Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

UA 885 5 April 2024 FCO-IAD engine failure / compressor stall and emergency landing

UA 885 5 April 2024 FCO-IAD engine failure / compressor stall and emergency landing

Old Apr 5, 2024, 9:37 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Programs: AA PP, UA Platinum/MM, WoH Globalist, HH Diamond
Posts: 1,400
UA 885 5 April 2024 FCO-IAD engine failure / compressor stall and emergency landing

UA885 FCO-IAD on April 5th returned back to FCO shortly after take off (the 772 went up to about 3500’ and then did a few loops before heading back). After a few hours on the ground, took off and completed the flight back to IAD.
Infinite1K is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 9:55 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 385
UA 885 5 April 2024 FCO-IAD engine failure / compressor stall and emergency landing

Flying UA 885 FCO-IAD today (4/5/24) and experienced a (new to me) first. 8 minutes after takeoff at around 2,500 feet we experienced a compressor stall and immediately returned to the field. We were met by 5 fire trucks and multiple police and air stairs for an expedited evacuation. But I have some questions so Im hoping someone with some info can chime in!

1.) Anyway to know if we landed overweight? We most definitely did not dump fuel. At least Id bet we didnt. We maxed out at 3500 feet and didnt spend much time circling.

2.) Does the fact that we landed immediately mean the problem was more significant than a compressor stall / surge? If we did land overweight rather than burn or dump fuel, is that a telling sign?

3.) FCO-SFO was cancelled and the plane is now being used to head to IAD, which Im on. I know this is a loaded question but why cancel sfo and use the plane for IAD? Our crew is the crew that was supposed to operate SFO today. It seems like the sfo passengers also got the short end of the stick having to give up their plane.

4.) Can anyone tell me how I can find the ATC conversations? Would love to listen to the play by play.

5.) Before getting off the plane, FAs said do not take any pictures. Naturally, I had to snap a few. That was kind of in bad taste as we werent facing any immediate threat or emergency once in the buses on the ground.

I should add that the pilots handled the situation nicely and kept people calm with their updates. Once in a lifetime is good for me, hope it doesnt happen again!





Last edited by zeus2120; Apr 5, 2024 at 10:09 am
zeus2120 is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 10:06 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 704
Originally Posted by zeus2120
Flying UA 885 FCO-IAD today (4/5/24) and experienced a (new to me) first. 8 minutes after takeoff at around 2,500 feet we experienced a compressor stall and immediately returned to the field. We were met by 5 fire trucks and multiple police and air stairs for an expedited evacuation. But I have some questions so I’m hoping someone with some info can chime in!

1.) Anyway to know if we landed overweight? We most definitely did not dump fuel. At least I’d bet we didn’t. We maxed out at 3500 feet and didn’t spend much time circling.

2.) Does the fact that we landed immediately mean the problem was more significant than a stall? If we did land overweight rather than burn or dump fuel, is that a telling sign?

3.) FCO-SFO was cancelled and the plane is now being used to head to IAD, which I’m on. I know this is a loaded question but why cancel sfo and use the plane for IAD? Our crew is the crew that was supposed to operate SFO today. It seems like the sfo passengers also got the short end of the stick having to give up their plane.

4.) Can anyone tell me how I can find the ATC conversations? Would love to listen to the play by play.

5.) Before getting off the plane, FAs said “do not take any pictures”. Naturally, I had to snap a few. That was kind of in bad taste as we weren’t facing any immediate threat or emergency once in the buses on the ground.

I should add that the pilots handled the situation nicely and kept people calm with their updates. Once in a lifetime is good for me, hope it doesn’t happen again!
Glad you are ok and seem to be taking it in stride.

1. You definitely landed overweight, but not sure why you care - you can do it when necessary.
2. You didn't stall, that would've been pretty serious at that altitude. You just lost one engine, but the plane is designed to fly on one.
3. Depends on the load factors for each of the flights - probably easier and gives UA more time to reroute passengers to SFO via other airports, and also depends on where they need the plane downstream for the next flights.
4. Not sure for international.
5. Whatever, ignore them. I'd take photos too.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 5, 2024 at 1:10 pm Reason: remove unreferenced quote of pistures
slariz is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 10:08 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 385
Originally Posted by slariz
Glad you are ok and seem to be taking it in stride.

1. You definitely landed overweight, but not sure why you care - you can do it when necessary.
2. You didn't stall, that would've been pretty serious at that altitude. You just lost one engine, but the plane is designed to fly on one.
3. Depends on the load factors for each of the flights - probably easier and gives UA more time to reroute passengers to SFO via other airports, and also depends on where they need the plane downstream for the next flights.
4. Not sure for international.
5. Whatever, ignore them. I'd take photos too.
Just an aviation geek who wants to know! No real reason other than having all the details right to my experience.
PLeblond likes this.
zeus2120 is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 10:12 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Programs: UA MM
Posts: 4,256
Originally Posted by slariz
Glad you are ok and seem to be taking it in stride.

1. You definitely landed overweight, but not sure why you care - you can do it when necessary.
2. You didn't stall, that would've been pretty serious at that altitude. You just lost one engine, but the plane is designed to fly on one.
3. Depends on the load factors for each of the flights - probably easier and gives UA more time to reroute passengers to SFO via other airports, and also depends on where they need the plane downstream for the next flights.
4. Not sure for international.
5. Whatever, ignore them. I'd take photos too.
3) Is it possible the crew would time out with a longer flight than to IAD?
Dyce likes this.
JimInOhio is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 10:12 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: MBS/FNT/LAN
Programs: UA 1K, HH Gold, Mariott Gold
Posts: 9,641
Originally Posted by zeus2120

1.) Anyway to know if we landed overweight? We most definitely did not dump fuel. At least Id bet we didnt. We maxed out at 3500 feet and didnt spend much time circling.

2.) Does the fact that we landed immediately mean the problem was more significant than a stall? If we did land overweight rather than burn or dump fuel, is that a telling sign?

3.) FCO-SFO was cancelled and the plane is now being used to head to IAD, which Im on. I know this is a loaded question but why cancel sfo and use the plane for IAD? Our crew is the crew that was supposed to operate SFO today. It seems like the sfo passengers also got the short end of the stick having to give up their plane.

4.) Can anyone tell me how I can find the ATC conversations? Would love to listen to the play by play.

5.) Before getting off the plane, FAs said do not take any pictures. Naturally, I had to snap a few. That was kind of in bad taste as we werent facing any immediate threat or emergency once in the buses on the ground.

I should add that the pilots handled the situation nicely and kept people calm with their updates. Once in a lifetime is good for me, hope it doesnt happen again!
First, glad that everyone is OK. I am sure this will get blown up in the media about UA... but from my perspective the system worked, as everyone landed safe.

I can't speak for 1 or 2, I am sure one of the resident flight crew will chime in.

3. The reason is buried in details we will not know... Less financial loss? Easier to move passengers to other flights? Less people dis-serviced? Easier to recover from the IRROPS? More important cargo? Lots of reasons, but doubtful it would ever be announced.

4. Somewhere here: https://www.liveatc.net/

5. More of a request than an order... I just can't see how they would expect anyone would honor that request once off the plane.
zeus2120 likes this.
jhayes_1780 is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 10:17 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 385
Originally Posted by jhayes_1780
First, glad that everyone is OK. I am sure this will get blown up in the media about UA... but from my perspective the system worked, as everyone landed safe.

I can't speak for 1 or 2, I am sure one of the resident flight crew will chime in.

3. The reason is buried in details we will not know... Less financial loss? Easier to move passengers to other flights? Less people dis-serviced? Easier to recover from the IRROPS? More important cargo? Lots of reasons, but doubtful it would ever be announced.

4. Somewhere here: https://www.liveatc.net/

5. More of a request than an order... I just can't see how they would expect anyone would honor that request once off the plane.
After they said something, lots of people ended up taking pictures. I think there would have been less interest without the request. But yeah the timing is bad with everything else going on. My post here on FT is more from a frequent flyer perspective and not a media sensation perspective. At the end of the day all the systems worked. United staff at FCO did a great job. Honestly better than I've experienced in the USA.

Originally Posted by JimInOhio
3) Is it possible the crew would time out with a longer flight than to IAD?
The crew currently operating our 2nd attempt at UA885 was scheduled to operate FCO-SFO today. That flight canceled and we took their crew.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 5, 2024 at 1:14 pm
zeus2120 is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 10:51 am
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Houston
Programs: UA Plat, Marriott Gold
Posts: 12,725
The no photos is to keep people focused on evacuating and not getting in the way.

Originally Posted by zeus2120
Flying UA 885 FCO-IAD today (4/5/24) and experienced a (new to me) first. 8 minutes after takeoff at around 2,500 feet we experienced a compressor stall and immediately returned to the field.
Originally Posted by slariz
2. You didn't stall, that would've been pretty serious at that altitude. You just lost one engine, but the plane is designed to fly on one.
OP didn't say the aircraft stalled, they said they had a compressor stall, which is a very plausible cause of the loss of an engine on initial climb.
mduell is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 10:53 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: IND
Programs: 1K 2MM
Posts: 217
Originally Posted by zeus2120
3.) FCO-SFO was cancelled and the plane is now being used to head to IAD, which Im on. I know this is a loaded question but why cancel sfo and use the plane for IAD? Our crew is the crew that was supposed to operate SFO today. It seems like the sfo passengers also got the short end of the stick having to give up their plane.
One consideration is that it is much easier to re-route the SFO pax: FCO > IAD > SFO than the IAD pax: FCO > SFO > IAD.
zeus2120 likes this.
nwff is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 10:54 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 385
Originally Posted by mduell
The no photos is to keep people focused on evacuating and not getting in the way.



OP didn't say the aircraft stalled, they said they had a compressor stall, which is a very plausible cause of the loss of an engine on initial climb.
To be fair I did edit the original post for clarification.
zeus2120 is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 11:13 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BNA
Programs: HH Gold. (Former) UA PP, DL PM, PC Plat
Posts: 8,283
Originally Posted by zeus2120
1.) Anyway to know if we landed overweight? We most definitely did not dump fuel. At least Id bet we didnt. We maxed out at 3500 feet and didnt spend much time circling.
Very likely. With an airplane fueled for FCO-SFO it would have taking some time to dump down to max landing weight.

2.) Does the fact that we landed immediately mean the problem was more significant than a compressor stall / surge? If we did land overweight rather than burn or dump fuel, is that a telling sign?
It's a sign that you had an engine shutdown. Minimizing the time spent flying on a single engine would likely be more pressing than having to do an overweight landing inspection.

3.) FCO-SFO was cancelled and the plane is now being used to head to IAD, which Im on. I know this is a loaded question but why cancel sfo and use the plane for IAD?
Likely had to do with crew legalities but there's no way to know.

4.) Can anyone tell me how I can find the ATC conversations? Would love to listen to the play by play.
If it's available, it will likely show up on the VASAviation YouTube channel in a few days.

5.) Before getting off the plane, FAs said do not take any pictures.
They don't want people stopping to take pictures and hindering the evacuation. In a situation where the speed of the evacuation really matters, that can reduce the number of survivors. In an emergency situation, please follow crewmember instructions, even when the reason for them is not obvious. The procedures are developed to ensure that everyone can evacuate safely.
SPN Lifer, cawhite, CJ99 and 12 others like this.
LarryJ is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 11:16 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SFO / LHR
Programs: UA GS 2.2MM / UC / AS Gold 75K / Bonvoy Plat / Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,039
Originally Posted by nwff
One consideration is that it is much easier to re-route the SFO pax: FCO > IAD > SFO than the IAD pax: FCO > SFO > IAD.
From an SFO FA friend, the inbound AC for FCO-SFO was already 90 minutes late, and there was a high likelihood the crew would time out on max duty day (14h). Sending them to IAD was within limits. There was also decent capacity on FCO-SFO on Saturday for reaccomodation for todays passengers.
greenpau is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 11:18 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 385
Originally Posted by LarryJ
Very likely. With an airplane fueled for FCO-SFO it would have taking some time to dump down to max landing weight.


It's a sign that you had an engine shutdown. Minimizing the time spent flying on a single engine would likely be more pressing than having to do an overweight landing inspection.


Likely had to do with crew legalities but there's no way to know.


If it's available, it will likely show up on the VASAviation YouTube channel in a few days.


They don't want people stopping to take pictures and hindering the evacuation. In a situation where the speed of the evacuation really matters, that can reduce the number of survivors. In an emergency situation, please follow crewmember instructions, even when the reason for them is not obvious. The procedures are developed to ensure that everyone can evacuate safely.
Great insight, thank you! I did wait until we were safely on the bus before snapping a few pictures.

Originally Posted by greenpau
From an SFO FA friend, the inbound AC for FCO-SFO was already 90 minutes late, and there was a high likelihood the crew would time out on max duty day (14h). Sending them to IAD was within limits. There was also decent capacity on FCO-SFO on Saturday for reaccomodation for todays passengers.
This is why I love FT!
narvik likes this.
zeus2120 is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 11:21 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BNA
Programs: HH Gold. (Former) UA PP, DL PM, PC Plat
Posts: 8,283
To tack on to that last post...

A compressor stall is when the airflow into the engine, through the compressor section, is disrupted by aerodynamic stalls over the fan/compressor blades. The momentary airflow disruption causes a pause in combustion as the fuel/air mixture is no longer combustible. As the unburned fuel moves after the engine, the fuel/air mixture reaches a point where it is combustible again and it burns rapidly. This can result in flames out the tailpipe and a loud "BANG". If the cause of the stall is persistent, the process will repeat making a "BANG...BANG...BANG" until the condition is resolved or the engine is shut down.

If the condition is transient, such as from injecting some foreign object, the engine will recover and continue to run. Engine damage is possible, but usually does not occur. One cause of a persistent compressor stall is a bird ingestion which causes damage to the fan/compressor blades. In those cases, the engine is shut down and will have to be replaced. Transient stalls can come from a failure in the fuel control unit, strong gusts, or injecting some foreign material that does not cause any damage as it moves through the engine. (That may have been the issue with the 737 that was recently reported as having "an engine fire". I believe that it ingested some plastic bubble wrap during takeoff)

In any case, this is one of the scenarios for which we train every time we head back to the simulators.
LarryJ is offline  
Old Apr 5, 2024, 11:24 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Morris County, NJ
Programs: UA 1K/*G, Avis Pres, Marriott Plat
Posts: 2,327
Originally Posted by zeus2120
Great insight, thank you! I did wait until we were safely on the bus before snapping a few pictures.



This is why I love FT!
Both of these are excellent examples of why not to assume anything. The reasons for many decisions arent immediately obvious to causal observers but usually have sound reasoning behind them.

Glad all went well - but its as I would expect. Compressor stalls are well rehearsed and of course, Uniteds pilots are superbly trained. I would have zero concern or fear here. Sounds like both the ground crew and the flight planners got it right too. Good work by everyone involved!
SPN Lifer and zeus2120 like this.
dmurphynj is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.