NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


NTSB CONTINUES SEARCH FOR COMPONENTS LOST OVER TEXAS IN UNCONTAINED ENGINE FAILURE

February 26, 2008

In its continuing investigation of an uncontained engine failure that occurred on a Southwest Airlines flight from Dallas, Texas (Love Field), to Little Rock, Arkansas, on November 17, 2007, the National Transportation Safety Board is revising and broadening its search for engine components that fell to the ground in a sparsely populated rural area of Texas.

The incident, in which pieces of the fan blades and the spinner separated from the #2 (right) engine, occurred at 2:54 pm over Hunt County, Texas, at an altitude of 25,000 feet during the climb phase of flight. None of the 133 passengers or 5 crewmembers on board the B-737-300 (N676SW) aircraft was injured. The crew shut down the damaged engine and returned safely to Dallas on power from the #1 (left) engine. In addition to the damage to the engine and its housing components, the aircraft sustained minor damage to the fuselage.

In December, NTSB engineers developed a Ballistic Trajectory Analysis using data such as the aircraft ground track, speed, prevailing winds and other factors, to create a clearly defined Search Area where the engine pieces were most likely to be found. In January, after the map of the Search Area was provided to authorities in the local community, area landowners provided the NTSB with engine parts that they had discovered. Still missing, however, and key to the investigation, is the spinner.

Based on the information gained from the geographic location of the recovered parts, the NTSB has revised and widened the original search area to increase the probability of finding the spinner. The new Search Area is located on private land and is defined by the following coordinates:

The spinner is located on the front on the engine and is pictured below. Depending on its condition, it can weigh up to 18 pounds and its size is up to 22 inches wide by 9 inches deep.

Because these engine parts and the exact location of discovery are essential to the investigation, parts should not be handled by the public, but instead should be marked in place. Anyone finding an aircraft part should contact the Hunt County Sheriff's office at (903) 453-6800.

The NTSB asks anyone volunteering to search for these items to respect private property rights and get permission of the landowner before searching on another's property.

NTSB Media Contact:
Peter Knudson
(202)314-6100
peter.knudson@ntsb.gov

Photos

View of cracked windshield from inside flight deck
View of cracked windshield from inside flight deck - Larger photo at http://www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2008/images/undamaged-spinner1.gif


Heating unit on affected windshield
Heating unit on affected windshield - Larger photo at http://www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2008/images/undamaged-spinner2.gif

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.