A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max airliner made an emergency landing in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday 26 March. “The aircraft returned and landed safely in Orlando. No passengers were aboard the aircraft,” the Federal Aviation Administration said. The pilots reported an engine issue that appears to be unrelated to the control-software problems that grounded the Boeing jet. The plane was being ferried to Victorville, California, for desert storage.
The engine issue reported by the pilots appears to be unrelated to the control-software issues that have plagued the 737 Max and that may have contributed to the crashes of both Lion Air Flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302. Neither of the two ongoing crash investigations have indicated any performance issues with the plane’s CFM International Leap-1B engines. The FAA said it is investigating the flight that lasted just 11 minutes. Southwest Airlines, which is based in Dallas, is the single largest operator of the Boeing 737 MAX. The plane involved in the incident is one of 34 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the Southwest fleet that were grounded by an FAA emergency order earlier this month after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302.
The FAA’s statement:
“The crew of Southwest Airlines Flight 8701, a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, declared an emergency after the aircraft experienced a reported engine problem while departing from Orlando International Airport in Florida on Tuesday. The aircraft returned and landed safely in Orlando. No passengers were aboard the aircraft, which was being ferried to Victorville, Calif., for storage. The FAA is investigating.”