A Silk Way Airlines Boeing 747-400 Freighter was left stranded on a Hong Kong Airport taxiway; after performing a high-speed rejected take-off, due to an engine failure.

The 15 year old aircraft, registered VP-BCV, was performing flight 7L-748 from Hong Kong to Baku, Azerbaijan, when one of its Pratt and Whitney PW4056 engines failed during take-off. Upon being alerted to the failure, the crew rapidly brought the aircraft to a stop and taxied off runway 25L onto the last available taxiway. As a result of the extreme heat, generated by the sudden braking, the main landing gear wheels deflated, leaving the aircraft stranded in its position.

Emergency services attended the aircraft, where water was applied to the landing gear to prevent a fire from starting. No fatalities or injuries occurred during the incident.

A photo of the rear of the Pratt and Whitney engine shows severe damage to the turbine section.

Silk Way Airlines Boeing 747 Performs Rejected Takeoff Following Engine Failure
Rear turbine section of the Silk Way Boeing 747 Freighter (Source: The Aviation Herald)

The latest to a series of PW4000 failures

The incident adds to a string of engine failures that have plagued the Pratt and Whitney PW4000 series engine over the past few years. It was only in February 2021 that a United Airlines Boeing 777, operating flight UA-328 and also fitted with PW4000 engines, shocked the world with its violent engine failure.

Following UA328, aviation safety regulators around the world ordered emergency inspections of PW4000 engines; these engines can be found on Boeing 777, 747, 767, MD-11 and Airbus A300, A310 and A330 aircraft. The UA-328 incident specifically saw the FAA advise airlines to stop operating PW fitted 777s, until inspections were complete. Japanese authorities followed, with ANA and Japan Airlines grounding all aircraft fitted with the engine series.

Another incident in February 2021 saw a Longtail Boeing 747 Freighter, again fitted with PW4056 engines, spit turbine blades over Meerssen village. Locals reported loud bangs with flames before pieces of metal began falling on the village.

An investigation will likely analyse any connections with the previous incidents involving the PW4000 engines, however this does not mean that other factors, both internal and external, won’t also be investigated. Until the appropriate parties complete their work, the root cause of the failure remains unknown.

Silk Way Airlines has been asked to comment on the incident. More information will be added when available.

Images sourced from The Aviation Herald