United Airlines Boeing 777 Returns To Frankfurt After A French Airspace Emergency
The United Airlines Boeing 777 returns to Frankfurt after a French airspace emergency. The United Airlines flight originating from Frankfurt, Germany, and destined for Houston, Texas, was regrettably canceled on Saturday as a result of its return to Frankfurt owing to a presumed mechanical problem encountered during the flight.
The trip was conducted using a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, which experienced a change of direction slightly beyond one hour after departure. The aircraft successfully completed its return to Frankfurt, with the duration of the incident spanning just less than three hours.
The occurrence contributes to two further instances of emergency on long-haul planes that United has encountered over the last three days.
Based on Saturday reports, N795UA flew as UA47 from Los Angeles to Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
Departure from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) was originally planned for 13:55, however, the plane didn't leave the gate until 15:13, causing a delay of 1:18. The reasons behind its delayed departure remain mysterious.
After taking off from FRA's runway 18, N795UA headed south for a few minutes before making a westward turn at about 15:22. After flying north of Luxembourg at an altitude of 25,000 to 30,000 feet, the plane veered slightly southwest and flew over the countryside to the north of Reims and Paris.
After climbing to 31,000 feet, the wide-body jet continued its westward journey. When the plane got out to sea, south of the English Channel, it entered a holding pattern over the Channel Islands.
As the plane banked north over Jersey and then back west over Guernsey, flight logs suggest the crew may have tried to diagnose or resolve the problem. This time the jet traveled further west, but after about an hour and 30 minutes it turned around and headed directly back toward France.
After leaving the holding pattern, N795UA continued flying east over land at an altitude of 31,000 feet. At 16:11 local time, Aviation Source Newsreported that it was still unknown which airfield the aircraft crew intended to divert to.
About 15 minutes later, the plane was spotted flying to the northwest of Paris, perhaps on its way back to FRA. According to reports, the problem on board had nothing to do with pressurization or any other difficulties that would have necessitated a significant descent in altitude, since the plane continued to fly at an altitude of 31,000 feet.
The airliner began its descent into Frankfurt at 16:51. According to Aviation Source News, planes were landing and taking off to the west since the 25s were the active runways at FRA at the time.
However, reports indicate that UA47 was given permission to use whatever runway the crews deemed necessary. The plane had flown north of FRA before reversing course to the west to align with the runway for landing.
Landing on runway 25C went well at 17:13 UTC. It landed back at gate Z16, from whence it originally took off. United Airlines verified to Aviation Source News at 18:22 that the plane had to make an emergency landing back at FRA. Unfortunately, the flight did not make it to IAH that day.
How United handled the stranded customers is unknown. A representative from the airline was contacted by Simple Flying, however, they did not respond right away.
N795UA is a Pratt & Whitney PW4090-powered 777-200ER that has been in service for 25 years. The plane is still at FRA until Sunday when it will fly UA47 back to IAH. The flight is expected to depart more than two hours late, according to flight data, which suggests that the technical issue has not yet been fixed.
United has had three incidents with long-haul planes in the past three days. Another 777-200ER en route between Newark and Rome had to make an emergency landing on September 13 due to a probable pressurization issue. On the same day, a medical issue forced a United 767-300ER flying from Berlin to Newark to make an emergency landing in Dublin.