Listen To Pilots Describe Moment A Boeing Airplane Loses A Wheel During Takeoff...Again

hero Boeing 757 200 (United Airlines) (5669757239)
A wheel from the landing gear of a Boeing-built United Airlines 757-200 coming out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) fell off during take off. The aircraft, crew, and passengers arrived safely at their final destination, but this incident (along with a similar one earlier this year for the airline) brings to light possible reliability and/or maintenance procedure issues within United/Boeing. 

Looks like another Boeing wheel just went boing-boing on the runway. According to a video on YouTube, audio between various pilots at LAX on Monday captured the scary and bizarre moment when one of United Flight 1001's wheels fell off the 757 aircraft while taking off. The first to report the incident was an Allegiant flight, which stated to the control tower, "Allegiant 2388, that B75 that just took off, I believe United, its tire came off and came rolling past us like B7-B8." This was followed by another United flight that said the wheel bounced across its path onto another jetway.

United Flight 1001 decided to continue on its journey and landed safely in Denver carrying 174 passengers and seven crew members. 

Of course, the FAA has launched an investigation into how this failure transpired. This is the second time a wheel has fallen of a United Airlines aircraft this year. Back in March, a Boeing 777-200 carrying 249 passengers taking off from San Francisco heading to Osaka, Japan, also lost a wheel upon take off. The plane was immediately routed to LAX, landing safety there.

Until the investigation is officially complete, some may want to pre-emptively point fingers at Boeing, which has been in the limelight for questionable business and production practices that have led to aircraft parts failure, sometimes catastrophically. For instance, there are the Indonesian Lion Air 737 Max (Flight JT610) and Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max (Flight 302)—both of which crashed a few minutes after takeoff, killing everyone onboard (189 and 157 people respectively).

As recent as January this year, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 re-ignited attention on Boeing and its quality practices when a door plug from the aircraft ejected itself mid-flight. 

However, in the context of these wheel-dropping incidents, the fault may also lie with United Airlines and its ground maintenance (or whoever they contract the maintenance work to). After all, pegging everything on the aircraft manufacturer on wheel failure between a relatively brand new 777-200 and a discontinued (but long-serving) 757-200 seems quite incongruent.

Photo credit: Wikimedia