Photo of the fuel being dumped mid-flight from United flight 139. Photo by Chris Seewald.
A United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner (Flight 139) from Denver to Narita, Tokyo made an emergency landing today at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) at about 4:15pm PST. The aircraft was met by fire crew, was inspected and allowed to park at the A-concourse. Fire crews determined the aircraft was safe and mechanics are in the process of repairing the aircraft after there was a reported issue with the oil filter.
“United flight 139 from Denver to Tokyo-Narita diverted to Seattle due to an indication of a problem with an oil filter,” stated an airline spokesperson via email. “The aircraft landed normally and without incident and we are working to reaccommodate customers.”
A photo taken from one of the passengers on the flight, Chris Seewald, was able to capture the Dreamliner dumping fuel before landing, which is standard procedure. Multiple reports from the ground show that United will be bringing in a replacement aircraft tonight and passengers will continue their flight to Japan tomorrow morning.
Although this is a minor issue and airline diversions are made all the time, unfortunately, the world is currently watching the 787 Dreamliner closely. It seems that this incident shows more of the power of social media and sharing experiences almost in a live fashion than it does about safety/mechanical concerns of the 787 Dreamliner.
The United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner (N26906) involved in the emergency landing taken in November 2012. Photo by Andrew W. Sieber / Flickr CC.
At 2:15pm on Tuesday 12th March, Boeing 747 Dreamlifter N718BA (operated by Atlas Air) took off from Paine Field heading towards Nagoya, Japan for a scheduled pick up of structures and assemblies for the 787 program. Shortly after departure during the climb out process, the Dreamlifter declared an emergency.
N718BA lands at Paine Field in Everett (not on the day in question) – Photo Mal Muir.
Doug Alder with Boeing communications told AirlineReporter.com, “Shortly after leaving Everett on a routine flight to Nagoya, Japan, the crew of a Boeing Dreamlifter received an indication of a potential problem with the hydraulic system. The crew made a decision to return to Paine Field in Everett. Following standard procedures, the crew dumped fuel to reach maximum landing weight.”
As you can see from the Flightaware logs there was a number of circuits done over the Puget Sound area while the aircraft was dumping fuel and then once at the safe landing weight, the Dreamlifter returned to Everett.
At Paine Field the Dreamlifter made a low pass so that Boeing & Paine Field staff could verify the landing gear had been properly deployed. Once verified the Dreamlifter went back around again and landed safely. After landing the aircraft started undergoing a safety inspection by Boeing.
The video above of the low pass and landing was taken from the Stratodeck by the Future of Flight. You can also check out KING5 News with additional photos and video of the incident.
The Dreamlifter landed safely on the ground, no one hurt or injured. Boeing confirmed that this is not the first time the Dreamlifter had to land prematurely. There have been other events like bird strikes or a cracked windscreen, which are seen in standard flight operations.
This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos