Sparks fly from engine on United Airlines plane bound for Brazil

Flight crew dump aircraft's fuel and return to Newark Airport to investigate problem

United Airlines flight UA149 was advised by the control tower its engine was producing sparks. Photo: Screengrab
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A United Airlines aircraft travelling from Newark Airport in the US to Sao Paolo in Brazil was cancelled after it had sparks flying out of one of its engines on departure.

A passer-by on the ground spotted the flaming specks on Thursday night and filmed the scene.

The plane had 279 people on board when the tower advised the flight crew that the left engine was producing sparks, according to The Aviation Herald.

Cabin crew had also seen the bright flickers through the windows.

Despite all systems appearing normal, the pilots levelled the plane off and entered a holding pattern until they received more information.

After 12 minutes, the crew requested to dump the fuel to reduce the aircraft's weight and return to Newark Airport, to have the problem investigated by engineers.

The flight to Sao Paolo was cancelled due to a report of a mechanical issue.

Initial maintenance inspections suggested an issue related to one of the hydraulic pumps, The Aviation Herald reported after the incident.

Nineteen days before the incident, the same aircraft had a rejected take off in Amsterdam due to smoke on-board.

Updated: September 23, 2022, 8:26 AM