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United Airlines Boeing loses wheel shortly after takeoff

July 9, 2024

The Boeing 757-200 lost a landing gear wheel after taking off from Los Angeles. In March another Boeing from the same airline had a tire fall off after takeoff from San Francisco.

United Airlines Boeing 737-900 MAX
There has been a string of incidents involving United Airlines planesImage: Thomas Arnoux/ABACAPRESS.COM/picture alliance

A Boeing aircraft operated by United Airlines lost a main landing gear wheel on Monday after taking off from Los Angeles.

United Airlines said the Boeing 757-200 lost the wheel after leaving Los Angeles International Airport but landed safely at its intended destination in Denver.

"The wheel has been recovered in Los Angeles, and we are investigating what caused this event," the airline told DW in a statement. 

No injuries reported

United said there were no reported injuries on the ground or onboard Flight 1001, which had been carrying 174 passengers and seven crew.

This is the second time this year that a Boeing aircraft operated by United Airlines has lost a wheel after takeoff.

In March a Boeing 777 destined for Japan lost a tire shortly after leaving San Francisco, resulting in the pilot having to make an emergency landing.

The incident comes at a time when the US aviation giant Boeing has experienced a series of safety issues, with its CEO Dave Calhoun stepping down by the end of the year.

Airlines find loose parts in door panels of 737 MAX 9 planes

Boeing safety concerns

The company has been plagued by safety issues involving its 737 Max-9 aircraft. In January, a door plug ripped off an Alaska Airlines 737 Max-9 flight about 16,000 feet above the ground.

The most serious incidents involving Boeing aircraft took place in 2018 and 2019: a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people, and 157 people were killed after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

While multiple factors contributed to both tragedies, both of those crashes were linked to the plane's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

MCAS which is designed to automatically push the plane's nose down if it detects a danger of stalling. 

Boeing has since faced scrutiny from US regulators, and authorities curbed production while the company attempts to fix safety and quality issues.

Aviation giant to plead guilty to criminal fraud

Late on Sunday, Boeing agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge to resolve an investigation linked to the 737 MAX air disasters.

Prosecutors say the aerospace giant deceived regulators who approved aircraft and pilot-training requirements.

The company is to admit it knowingly made false representations to the Federal Aviation Administration about a key software feature for the MAX to operate at low speeds.

The guilty plea, which brands the company a felon and comes with a $243.6 million (€225 million) fine, potentially threatens its ability to win lucrative contracts with the US government.

kb/lo (AFP, AP)