an airplane wing with an object on the wing

Southwest Boeing 737 Lost Engine Cowling During Takeoff

On 7th April 2024, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 lost both cowlings from engine no.2 during takeoff from Denver. Parts of the cowling struck the wing flap, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to open an investigation.

The Boeing 737-800 with registration N8668A was operating flight WN3695 from Denver to Houston with 135 passengers and six crew members aboard. However, while it was departing Denver’s runway 25, the access doors of the right-hand engine (CFM56) were torn off the engine, as reported by the Aviation Herald

The flight crew promptly notified Air Traffic Control (ATC) of the situation and elected to return to Denver. The crew said that some engine panels had come off during departure. 

a blue airplane engine with a broken engine
Southwest Flight WN3695. Image: Aviationbrk

Flight WN3695 climbed to an altitude of about 10,300 feet (3,140 m) before returning to Denver. The B737 made a safe landing on runway 34L about 25 minutes after departure without any further incidents. 

“Southwest Flight 3695 returned to Denver International Airport this morning and landed safely after experiencing a mechanical issue.”

Southwest Spokesperson

Footage posted on social media shows the ripped engine cover flapping in the wind with a torn Southwest logo.

Passengers on board the flight reached Houston on a replacement Boeing 737-800 with registration N8523W, with a delay of about 3 hours.

Officials said all passengers were checked out and cleared by the local fire department before boarding the flight to Houston.

FAA Investigation

Following the incident, the FAA has launched an investigation into the incident.

“Southwest Airlines Flight 3695 returned safely to Denver International Airport around 8:15 a.m. local time on Sunday, April 7, after the crew reported the engine cowling fell off during takeoff and struck the wing flap. The Boeing 737-800 was towed to the gate. The aircraft was headed to William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. The FAA will investigate.”

FAA Spokesperson
a man standing next to a broken airplane
Southwest Flight WN3695. Image: Aviationbrk

The FAA is also investigating several other recent Southwest Boeing engine issues, as reported by Reuters.

On 4th April, a Southwest Boeing 737 aborted takeoff and taxied back to the gate at Lubbock Airport, Texas after the crew reported engine issues. 

The FAA is also investigating a March 25 Southwest flight that returned to Austin after the crew reported a possible engine issue.

Moreover, on March 22 a Southwest flight returned to Fort Lauderdale Airport after the crew reported an engine issue. This flight is also being reviewed by the FAA.

Feature Image via Aviationbrk