A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 was operating flight DL1425 when the pilots initiated a diversion due to an unusual engine failure.
The aircraft, registered N906DL, had departed Atlanta and was en route to Baltimore at 33,000ft when the left hand Pratt and Whitney JT8D engine failed.
With no clear view of the engine and what seemed to be a standard engine failure, the pilots began to descend, choosing Raleigh/Durham as the diversion airport due to its proximity.
154 people were on the aircraft; those sitting close to the engine were shocked to see the spinner tumbling and grinding against the inlet guide vanes, as seen here:
Video I took from my seat on my flight from Atlanta to Baltimore yesterday! Thanks @Delta for the silly smooth emergency landing! #perfect #execution To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email email@example.com pic.twitter.com/TUFzREl0Lc— Logan Webb (@Micahlifa) July 9, 2019
The Pratt and Whitney JT8D has inlet guide vanes prior to the fan assembly, which prevented the spinner from entering the engine and causing a dramatically worse failure.
Despite this, the departure of the spinner and the grinding against the metal would have sent small pieces of the material into the engine, causing damage to internal components.
Photos of the engine show details of the interior lining torn up, indicating this or an internal component failure was a contributing factor.
An investigation will be conducted by Delta, Pratt and Whitney and likely the Federal Aviation Administration, to determine the cause of the failure and prevent it from occurring again.
Delta apologized for the inconvenience to customers and transferred them to a replacement aircraft.
Cover photo by Alan Wilson, Flickr