Will the NTSB investigate last night's emergency landing?


#1

Last night my son’s commercial flight had to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. (Frontier Airlines #1455 LGA-MKE, 11/29/11 6pm). He told me that “an engine blew, the cabin lost pressure, and masks dropped from the overhead compartments”. I called their 800 number for more information about what happened, and was told the flight had been delayed in NY for two hours due to “Mechanical Problems”, and was now in Philadelphia with “Mechanical Problems”.

I would understand if it were a weather delay, as there were intermittent showers here in NYC. I am concerned that a plane was cleared to take off after having “mechanical problems” and then had an emergency due to mechanical failure. The more disturbing thing is that they had that flight officially scheduled to proceed to Milwaukee the same night! I told him not to get on that same plane.

Does there have to be a tragedy for the NTSB to get involved and find out what the heck is going on? My comfort level is not very high right now, so perhaps one of you gurus can clue me in. Thanks.


#2

The NTSB only gets involved if there are injuries or damage to the airplane. One engine failing is scary, but relatively common.

The incident may get reported on avherald.com/ . Might take a day or two though.


#3

I’m currently listening to the ATC recordings of this flight as it approached Philadelphia Airport. The pilot sounded about as calm and professional as if nothing had happened. They said that no emergency equipment would be needed for the landing. They said the problem was “a cabin altitude problem” meaning pressurization.

I’m surprised though that if one engine did fail, that the oxygen masks would deploy because I would think that one engine should be able to maintain cabin pressure, unless there was an uncontained engine failure that caused cabin damage, but I would think that would easily make headlines…


#4

This is a reportable mechanical problem. The airline will report it to their FAA reps and depending on the nature of the failure it will be investigated as needed. The airline itself will look into it if for no other reason than to ensure that they don’t have a service interruption like this again. These hick-ups cost them money and therefore they try hard to prevent them.