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United Airlines Boeing 777 rained down debris over a square mile of Denver after its engine EXPLODED before 'textbook' emergency landing - as police say they are 'staggered' no one was injured

By Ariel Zilber For Dailymail.comAssociated Press,


Debris from a Boeing 777 rained down on suburban Denver Saturday after an engine exploded at 15,000ft and terrified passengers watched a fire rage below the aircraft's wing.

The United Airlines flight bound for Hawaii was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after taking off from Denver after suffering major damage to one of its engines.

The pilot can be heard in a mayday call asking air traffic control for permission to immediately turn the aircraft around, before he made a safe 'textbook' landing.

Video recorded by passengers aboard Flight UA328, which was carrying 231 travelers and 10 crew members, shows the engine on fire.

Passengers have described feeling the heat from the fire and many believed they were just moments dying. Miraculously, there were no reported injuries either on board or on the ground.
Video recorded by passengers aboard Flight UA328, which was carrying 231 travelers and 10 crew members, shows the engine on fire
A United Airlines flight has made an emergency landing after dropping several pieces of debris in Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
Flames could be seen coming from the engine of the plane after it exploded at 15,000ft. Miraculously, nobody was injured
Pictures taken from ground showed the jet's engine on fire and trailing smoke

One homeowner in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado told KMGH-TV they were making a sandwich in their kitchen when debris crashed through their roof and landed just two feet away.

The Boeing 777-200, which was scheduled to fly to Honolulu in Hawaii, diverted back to Denver and landed safely at 1.30pm local time, about 30 minutes after takeoff.

The 26-year-old 777 was powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. Investigators will focus on what caused the engine on the plane to fail and will look at whether a fan blade failed.

Boeing declined to comment and referred questions to United.

'Flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu experienced an engine failure shortly after departure, returned safely to Denver and was met by emergency crews as a precaution,' United spokesperson David Gonzalez said in a statement. 'There are no reported injuries on board, and we will share more information as it becomes available.'

All passengers were to be rebooked on a new flight to Hawaii, the airline said.
Cops in Broomfield responded to reports of objects falling from the sky on Saturday afternoon and saw huge metal objects in front lawns
In this aerial view from a drone, people walk past a home with a hole in the roof from falling debris from an airplane engine in Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
This image provided by KCNC-TV in Denver shows the damage done when debris fell through the roof and into the kitchen of a home in Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday. Fortunately, nobody was injured

'The FAA is aware of reports of debris in the vicinity of the airplane’s flight path. Please contact local officials and the airline for further information about the passengers,' the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

The Broomfield Police Department posted photos on Twitter showing large, circular pieces of debris leaning against a house in the suburb about 25 miles north of Denver.

Police are asking that anyone injured come forward. One officer said it was a miracle nobody on the ground was hurt.

Huge pieces of the plane's engine cowling could be seen littering the lawns of houses.

Additional debris was found scattered across turf field at Commons Park as well as the Northmoor and Red Leaf sections of Broomfield.

'The plane started shaking violently, and we lost altitude and we started going down,' said David Delucia of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Delucia was sitting directly across the aisle from the side with the failed engine.

He said: 'When it initially happened, I thought we were done. I thought we were going down.'
This Nest doorbell cam footage shows debris falling from the sky in suburban Denver

Delucia and his wife retrieved their wallets containing their driver's licenses and put them in their pockets so that 'in case we did go down, we could be ID'd,' said Delucia, who was still shaken up as he waited to board another flight for Honolulu.

'I can honestly say I thought we were going to die at one point because we started dropping altitude right after the explosion,' Delucia told The Denver Post.

'I grabbed my wife's hand and said, "We’re done".'

Delucia said another passenger took the viral video posted on Twitter by his stepdaughter. The clip showed the engine engulfed by bright-orange flames.

It took about 30 minutes after the explosion to get the aircraft back to Denver International. Delucia said he experienced 'the worst turbulence you can imagine' during those harrowing moments.

'What a crazy... experience,' Delucia told the Post after landing. 'It was nuts — absolutely nuts.'
Pieces of the aircraft landed on a football field as seen in the above image posted to Twitter by a local resident in Broomfield
Police in Broomfield released this photo showing debris from the United Airlines aircraft strewn across a football field
Pieces of debris are seen above on a local football field in Broomfield, Colorado - a suburb located 25 miles north of Denver
A piece of the aircraft is seen above near a residence in the Denver suburb of Broomfield on Saturday afternoon
More debris is seen above on a turf football field at Commons Park in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
Another piece of debris from the Boeing 777 that suffered engine failure over Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday is seen above at Commons Park
The aerial image above shows a piece of an airplane that fell from United Flight 328 sitting in the median of Sheridan Boulevard in Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
The same piece of debris is seen above from another angle in this photo taken by a drone in Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday

Another passenger, Travis Loock, told CNN that he heard a boom about 20 minutes into the flight.

‘There was a big boom and the kind of sound you don't want to hear when you're on the airplane,’ said Loock, who was flying with his wife.

‘And I instantly put my shade up, and I was pretty frightened to see... the engine on my side was missing.’

‘We were just glad we weren't over the ocean, because that's where we were heading,’ he said.

Loock told CNN that while fear was palpable on board, everyone was ‘very calm’ when the explosion took place.

‘A lot of people couldn't see the engine on that side, right, so I was a little more freaked out because I could see it, and I knew that was not right,’ he said.

When the pilot made an emergency landing, the passengers burst into applause and cheers.


Since the American-made Boeing 777 wide-body jet airliner made its maiden flight in June 1994, it has been involved in 29 aviation incidents and accidents that have claimed the lives of 541 people.

Of these, three were hijackings while eight involved hull losses - or ‘total loss’ of the aircraft.

Five of the hull losses were in-flight while three were on-ground incidents.

British Airways Flight 38 - January 17, 2008
Crash investigators inspect wreckage and debris from grounded British Airways Flight 38 at Heathrow Airport on January 18, 2008

A British Airways plane crash-landed at Heathrow Airport, slightly injuring 47 passengers and triggering an inquiry into why the Boeing 777 flying in from Beijing landed short of the runway.

Fire engines smothered the aircraft in foam after the landing at the world’s busiest international airport extensively damaged its wings and ripped off its undercarriage.

Aviation commentators said the fact that the plane only just cleared the perimeter fence, hit the ground well short of the runway and then slid to a halt pointed to a massive loss of power in the final stages of landing.

The wheels of the plane, which had a routine maintenance check just a month prior, were still in the field where it crashed, several hundred yards from the runway.

There were no fatalities.

EgyptAir Flight 667 - July 29, 2011
The image above shows damage on the nose section of EgyptAir Flight 667 in Cairo after a fire tore through the cockpit before it was set to depart for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in July 2011

An EgyptAir Boeing 777-200 was evacuated at Cairo International Airport after a fire started in the cockpit while preparing to depart.

All 307 passengers survived but the fire, thought to have been started by an electrical fault, damaged the plane beyond repair.

Seven people were treated for smoke inhalation. The flight was destined to land in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 - July 6, 2013
The wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 lies on the ground after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco in this July 6, 2013 aerial photo

Two teenage girls were killed and more than 180 people were injured when a flight operated by South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines crashed while landing at San Francisco airport.

Two passengers who were not wearing seatbelts were ejected from the aircraft during the crash and were killed.

The Boeing 777, which was carrying 291 passengers and 16 crew, was flown from Seoul to San Francisco.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board faulted the pilots and crew for relying too much on automated systems and for incorrectly flying the plane during landing.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 - March 8, 2014

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 became one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries when it vanished on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

The Boeing 777-200ER went missing with 239 people on board. Malaysia, China, and Australia called off a two-year $130million underwater search in the southern Indian Ocean in January 2017 after finding no trace of the aircraft.

A second three-month search, led by Ocean Infinity, ended similarly in May the following year.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 - July 17, 2014
Recovery workers in rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine load debris from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in November 2014 - four months after the plane was shot down 

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014 when it was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Moscow rebels amid fighting in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 aboard. Russia has denied any involvement.

A Dutch-led international Joint Investigation (JIT) team spent years collecting evidence before issuing arrest warrants in 2019 for the four suspects: Russians Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko.

A hearing on the merits of the trial is scheduled to start this month.

British Airways Flight 2276 - September 8, 2015
The image above from September 2015 shows a British Airways Boeing 777 airliner burst into flames on the runway at Las Vegas McCarran Airport

A British Airways jetliner engine caught fire in Las Vegas as the plane was about to take off for London, forcing all 172 passengers and crew to escape down emergency slides as smoke and flames engulfed the aircraft.

Several passengers needed hospital treatment for minor injuries after the Boeing 777's aborted takeoff, with one of those present saying smoke caused people to rush to the front of the plane, sparking scenes of panic.

Singapore Airlines Flight 368 - June 26, 2016

A Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) flight to Milan caught fire after returning to Singapore’s Changi airport following an engine oil warning message, but all passengers were safe.

The aircraft’s right engine caught fire after the aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER, touched down at Changi airport at around 6:50am on June 26, 2016. Emergency services put out the fire and there were no injuries to the 222 passengers and 19 crew on board.

The SIA flight, SQ368, departed at 2:05am, but about two hours into the flight the pilot announced there was an engine problem and the flight would return to Singapore.

Emirates Flight 521 - August 3, 2016
The image above shows Emirates Flight 521 after it crashed while attempting to abort a landing in Dubai after flying in from India in August 2016

An Emirates passenger jet crashed while attempting to abort a landing in Dubai

All 300 passengers and crew were safely evacuated but a firefighter died tackling flames after the Boeing 777-300, arriving from India, caught fire after skidding along the Dubai airport runway on its fuselage.

It was the first major accident in Emirates’ more-than-30-year history.

All 300 passengers and crew safely evacuated the jet but a firefighter died tackling flames after the Boeing 777-300, arriving from India, caught fire after skidding along the Dubai airport runway on its fuselage.

Investigators said the pilot failed to notice that the Boeing 777's engine thrust settings remained too low and cut short a procedure.

Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane on the ground in Shanghai - July 22, 2020
Terrifying footage has captured the moment a Boeing 777 engulfed by a huge blaze and smoke at an airport in China. The Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane caught fire at around 4pm on July 22, 2020

A Boeing 777 plane burst into flames today in front of shocked passengers while being parked in one of the busiest airports in China.

The cargo plane belonging to Ethiopian Airlines caught fire at around 4pm local time on the tarmac of Shanghai Pudong International Airport, according to authorities.

The fire was put off about an hour later, said the local authorities. No injuries or deaths were reported.

Shocking footage shows smoke and flames engulfing the Boeing 777 while several emergency vehicles were rushing towards the burning aircraft.

Kirby Klements was inside his home in Broomfield, Colorado with his wife when they heard a huge booming sound, he said.

A few seconds later, the couple saw a massive piece of debris hurtle past their window and into the bed of Klements' truck, crushing the cab and pushing the vehicle into the dirt.

He estimated the circular engine cowling at 15 feet in diameter.

Fine pieces of the fiberglass insulation used in the airplane engine fell from the sky 'like ash' for about 10 minutes, he said, and several large chunks of insulation landed in his backyard.

'If it had been 10 feet different, it would have landed right on top of the house,' he said in a phone interview with the AP.

'And if anyone had been in the truck, they would have been dead.'

One local resident, Kieran Cain, told CNN he was with his children at a nearby elementary school when the aircraft flew over. Seconds later, they heard a loud explosion.

'We saw it go over, we heard the big explosion, we looked up, there was black smoke in the sky,' Cain told CNN.

'Debris started raining down, which you know, sort of looked like it was floating down and not very heavy, but actually now looking at it, It's giant metal pieces all over the place.

'I was surprised that the plane sort of continued on uninterrupted, without really altering its trajectory or doing anything,' he said.

'It just kind of kept going the way it was going as if nothing happened.'
Police tape blocks a street where debris fallen from a United Airlines airplane's engine lay scattered through the neighborhood of Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
A North Metro firefighter walks past airplane debris on Elmwood St. near E. 13th Avenue in Broomfield on Saturday
Authorities said debris from the Boeing 777 was scattered over a square mile in suburban Denver on Saturday
Another piece of airplane debris is seen above in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
Investigators said it was a miracle that nobody on the ground was injured by the falling debris on Saturday
Neighbors head back to their homes after looking over debris that fell off a plane that shed parts over a neighborhood in Broomfield
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator confers with a Broomfield, Colorado Police Department officer on the street in front of a home peppered by parts from a plane as it was making an emergency landing at nearby Denver International Airport on Saturday
The image above shows a man walking past airplane parts scattered on a soccer field at Commons Park in Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
Kirby Klements talks about a piece of debris that crushed his pickup truck parked next to his home in Broomfield

Cain told CNN he and his kids took shelter under an overhang as the debris came down.

'I'm honestly shocked looking at this debris field and how busy Commons Park is,' Rachel Welte of the Broomfield Police Department told KMGH-TV.

'This is a very popular spot in Broomfield. We have the dog park, we have the turf field, there’s playgrounds.

'This park on a day like today when it’s not as cold like it was last weekend, we could have hundreds of people here.

'And the fact that we are still not getting reports of any injuries is absolutely shocking to me at this point.'

Pictures taken from the ground show the jet's engine on fire and trailing smoke.

One man who said he was a passenger on the flight tweeted: 'I’m on #UA328, pilots did an amazing job because it was loud, shaking, and scary as hell back here. Fire crews have us out on the tarmac.'

Audio of the pilot’s distress mayday call to air traffic control was released on Saturday.

‘Three twenty eight, heavy, experienced engine failure. We need to turn,’ the pilot is heard telling the air traffic control operator back in Denver.

‘Mayday, mayday, United 328...Heavy...Mayday mayday...Aircraft just experienced engine failure, need to turn immediately,’ the pilot says.

The air traffic controller then guided the pilot on where to turn in order to land the plane back safely.
Pieces of an airplane engine are seen above in a residential neighborhood of the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
Neighbors gather on the lawn next to the home of Kirby Klements after a piece of debris crushed the man's pickup truck parked next to his home in Broomfield
A local resident of Broomfield walks her dog next to a piece of airplane debris on Saturday afternoon
A local resident of the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado rides his bicycle past a piece of airplane debris on Saturday
A piece of debris from a commercial airplane is surrounded by police tape on a strip along Midway Boulevard in Broomfield on Saturday
A piece of debris from the United Airlines plane is seen above on a lawn in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
Authorities put up yellow tape around a piece of debris that landed in a residential neighborhood of the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
Additional debris was found scattered across turf field at Commons Park
The image above shows smoke emanating from the damaged engine on the left
Flight Aware tracking of Flight UA328 shows the plane circle back to land at Denver airport

In recent years, several United Airlines flights needed to be diverted due to mishaps and maintenance malfunctions

United Airlines, the third largest airline in the world, employs some 86,800 employees who man and operate 721 aircraft.

The Chicago-headquartered company, which was founded in 1926, began operations five years later. It was created by aviation pioneer William Boeing, who also founded The Boeing Company.

In its long history, the airline has experienced its share of incidents, accidents, and disasters.

United Airlines Flight 1028 - January 21, 2008

Ten people, including eight passengers and two flight attendants, were injured when United Airlines Flight 1028 from Los Angeles to Chicago encountered turbulence over Nevada.

The aircraft was carrying 180 passengers and seven crew members from LA to O'Hare when it was diverted to Denver at 2:55am after encountering turbulence over Nevada.

The injured were taken to a Denver area hospital for treatment. The plane, a Boeing 757, was examined at Denver and then continued on to Chicago.

United Airlines Flight 1614 - October 6, 2015

A United Airlines flight from Houston to San Francisco had to be diverted to Albuquerque after the co-pilot passed out.

Flight 1614 was diverted to Albuquerque International Sunport in New Mexico, where it landed safely at 8.20am.

Albuquerque airport spokesman Dan Jiron says air-traffic controllers got word shortly after 8am that the plane would be landing after the first officer, who is second in command, had a medical episode.

Jiron says the co-pilot regained consciousness and was able to walk off the plane to be transported to a hospital.

But he had no details about the co-pilot's condition or what may have caused the episode.

United Airlines Flight 1035 - December 23, 2016

A United Airlines flight from Houston to Ecuador returned to the Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport amid reports of a passenger stowed in the cargo area of the plane.

The airline said the crew members on United Flight 1035 heard strange noises in the cargo hold after takeoff, KHOU reported.

Some passengers on board also said they thought there might be someone inside the cargo hold.

But United described the noises as a maintenance issue. Airline officials said a search in the cargo area revealed nothing unusual.

The flight to Ecuador departed from Houston later that day.

United Airlines Flight 1175 - February 13, 2018

A United Airlines flight en route from San Francisco to Honolulu had a difficult landing process when bits of its engine began falling off.

United flight 1175 was approximately 36 minutes from landing on the Hawaiian island when parts of its engine began falling off.

'That looks bad, plane and simple,' tweeted Google UX Engineer, Erik Haddad, who shared photos and videos from abroad the plane.

'I don't see anything about this in the manual,' he added, jokingly showing an open safety manual and pictures of the engine.

The plane landed safely in Honolulu and Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting immediately rushed to the scene.

Video show scraps of metal and other pieces of the engine flapping in the wind.

Video from inside the plane show people crossing their arms on the seat in front of them and bracing for the landing.

In a statement, United Airlines detailed that the covering of the engine was the piece that fell off.

'United flight 1175 traveling to Honolulu from San Francisco landed safely after the pilots called for an emergency landing because of a loss of the engine cowling (the covering of the engine),' the airline said in a statement to

'Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft. The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally.'
This photo provided by passenger Haley Ebert shows damage to an engine on what the FAA says is a Boeing 777 after parts came off the jetliner during its flight from San Francisco to Honolulu on February 13, 2018

United Airlines Flight 1168 - March 10, 2019

Federal authorities said a United Airlines flight declared an emergency when an engine shut down as the plane descended into Houston.

Flight 1168 was carrying 174 passengers and six crew members late Sunday when the engine trouble began near George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The Boeing 737-900 was traveling from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

One passenger told Houston media outlets that he heard a loud bang, felt a strong vibration and saw a flash of light.

Another passenger says he saw flames coming from the engine, but a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman says emergency responders found no evidence of fire or smoke.

United Airlines Flight 366 - December 16, 2019
The above map shows the route taken by the diverted flight, which took off from San Diego and made an emergency landing in Albuquerque

A plane bound from San Diego to Chicago had to make an emergency landing in Albuquerque Monday after an engine appeared to shoot out sparks and flames.

United Airlines flight 366 touched down safely at Albuquerque International Sunport just after 1:30am, the airline said in a statement.

United said there was a 'mechanical issue' with one of the engines. But a man purporting to be a passenger shared video on Twitter of flames coming out of the right engine.

It has since been circulated by news outlets.

None of the flight's 152 passengers and six crew members were injured. The airline then booked passengers onto a different plane heading to Chicago.

Chris Vanderveen said the passengers on board the plane cheered when they touched back down after experiencing 'engine issues'.

Police are working to locate all the debris, and urged people not to move any wreckage they found, pending the arrival of officials from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Tyler Thal, who lives in the area, told The Associated Press that he was out for a walk with his family when he noticed a large commercial plane flying unusually low and took out his phone to film it.

'While I was looking at it, I saw an explosion and then the cloud of smoke and some debris falling from it. It was just like a speck in the sky and as I’m watching that, I’m telling my family what I just saw and then we heard the explosion,' he said in a phone interview.

'The plane just kind of continued on and we didn't see it after that.'

Thal was relieved to learn later that the plane had made a safe landing.

Video posted on Twitter by a woman who said she was the daughter of people aboard the flight showed the engine fully engulfed in flames as the plane flew through the air.
Tyler Thal, who lives in the area, told The Associated Press that he was out for a walk with his family when he noticed a large commercial plane flying unusually low and took out his phone to film it
Another local resident captured this image showing pieces of debris come off the plane and fall toward the ground in Broomfield in Saturday

Two passengers who were on board the plane, Sonny and Kelly Glidden, told KDVR-TV that they could see the engine explode and even felt the heat from inside the cabin.

The couple was seated three rows back from the right wing, according to reporter Courtney Fromm.

Kelly told KDVR-TV that in the immediately aftermath of the explosion, she and her husband looked at each other, held hands and said their prayers.

Kelly said the passengers and crew on board remained calm throughout the ordeal.

The couple praised the pilot for his handling of the emergency.

As soon as the landed, Kelly said she texted family and friends, writing: 'WE ARE SAFE.'

The couple isn't giving up on their plans to go to Hawaii. Despite obvious nerves, Kelly said she and her husband will board another flight out of Denver to Honolulu.

This will be their first trip to Hawaii and they plan on making the most out of it, she said.

Aviation safety experts said the plane appeared to have suffered an uncontained and catastrophic engine failure.

Such an event is extremely rare and happens when huge spinning discs inside the engine suffer some sort of failure and breach the armored casing around the engine that is designed to contain the damage, said John Cox, an aviation safety expert and retired airline pilot who runs an aviation safety consulting firm called Safety Operating Systems.

'That unbalanced disk has a lot of force in it, and it´s spinning at several thousand rotations per minute ... and when you have that much centrifugal force, it has to go somewhere,' he said in a phone interview.

Pilots practice how to deal with such an event frequently and would have immediately shut off anything flammable in the engine, including fuel and hydraulic fluid, using a single switch, Cox said.

Former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall called the incident another example of 'cracks in our culture in aviation safety (that) need to be addressed.'

Hall, who was on the board from 1994 to 2001, has criticized the FAA over the past decade as 'drifting toward letting the manufacturers provide the aviation oversight that the public was paying for.'

That goes especially for Boeing, he said.

Despite the scary appearance of a flaming engine, most such incidents don't result in loss of life, Cox said.

In February 2018, an older Boeing 777 operated by United and bound for Honolulu suffered an engine failure when a cowling fell off about 30 minutes before the plane landed safely.

The last fatality on a US airline flight involved such an engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas in April 2018.

A passenger was killed when the engine disintegrated more than 30,000 feet above Pennsylvania and debris struck the plane, breaking the window next to her seat.

She was forced halfway out the window before other passengers pulled her back inside.

In that case, the breakdown was blamed on a broken fan blade in an engine of the Boeing 737.

The FAA ordered airlines to step up inspections of fan blades on certain engines made by CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric and France's Safran S.A.

In 2010, a Qantas Airbus A380 suffered a frightening uncontained engine failure shortly after takeoff from Singapore.

Shrapnel from the engine damaged critical systems on the plane, but pilots were able to land safely. The incident was blamed on the faulty manufacturing of a pipe in the Rolls Royce engine.

'The flames scare the hell out of everybody. But they are the least of the problem because you're going to get them put out and you're going to shut off everything that can burn,' Cox said.


The 747 was designed to provide seating for growing numbers of passengers and heralded the beginning of the age air travel for the masses.

Now its replacement, the Boeing 777, has been designed to tackle the problems of its own age - primarily fuel efficiency.

Improvements in jet technology mean it can carry around the same number of passengers as the 747 but only uses two engines to do so, drastically reducing the amount of fuel consumed.
A United Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft pictured in 2017. The plane has only two engines, compared to the 747's four, making it more efficient and therefore less costly to run

That means the airline has to buy less fuel and pay less in carbon taxes - savings which can be passed on to customers, allowing carriers to remain competitive in the age of budget airline travel.

It also has a longer range than the 747, opening up the possibility of more direct routes. This was one of the hidden benefits of the original aircraft, and a reason it gained such popularity.

Entering service in 1995, it is the most successful jumbo jet ever made with almost 2,000 orders placed as of September 2017. By comparison, the 747 only passed the 1,000 order mark in 1993 and will likely never reach 2,000.

The biggest buyer of 777 aircraft has been Emirates which owns 161 of the planes operating on passenger and freight routes, which would have been unthinkable for a Middle Eastern carrier back in the Seventies.

However, it was United that was the first to fly the jet on its London to Dulles International Airport route, with the flight taking off on June 7, 1995.
The 777 is able to carry the same number of passengers despite having two less engines. Pictured above is the standard seat configuration for a United 777 aircraft

By the numbers: Boeing 747 and 777

Boeing 747

First produced: 1968

First flight: 1970

Length: 70m (231ft)

Wingspan: 64m (211 ft)

Capacity (typical): Up to 396 passengers

Range: 7,260 nautical miles

Number ordered (as of September 2017): 1,553

Unit cost (most popular variant): $268million

Accidents (where aircraft was scrapped): 60

Deaths due to accidents: 3,722

Boeing 777

First produced: 1993

First flight: 1995

Length: 74m (242ft)

Wingspan: 65m (213ft)

Capacity (typical) Up to 396 passengers

Range: 7,820 nautical miles

Number ordered (as of September 2017): 1,945

Unit cost (most popular variant): $320million

Accidents (where aircraft was scrapped): 6

Deaths due to accidents: 541

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