This question is inspired by the United Airlines Flight 328 where the No. 2 engine is damaged.

Some multi-engine aircraft are design to withstand the detachment of an engine while some are not. Boeing 747 is designed to operate after an engine detaches from the pylon. In 1993, Japan Airlines 46E successfully landed after the No. 2 engine detached from the aircraft (1) In El Al 1862 and China Airlines 358, the detached engine struck another engine. Those are outside of the design scope. On the other hand, the detachment of an engine on a DC-10 would sever hydraulic lines to the control surface as in the case of American Airlines Flight 191.

Many twin engine aircraft are certified with ETOPS so that in the event that one engine failed, the aircraft can return to an alternate airport within the certified time span. However, the ETOPS scenario listed by FAA only includes engine shutdown but not engine separation. (2)

Are there any twin-engine aircraft that are controllable after an engine separation?


2 Answers 2


Unsure whether it is designed to withstand an engine separation, but Boeing 737 seems to have an engine separation memory items:


And 777 has one as well:


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Really, as long as it didn't damage the wing box structure and take out all the systems, you're probably ahead of the game to have it fall off. Significant drag reduction. Imagine the range improvement! With tail mounted engines, you are probably going to be spot of trouble, and at minimum even if you can control the thing, you will be having to land REALLY fast with the C of G moving that far forward. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Feb 21, 2021 at 18:50

Unfortunately, failures of this sort have occurred more than once in the past. There are all sorts of failure effects mode analysts studies done on aircraft systems. Critical areas and failures such as the one described receive a lot of attention.

Their is also a process where by a sentinel event (an accident) is heavily analyzed to determine the root cause. If a statistical safety analysis shows that the aircraft design does not meet the required levels of safety, mandatory procedures or modifications my be imposed. Or, if an aircraft type cannot be economically modified to meet the required levels of safety, it will be taken out of service.


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