Sw Flight 4598

Summary: Southwest flight 459 was a flight that took off from Chicago Midway International Airport on April 17, 2018, heading towards Newark Liberty International Airport. The flight encountered an engine failure, which caused debris to break off and hit the aircraft’s wing, damaging it. The pilot managed to safely land the plane at Philadelphia International Airport, and all 143 passengers and 5 crew members survived the incident.

1. What Happened in Southwest Flight 459?

Southwest flight 459 was a routine flight from Chicago to Newark. However, about 20 minutes into the flight, passengers heard a loud explosion, which caused the plane to shake violently. One of the engines had exploded, sending shrapnel flying through the air.

This resulted in a window to be broken and passengers struggling to hold onto their seat belts. Oxygen masks were deployed, and passengers began to brace themselves for the worst. Luckily, the pilot was able to bring the plane under control, and make an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport.

The passengers would later recount the events of the flight as the scariest moments of their lives. Several were injured, and one passenger, Jennifer Riordan did not survive the incident.

2. Investigation into the Incident

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a thorough investigation into the incident with Southwest flight 459. They found that the cause of the incident was a cracked fan blade that had been installed in the engine of the aircraft.

Additionally, the NTSB found that the Southwest maintenance program had failed to detect the crack, despite numerous inspections of the engine. As a result, the NTSB recommended changes to the inspection procedures of the airline, and modifications to certain parts of the engine itself.

The NTSB also found that the pilots of the flight had done an excellent job in handling the situation and bringing the plane safely back to the ground.

3. Response by Southwest Airlines

Following the incident, Southwest Airlines took immediate action to investigate and address the issues related to the engine failure in flight 459. They grounded a portion of their fleet to conduct inspections, immediately prioritizing the safety of their passengers and crew members.

The airline also offered a public apology to those affected by the incident and announced its decision to compensate each passenger on flight 459 with $5,000. They also stated their commitment to improving air safety and reviewing their policies to ensure that such incidents do not occur again in the future.

In addition, Southwest provided assistance to Jennifer Riordan’s family, and created a special webpage for passengers who were on flight 459, to help them cope with the aftermath of the incident and receive support.

4. Changing Regulations in the Airline Industry

In late 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued new regulations for aircraft engine inspections for airlines operating in the United States. The new rules require that airlines inspect all fan blades of certain types of engines within a specified timeline, in order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

The regulations also require that airlines use enhanced technology to inspect the engines, in order to improve the accuracy of the inspections and detect any flaws or damages earlier.

This move was seen as a major step forward by many industry experts in the airline industry towards increasing air safety and reducing the risk of engine failures on flights.

5. Lessons Learned from Southwest Flight 459

The incident involving Southwest flight 459 has raised several important issues for the airline industry and air safety in general. Key takeaways from the incident include:

Firstly, the importance of careful maintenance and inspection procedures for aircraft engines cannot be overstated. Regular inspections and maintenance can prevent accidents from occurring, and help to detect problems early before they become major safety concerns.

Secondly, airlines should prioritize safety above all else, and ensure that their policies and practices align with this goal. Striving for profits at the expense of safety can lead to catastrophic incidents, as seen in the case of Southwest flight 459.

Lastly, improvements in technology and regulations can further enhance air safety, by providing more accurate inspections and preventing engine failures before they occur.


The incident involving Southwest flight 459 was a tragic event that had a significant impact on the passengers involved, as well as the airline industry as a whole. However, the response and actions taken by Southwest Airlines, as well as the NTSB and FAA, were important steps towards improving air safety and preventing similar incidents from happening in the future. The lessons learned from this incident should serve as a reminder to airlines everywhere to prioritize safety above all else, and continually strive to improve their practices and procedures to protect their passengers and crew members.

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