Shocking video captured flames shooting from the engine of an Atlas Air Boeing 747 cargo plane shortly after takeoff from Miami International Airport on January 19th, 2024. The plane was forced to turn around and make an emergency landing back at the airport.
Timeline of Events
The Atlas Air Boeing 747-8 freighter, operating as flight 5Y095, departed Miami International Airport at 9:30 AM EST on a cargo flight to Houston, Texas. Approximately 15 minutes after takeoff, the crew reported an engine malfunction and declared an emergency. Stunned witnesses near the airport captured video of the Boeing 747 with flames and sparks shooting from the left outer engine as it flew over the Miami area.
The pilots immediately turned the plane around to return to Miami International Airport. Airport fire and rescue crews were placed on standby. The Boeing 747 landed safely on runway 9 at 9:54 AM. Emergency vehicles escorted the aircraft to the gate, but the fire had already extinguished by the time it touched down.
There were three crew members on board but no passengers on the all-cargo flight. No injuries were reported.
|Atlas Air flight 5Y095 departs Miami Int’l Airport
|Crew reports engine malfunction, plane turns around
|Boeing 747 lands safely back at Miami Int’l
Initial Investigation Finds Softball-Sized Hole Above Engine
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched an investigation into the incident. An initial inspection found a softball-sized hole above one of the engines on the Boeing 747. No information has been released on what may have caused the hole or engine failure at this time. Investigators will be interviewing the flight crew, studying flight data recordings, and thoroughly inspecting the aircraft to determine the factors involved.
Further tests will also be conducted on the affected engine, manufactured by General Electric. Boeing, Atlas Air, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are all participating in the ongoing investigation.
Atlas Air’s Statement
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, the operator of the Boeing 747 cargo plane, released the following statement:
“We are investigating the cause of an engine malfunction on Atlas Air flight 5Y 095, a Boeing 747-8F cargo aircraft, shortly after it departed Miami International Airport on January 19, 2024. The aircraft returned safely to the airport, and our crewmembers are fine. We are working closely with relevant authorities and the aircraft and engine manufacturers to determine the cause.”
Miami Airport Resumes Normal Operations
Miami International Airport halted flights for a brief period during the emergency landing but resumed normal takeoffs and landings around 10:30AM. Some delays persisted throughout the day and passengers reported long lines.
The airport tweeted praise for the quick response of firefighters and emergency crews. Departing and arriving flights were impacted for several hours by the disabled Boeing 747 blocking a gate upon landing. Due to the aircraft’s large size, towing it to a remote parking area for further inspection proved challenging.
By late afternoon, Miami International Airport was posting updates that operations were getting back to normal. They cautioned that travelers should still expect some residual delays and allow extra time when coming to/from the airport.
Boeing 747 History & Safety Record
The Boeing 747-8 is the latest and largest variant of the iconic Boeing 747, commonly referred to as the “Jumbo Jet.” The first 747 entered service in 1970 and over 1,500 have been built. It revolutionized air travel with its unprecedented size and range.
The 747 established an excellent safety record, especially in cargo operations. This is the first significant incident involving the Boeing 747-8F model since it debuted in 2011.
Prior to this event, a total of 61 aviation accidents have involved Boeing 747s since 1970 – the majority landing or takeoff incidents. Only 5 of these were hull-loss crashes with no survivors.
Boeing 747 Series Aircraft Accidents 1970-2023:
|Type of Accident
|Other (ground incidents, etc.)
Engine Maker General Electric Involved in Investigation
Along with air crash investigators, engine manufacturer General Electric (GE) is actively involved in determining the cause of the failure on flight 5Y095. One of the four GE GEnx-2B67 engines suffered apparent damage and malfunctioned in dramatic fashion witnessed by Miami residents.
GE and other engine suppliers such as Pratt & Whitney carefully monitor the performance of engines worldwide. New advanced sensor technology provides real-time diagnostics data.
Previous problems with the GEnx engine has centered around icing issues at high altitude causing temporary surges or auto-shutdowns. This incident at the relatively low altitude suggests a different failure mode not previously observed.
Impact on Atlas Air Stock
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. stock fell over 5% during trading on January 19th after initial reports of the Boeing 747 engine and aircraft damage. The aircraft involved is estimated to be worth $100-150 million – a total loss would severely impact Atlas Air’s profitability.
The cargo carrier is one of the largest operators of Boeing 747 freighter aircraft. They also operate Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 cargo models.Atlas Air handles freight operations and logistics for major customers like Amazon Air.
If the accident investigation finds fault in GE engine design or maintenance issues by Atlas Air, financial impacts may continue in coming quarters. Still, the share decline is modest thus far as the safe emergency landing prevented worst-case scenario.
Analysts expect little long term stock impact unless evidence shows systemic issues leading to stricter regulations or penalties on Atlas Air. Continued profitable performance meeting 2024 earnings targets would soon overshadow this breaking incident.
Conclusion & What Happens Next
While any serious inflight emergency raises alarm, the successful landing prevented loss of life or aircraft in this case. The experienced Atlas Air crew reacted quickly to get their Boeing 747 safely back on the ground after reporting engine trouble and seeing flames.
Miami International Airport operations are nearly back to normal. There were no significant disruptions nationally to air cargo networks from this localized incident.
Investigators will likely spend 8-12 months piecing together the exact sequence and cause of the Atlas Air emergency. Boeing, engine manufacturers, and the airline must address any faults uncovered in this process to prevent future occurrences.
The FAA will monitor short term risks and may issue temporary directives to inspect similar aircraft engines as a precaution. Longer term recommendations could impact engine testing requirements or design.
For now, Atlas Air and Boeing can breath a sigh of relief at averting disaster. But much work lies ahead to determine what went wrong at 30,000 feet over the Florida coast.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.