A Frontier flight from Las Vegas to Tampa on Nov 30th 2018, Florida, had to return to the airport after an engine cover came off of the aircraft, according to an airline spokesperson.
Frontier Flight 260 took off from McCarran International Airport with a scheduled 7 a.m. departure time, but it had to return for an “engine concern,” said Christine Crews with Clark County Aviation.
The flight landed back at McCarran just after 7:25 a.m. with no reports of injuries. Crews said 166 people were on board the plane, an Airbus A320.
In a statement, Frontier said a cowling, or engine cover, came loose and pilots immediately returned to McCarran.
“The engine continued to operate normally and the aircraft, an Airbus 320, landed safely,” the statement reads. “Safety is our top priority at Frontier Airlines and we would like to acknowledge the professionalism of our pilots and flight attendants. We are working to get our passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible.”
A spokesperson for Frontier Airlines tells News 3, the passengers onboard the diverted flight “have been given a refund, plus a $500 voucher for future travel on Frontier”. The airline also reports that in order to continue them to their destinations, each customer has been re-booked with other airlines.
“We’re about to blow up, that’s my first thought,” said Jazmin Pedraza. She and 165 others were headed to Tampa that Friday morning. “As we’re backing out, you kinda feel a little shakiness and you hear the engine it sounds really loud,” she said. She said the air coming from the vents started to smell.
“You kind of feel and hear this thump and the guys stands up and is yelling, stop the plane, stop the plane.” She added, “You see all the windows go up and we all look and it’s a burst of flame and the engine things pop up, but we’re already taking off.”
Pedraza said they got a flight attendant’s attention as they got into the air. “Everyone was just crying in complete panic.”
The piece that ripped off is the engine cover. It’s called a cowling. Len Guerin is a pilot. He’s been working on planes for 41 years.
He said if an aircraft is properly maintained, age doesn’t matter. He called this incident unusual, but said it likely wouldn’t be catastrophic on an Airbus 320. “The two issues that we’d be looking at is either material failure, or maybe someone didn’t quite do their job right,” he said.
He also said the crew is always prepared in case something like this does happen. “They train for this stuff. They’re constantly training for it.”