The physics of getting sucked out of a plane

Ceria Alfonso
Abril 19, 2018

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday said it would order the inspection of 220 jet engines following the death of a passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight after one of its engines failed.

In a news conference, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said one of the engine's fan blades was separated and missing.

In 2016, the same airline and the same type of jet experienced an engine failure en route from New Orleans to Orlando, forcing the plane to land in Pensacola, Florida. The failure set off a catastrophic chain of events that killed Riordan and ended eight straight years without a fatal accident involving a USA airliner.

Other passengers pulled her back in and tried to revive her but she died from her injuries.

The fan blade in the plane's left engine broke off as the plane cruised normally, a result of gradually weakening metal, the NTSB said.

Days after a jet engine exploded about 32,500 feet over Pennsylvania 20 minutes into a flight, federal and corporate inspectors are examining what happened. Federal regulators say they will issue a new directive over the next few weeks, requiring inspections on the almost 7,000 engines around the world like the one that exploded. The directive will require an ultrasonic inspection of fan blades when they reach a fixed number of cycles.

The issue, according to investigators was the fan blade in the engine.

In a statement on its website, the company said: "The CFM56-7B engine powering this aircraft has compiled an outstanding safety and reliability record since entering revenues service in 1997 while powering more than 6,700 aircraft worldwide".

The metal fatigue would not have been observable by looking at the engine from the outside, Sumwalt said. A ring created to contain debris in the event of engine failure was apparently ineffective. The brother of first officer Darren Ellisor shared a picture of him with pilot Tammie Jo Shults.

Sumwalt says the NTSB remains uncertain if the blades from the failed engine were subject to the FAA's 2017 directive; determining that information can be more hard than expected because part numbers can change, he says. "Our hearts are heavy", the two pilots said in the statement.

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The design of the oxygen mask was also criticised by many, with suggestions to change the round cup to feature a nose shape to suggest that is where they are meant to go.

The objections from Southwest and other airlines stem partly from the fact that carriers, while highly regulated, are not required to track each individual fan blade within an engine.

Needum and other passengers on Tuesday's flight from NY to Dallas pulled Jennifer Riordan back into the plane and performed CPR.

The explosion of an engine on a Southwest Airline's plane has prompted the U.S.

The woman who was killed was identified as Jennifer Riordan, according to CNN affiliate KOAT, which cited Annunciation Catholic School. "Evidently the wrong person was taken from that flight", Dennis Miller said on Facebook in a posting that included colourful language to describe Martinez.

Passengers struggled to plug the hole while giving the badly injured woman CPR.

Shults, a former US Navy fighter pilot, is a Christian.

"The clients are saying, "'That's exactly what we were afraid would happen, that this would happen in-flight, and that's why we were all so fearful of our lives,"' she said.

Air traffic control asked whether the plane was on fire.

She was the first passenger killed in an accident involving a United States airline since 2009.

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