Engine Detaches From Boeing Aircraft After Takeoff

In yet another terrifying story from our highly-regulated skies, Southwest Airlines passengers faced a recent mid-air scare when an engine cover detached during the Boeing 737-800’s takeoff from Denver International Airport on a flight originally heading to Houston, Texas.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched an investigation into the incident, causing Southwest’s stock to drop around 1% in premarket trading.

The flight, carrying 135 passengers and six crew members, was obviously unable to make it safely to Houston, but was fortunately able to return to Denver International Airport after pilots declared an emergency.

Passengers on the flight were the ones who alerted crew members about the detached engine cover, which struck a wing flap, with several pulling out their phones and capturing the event on video.

Southwest arranged for passengers to board another aircraft to take them to their Texas destination. But the incident resulted in a three-hour delay — all things considered, a minor inconvenience.

Boeing has been in the news a lot lately, presumably a lot more than executives at the company would like. A wave of terrible PR has been washing over the company, with increasing reports leading to serious concerns about the company’s safety standards.

The FAA’s investigation comes after recent incidents that were serious enough to cause grounded flights and mandatory inspections.

The seemingly daily stories of commercial aircraft experiencing concerning — sometimes downright scary — issues are causing many Americans to pause before they plan their next trip. But President Joe Biden’s Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has made assurances that air travel remains the “safest mode of transportation in America.”

It’s difficult to frame an issue like this politically, as there are so many different variables at play that it’s difficult to simply assert a single individual, policy or partner is the cause. But it seems fair to ask oneself: “Was this such a serious issue when Trump was president?”