On Thursday, December 10th, a UPS 767 freighter climbing out of Dublin airport experienced an engine failure and had to declare PAN PAN before requesting a return to the origin airport. A “big bang” was heard from the right-hand engine with vibrations also experienced. With the aircraft performing a safe landing back in Dublin, let’s take a closer look at this incident.
“A UPS B767 flying from Dublin to our European air hub in Cologne, Germany experienced a right engine issue. In keeping with UPS safety procedures, the crew declared an emergency, returned to Dublin and landed without incident. The engine has been replaced and the aircraft will be returned to service soon.” -UPS Spokesperson
According to The Aviation Herald, the UPS Boeing 767-300 freighter, registration N391UP, was performing flight 5X-248 from Dublin (Ireland) to Shannon. The aircraft was performing its initial climb out of Dublin’s runway 28L when the crew experienced a loud bang and vibrations from the right-hand CF6 engine, at around 1,300 feet.
This prompted the aircraft to stop its climb at 3,000 feet and declare PAN PAN. For those unfamiliar, a PAN PAN declaration is similar to a MAYDAY call. The main difference between the two is that the former indicates that the situation is not immediately life-threatening.
Although the engine was kept running, N1 issues were also reported. According to Skybrary, The N1 Indicator is a cockpit gauge that presents the rotational speed of the low pressure (low speed) engine spool. N1 is the primary indication of engine thrust on many jet engines.
With clearance to land, the aircraft made a U-turn over Dublin Bay, landing safely back on runway 28L about 17 minutes after departure.
The Aviation Herald also notes that a replacement engine was flown in the following day. However, data from FlightRadar24.com shows that the occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Dublin some four days after the incident took place.
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The interesting history of N391UP
According to Planespotters.net, the Boeing 767-300 registered as N391UP is actually a converted freighter, having once flown passenger service. The nearly 25-year-old aircraft was actually converted quite recently, with Planespotters.net noting that it took place in October 2019.
While registered as N391UP with UPS and previous operator Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM), the aircraft (line number 610 and MSN 28039) has had several registrations over its decades of service.
The aircraft was first delivered to Britannia Airways back in 1996 and was registered as G-OBYA. It would remain under this registration for six years but would have two temporary switches, two D-AGYA, during that period, as it was “leased out” to Britannia’s German subsidiary of the same name (minus the ‘Airways’). From 1996 to 2002, the aircraft would also be leased out to Garuda Indonesia each year for multi-month stretches of time. This took place five separate times.
Following its time at Britannia Airways, the aircraft would fly with Aeris, Blue Panorama Airlines, and North American Airlines. Its next significant stint would be with Air Italy, flying with the carrier from 2009 to 2018. During this period, the aircraft would be leased to Saudi Arabian Airlines three times for one or two months each time.
UPS currently has a fleet of 76 767-300 aircraft for its cargo operations.