United Airlines pilot who escaped similar engine failure as Flight 328 praises flight crew

Local News

(Hayden Smith via AP)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A United Airlines pilot of 35 years says that the crew aboard United Flight 328, which blew an engine on its way from Denver to Honolulu Saturday, did an incredible job keeping everyone safe.

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Captain Christopher Behnam should know. He experienced an eerily similar scenario in 2018.

Behnam’s flight in February of 2018 lost its right engine about 200 miles from Honolulu. Despite this, he was still able to navigate the plane to land safely.

He says the first job for a pilot in an emergency is to get control of the jet. The second job is to navigate it to an airport.

“The third thing we do is we communicate. We tell the air traffic controller by declaring ‘Mayday Mayday Mayday,'” Captain Behnam said. “They know the protocol. They know exactly what’s going on. They give you the whole airspace. They clear the airspace.”

Captain Behnam’s flight could’ve caused a water landing if they were further out to sea, something he says the large Boeing 777 planes aren’t built for.

“A transport category jet weighing 500,000 to 600,000 pounds, there’s a lot of mass. They’re traveling 150 to 180, to 200 miles an hour. If it hits the water, the impact is going to be very severe,” Captain Benham said.

United Airlines is now grounding the planes with engines like the one in Saturday’s incident,

The airline released the following statement following Saturday’s incident:

Starting immediately and out of an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily and temporarily removing 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines from our schedule. Since yesterday, we’ve been in touch with regulators at the NTSB and FAA and will continue to work closely with them to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service. As we swap out aircraft, we expect only a small number of customers to be inconvenienced.

United Airlines

The FAA says that United Airlines is the only fleet in the country with this type of engine.

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