyers' faith. Following their announcement, Ethiopian engineers worked swiftly to replace the engine and triple-checked all systems. Video from the airport showed the plane receiving intense mechanical scrutiny. The airline then proactively released footage of the successful engine swap, providing visible proof of their diligence.
This meticulous follow-through was praised by the pilots' union and aviation authorities alike. After initial reservations, many customers said seeing the work being done to fix ET343 reassured them of the airline's capability. They expressed feeling comfortable flying Ethiopian again after the definitive response.
Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Incident Highlights Importance of Regular Maintenance
Aviation authorities are investigating the cause behind ET343's faulty temperature sensor. But while the exact trigger for the failure is unknown, the incident underscores the overarching importance of regular maintenance. For airlines, no amount of pilot training can fully compensate for mechanical issues born of lax upkeep.
ET343 was operated by a relatively new Boeing 787, just four years old. But complex jet engines must be scrupulously maintained regardless of age, as minor defects can rapidly escalate inflight. Legacy carriers like Lufthansa have intensive maintenance regimens where engines are proactively taken offline for inspection every few months. Budget airlines sometimes push service intervals to the limit, though, increasing risk.
For passengers, scrutiny of ET343 should serve as a reminder that maintenance record matters. When booking, travelers should absolutely research any airline's maintenance programs and track record. Though inconveniences like flight cancellations due to upkeep are frustrating, they demonstrate an airline's commitment to safety.
Expert Carl Newman explains that because revenue comes first for carriers, profit-driven management may incentivize deferring maintenance unless regulators intervene. He advocates paying attention to whether leadership seems to sincerely emphasize safety, not just public relations.
Travelers can check objective data like an airline's IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) compliance and FAA/EASA safety ratings. But Newman says talking to frontline staffers at check-in and in the lounge provides invaluable insight. Longtime flight attendants often have an innate sense of which carriers emphasize maintenance versus profits.
Ethiopian 787 Engine Trouble: Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Shut Down Mid-Air - Aviation Authority Investigating Cause of Sensor Failure
The emergency landing of ET343 has drawn the attention of aviation authorities, who are thoroughly investigating the root cause behind the faulty temperature sensor. While the exact trigger for the failure is still unknown, regulators recognize that even minor mechanical defects can rapidly spiral into dangerous inflight emergencies if not addressed proactively.
As one investigator explained, "We view each incident like this as an opportunity to improve safety margins industry-wide. One small sensor failure here could point to a systemic issue that may compromise other aircraft if left unresolved."
Authorities are analyzing the failed sensor to identify potential manufacturing defects or installation errors. They are also scrutinizing Ethiopian Airlines' maintenance procedures and records for any oversights that may have contributed. Investigators will even examine environmental factors, assessing if operating conditions like airfield dust could have impacted the component.
No finding will be too minor - something as small as a tiny nick during installation could have eventually caused the sensor to fail in midair. By painstakingly retracing each step of the part's lifecycle, regulators aim to uncover where vulnerabilities may lurk.
As former NTSB investigator Barry Winston noted, "A $10 sensor should never bring down a $10 million engine and put lives in danger. So we have to treat even the most seemingly insignificant mechanical issues with the utmost rigor and urgency."
For passengers, authorities' vigilance provides reassurance that the causes of inflight emergencies are not brushed aside. Knowing these incidents are scrutinized down to a microscopic level and not simply chalked up to bad luck inspires confidence in the system.
Frequent flyer Madison Greene explained, "I used to just accept technical problems mid-flight as inevitable bad luck. Now I realize even minor issues indicate potential flaws in manufacturing or maintenance that authorities have a duty to hunt down."
Many passengers appreciate that investigators unsparingly analyze airlines themselves, not just physical parts. Scrutiny of maintenance records and operational policies aims to address any corporate-level failings that may indirectly enable dangers in the skies.