Smoke Forces An E145 Operating For United To Abort Takeoff

**Update: 02/01/19 @ 08:30 UTC –  A CommutAir representative confirmed what happened in the incident, details below.**

An Embraer ERJ-145 that was operating on behalf of United Airlines was forced to abort takeoff due to smoke on the flight deck. This incident happened during a CommutAir operation on December 30th, 2019.

United e145
CommutAir operates a fleet of Embraer E145s on behalf of United Airlines’ Express subsidiary. Photo: SkyHigh757 via Wikimedia Commons

What happened?

The Aviation Herald reports that the airline was working on a regional route on behalf of United. The E145 was trying to head to Newark, New Jersey from Portland, Maine on flight UA-4987. However, as registration N13161 accelerated on the runway, the crew decided not to take off while still at low speed.

Therefore, it vacated Portland’s runway 11 and stopped clear of it. Thereafter, the crew members reported that there was an abundance of smoke on the flight deck. Additionally, there was a lot of de-icing fluid on the same platform. The smoke didn’t last for a long time but it was thick enough to cause a disruption. Therefore, the crew had to make sure everything was clear before officially taking off.

CommutAir / United Express E145
Passengers would have been annoyed to end the year with a delay as long as this. Photo: Adam Moreira via Wikimedia Commons

A passenger on the flight shared that the captain made an announcement to everyone onboard. He said that that there were fumes and smoke in the cockpit, which they believed occurred due to an increased amount of de-icing fluid in the plane’s engines.

Long wait

This incident caused the plane to remain grounded for 16 hours. However, passengers had even more reason to be frustrated as the flight was already delayed by 6 hours before this incident happened.

After the aircraft was finally cleared for takeoff, it departed once again for Newark. The flight reached its intended destination after a total of 22 hours of delay.

United Express E145
CommutAir mostly operates United Express operations to destinations across the east side of the United States. Photo: ERIC SALARD via Flickr

More on CommutAir

CommutAir operates several of United’s regional United Express operations. Altogether, it holds 37 Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft within its fleet, according to PlaneSpotters.

The oldest of these is registration N16147, which arrived in November 2015. Jet N13161, which this week’s incident happened on arrived with the airline in June 2017. This unit is nearly 16-years old and used to be operated by United’s other regional partner, ExpressJet Airlines.

Another United flight had to abort takeoff in November. The plane was also evacuated because it reportedly had hit a bird while accelerating.

Ultimately, it is always better to handle any unexpected situation while still on the ground. It could get much more complicated or even dangerous if the issue is still unclear after taking off.

A representative from CommutAir has now confirmed with Simple Flying that the aircraft returned to the gate following a mechanical issue. The flight departed the following morning, and the airline apologized to its customers for the delay.

What do you think about the cause of this delay in Portland? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.