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Emergency landings are fairly common in aviation. They can happen for any number of reasons, from a sick passenger to a minor mechanical malfunction.
On Monday, Delta Air Lines Flight 1425 from Atlanta to Baltimore had to land at North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham International Airport when one of its engines failed mid-flight.
The MD-88 operating the flight was carrying about 150 passengers when the incident happened.
CNN reported that those aboard heard a loud noise and saw smoke coming into the cabin.
One passenger posted video of the engine to Twitter, which appears to show a bright red glow inside the turbine. The engine’s cone, which separated from the fan blades, seems to be rattling around the jet’s intake.
Modern aircraft are generally designed to be able to fly safely even following an engine failure, and according to CNN, the flight landed safely. No injuries were reported and passengers were all rebooked to continue on to Baltimore. The plane’s damaged engine has been replaced and the aircraft is expected to return to service this week.
But it won’t stay in service for long: MD-88s are among the last models left flying of the venerable McDonnell Douglas MD-80, an early-1980s design that was once the backbone of several US mainline fleets but is now outdated. Its Pratt & Whitney JT8 engines date back to a 1960s design, and guzzle far more fuel than today’s turbofans, which are also far quieter. American Airlines is retiring its own MD-80s this year, and Delta will follow in 2020.
Despite those loud engines, though, all MD-80s offer a very quiet ride for the passengers seated up front, since the engines are mounted at the tail, not under the wings, and the airplane is 150ft long. Conversely, the last rows in the back are subjected to a really loud noise — but on the flip side, MD-80s mostly fly short routes up to a couple of hours.
The one that was involved in the incident had the registration N906DL, identifying it as the third-oldest of Delta’s 74 MD-80s, at 32 years old. Age is just a number in this case, though: financially-prudent Delta is known for keeping aircraft around for a long time, and data shows that a well-maintained older jet is not necessarily less safe than younger ones.
Featured photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy.
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