I've had some pretty scary flights over the years -- flying through thunderstorms, encountering violent clear-air turbulence, sudden wing dips on landing. But the good news is that the planes I've been on always seem to land in one piece.
That definitely wasn't the case for Erik Haddad, who flew from San Francisco to Honolulu on United Airlines Boeing 777 flight 1175 yesterday. Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, far from land, one of the plane's engines started to fall apart. More specifically, the engine cover fell off, leaving the engine itself exposed and shaking pretty violently.
When they noticed what was going on the flight crew made a call to Honolulu to prepare for an emergency landing. The good news for the passengers and crew is that the aircraft landed safely, with no injuries.
According to a United Airlines statement:
"United flight 1175 traveling to Honolulu from San Francisco landed safely after the pilots called for an emergency landing because of a loss of the engine cowling (the covering of the engine). Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft. The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally."
I've been known to fly to Hawaii on occasion, and I'm personally glad I wasn't on that particular flight. Losing an engine -- or even just a piece of an engine -- is not something I want to experience anytime soon.