A Kalitta Air Boeing 747-400 made an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom earlier this month after pilots shut down one of the plane’s four engines midway over the Atlantic. The jumbo jet was around 630 miles (1019 kilometers) southwest of Iceland when the incident occurred.
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Mid Atlantic 747-400 engine shutdown and diversion
A report by Simon Hradecky in The Aviation Herald details the June 11 incident. According to the report, one of Kalitta’s Boeing 747-400 was flying between Los Angeles (LAX) to Brussels (BRU) that day. The aircraft operating the service was N401KZ and the flight number was K4335.
The flight left Los Angeles at 17:20 local time on Thursday, June 10. After flying a conventional flight path over continental North America, the Boeing 747-400 was over the North Atlantic when the crew received EICAS messages “ENG OIL FILT 2” and “ENG OIL TEMP” messages for engine number two.
N401KZ was almost six hours into the flight and off the southern tip of Greenland when flight-tracking sites show a concurrent gradual drop in altitude from 37,000 feet to 33,000 feet and a pickup in flying speed from 500 knots to 550 knots.
According to The Aviation Herald, having received the EICAS messages, the pilots worked through the related checklists, elected to shut down engine number two, declare an emergency and divert to East Midlands Airport (EMA).
The second recorded incident for Kalitta’s N401KZ
EMA was still two and a half hours flying time away. The Boeing 747 landed safely at 10:48 local time on Friday, June 11. The choice of East Midlands Airport is an interesting one, given there were closer airports capable of handling a 747-400 when the decision to divert was made. However, the airport in northwestern Leicestershire is regularly served by Kalitta’s flights and the decision may have been based on the ready availability of maintenance services.
Ypsilanti-based Kalitta Air operates a fleet of 40 cargo aircraft, including 24 Boeing 747-400s. The airline says its fleet can fly virtually any type of freight. Kalitta Air operates scheduled or on-demand charter services for customers in the United States and around the world.
N401KZ is 16 years old, having arrived at Kalitta in 2016 after flying for Nippon Cargo Airlines. The engine shut down incident earlier this month is the plane’s second recorded incident. In October 2019, N401KZ experienced a gear problem on departure from Cincinnati (CVG), requiring the jumbo jet to return to the airport.
A post-flight inspection of the shutdown engine revealed undisclosed internal damage. The Boeing 747-400 spent over a day on the ground at EMA. The plane then flew back to Kalitta’s key maintenance base in Oscoda, Michigan. That flight departed June 12 and operated via Columbus, Ohio (LCK) before arriving at Oscoda (OSC) later on the same day.
After the engine was replaced in Oscoda, N401KZ resumed flying on June 20. The jumbo headed across to Ramstein (RMS) earlier this week but is now back at New York’s JFK Airport, having touched mid-evening on Tuesday.