The last thing you want to see when you’re 30,000 or so feet up in the air is something going wrong with the airplane’s engine. So you can imagine how passengers onboard Delta flight DL1425 from Atlanta to Baltimore felt when they saw the engine suffering from an unusual failure. Fortunately, the pilots were able to bring the plane down safely so no incident occurred.

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The flight was operated on a McDonnell Douglas MD-88. Pilots noticed that the left hand Pratt and Whitney JT8D engine had failed when cruising at 33,000 feet. Since they didn’t have a clear view of the engine and felt that it was a standard engine failure, the pilots started to descend and choose the nearby airport of Raleigh/Durham to land.

Among the 154 passengers onboard the airplane, those sitting close to the engine were not only surprised to see what had gone wrong, but also captured video of it which was later posted on Twitter. The video shows the engine’s spinner grinding and tumbling against the inlet guide vanes. These guide vanes are just ahead of the fan assembly and prevented the spinner from actually entering the engine which would have caused a more drastic failure.

Nevertheless, the constant tumbling and grinding of the spinner against the inlet guide vanes would have sent debris into the engine and caused damage to its internal components. The aircraft landed safely at the diversion airport and all passengers were put on a replacement aircraft with Delta apologizing for the inconvenience. An investigation into the matter will now be conducted by Delta and engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney.

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