A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max airliner made an emergency landing in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday.
Southwest Airlines Flight 8701, a Boeing 737 Max 8, was on its way from Orlando to Victorville, California, when the pilots declared an emergency minutes after launch, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement to Business Insider.
Southwest Airlines told Business Insider that its pilots "reported a performance issue with one of the engines."
The engine problem reported by the pilots appears to be unrelated to the control software issues that have plagued 737 Max and which may have contributed to the breakdown of both Lion Air Flight JT61
None of the two ongoing crash investigations have indicated any performance problems with the aircraft's CFM International Leap-1B engines.
The FAA said it was investigating the flight that lasted only 11 minutes.
Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas, is the largest operator of Boeing 737 Max.
Read more : Here are the airlines that fly Boeing 737 Max
The aircraft involved in the incident is one of the 34 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the southwest fleet founded by an FAA emergency Order earlier this month after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302.
Flight 8701 was on its way to the airport of Southern California Logistics in Victorville, where the aircraft will be stored in short-term desert storage. As a result, there were no passengers on board the aircraft.
"Boeing 737 MAX 8 will be moved to our Orlando maintenance facility for a review," Southwest said in a statement.
Read more : Boeing 737 Max is probably the last version of the best-selling airline of all time
The core of the controversy around 737 Max is the MCAS, the maneuvering properties of the Augmentation System. To fit Max's larger, more fuel-efficient engines, Boeing had to position the engine further back and forth. This change disturbed the aircraft's gravity and caused Max to tend to tip his nose upward during the flight, increasing the likelihood of a stall. MCAS is designed to automatically counteract the tendency and point the nose of the aircraft down.
However, initial reports from the Lion Air study indicate that a defective sensor reading may have triggered the MCAS shortly after the aircraft started. The observers fear Ethiopian Airlines aircraft may have experienced a similar problem.
Read more : 53% American adults say they do not want to fly on a Boeing 737 Max
Boeing is working on a software update for MCAS along with hardware improvements to get his plane flying again.
Here's the FAA's statement in its entirety:
"The crew of Southwest Airlines Flight 8701, a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, declared an emergency after the aircraft experienced a reported engine problem while leaving The Orlando International Airport in Florida on the plane returned and landed safely in Orlando. No passengers were on board the aircraft shipped to Victorville, California for storage. The FAA is investigating. "