Engine Cowling Detaches on Southwest 737-800 Triggers FAA Probe

A harrowing incident occurred on Sunday, April 7th, when an engine cowling on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 (Reg. N8668A) detached during takeoff in Denver, Colorado. The incident, which luckily resulted in no injuries, has sparked an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


Southwest Flight WN3695, bound for Houston Hobby Airport with 135 passengers and six crew members on board, was taking off from Denver International Airport when the engine cover, also known as a cowling, became dislodged. The loose cowling reportedly struck the wing flap before falling away completely. Despite the concerning situation, the pilots managed to safely return the aircraft to Denver, landing around 8:15 AM local time. Upon landing, the plane was towed to the gate for further inspection.

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The FAA is now scrutinizing the cause of the engine cover detachment. This incident comes on the heels of several other recent engine-related issues reported on Southwest Boeing 737 flights. Just days prior, another Southwest 737 flight in Texas was forced to abort takeoff due to engine problems. The FAA is also reviewing a March incident where a Southwest 737 flying out of Austin returned to the airport after the crew suspected an engine issue.

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While the Boeing 737-800 involved in Sunday's incident belongs to the Next Generation (NG) family, a separate model from the recently troubled 737 MAX, the FAA is undoubtedly keen to ensure airworthiness across the entire Boeing 737 fleet.  The investigation will likely focus on determining how the engine cover became detached and what if any, corrective measures need to be taken to prevent similar occurrences in the future. 

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