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Close Call At 28K Ft. Leads To Emergency Landing

Posted at 6:30 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 19:50:25-04

Flight trainers gave NewsChannel 5 exclusive details about what really led a Boeing 717 to make an emergency landing in Nashville. 

The FAA has set up a large white tent on the tarmac right next to the Boeing 717.

The flight from Atlanta to Chicago made an emergency landing a week ago Sunday after the engine cover or cowling came off one of its engines.

NewsChannel 5 learned that the wind speeds at 500 miles per hour tore the now exposed engine computer away at 28,000 feet shutting down that engine.

"They have training for this and have protocol and that's why pilots go through so much training," said Dale Kimbrough with Nashville Flight Training.

He was not investigating the incident, but said these planes are designed to fly with just one engine, and in this case, the airliner landed safely and caused no injuries.

Yet, the FAA was still on scene, and not one, but both engines have been removed from the plane.

The cowling split in half. The upper part hit the tail area of the fuselage leaving this mark. The lower part of the cowling was sucked under the plane and collided with the lone remaining engine -- creating a 3X5 inch gash.

A couple inches deeper and the damage could have shut that last operating engine down. "It's very serious. You're a glider - a very heavy glider," said Kimbrough.

The good news, of course, that did not happen, but federal agents wanted to take a close look at the unique circumstances in hopes of preventing something like this from ever happening again. 

There was no timetable for the report from the FAA. Parts of the cowling that blew off the engine were found in a field at a farm in McMinn county, Tennessee. No one was hit by the debris.