Atlanta aviation expert gives his insight into engine explosion on Southwest Airlines

Image 1 of 2

When Atlanta Aviation expert, Alan Armstrong, heard about Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 midair engine explosion, he immediately began researching how this could have happened. He says a midair uncontained engine explosion like this is extremely rare.

"This is extraordinary. This is remarkable. The fact that we have such a catastrophic failure, the engine just exploded," said Alan Armstrong who is a pilot and aviation attorney.   

"Even if the engine has a catastrophic failure, the parts are not supposed to explode out of the engine. They're not supposed to come barreling out and punch holes.They're designed to be contained in the engine itself," said Armstrong.

A piece of shrapnel shattered a window on the plane.  Passengers reported a woman was partially sucked out of the plane.

"That's a tremendous force. With her face being exposed to 56 degrees negative atmospheric temperature, way, way below freezing, the violence of the pressure and the suction on her face it would have been very traumatic," said Armstrong.

The woman, identified as Jennifer Riordan, a mother of two and vice president of community relations at Wells Fargo in New Mexico, later died.

The flight had just left New York and was on it's way to Dallas.  Down to one engine, the pilots managed to land the crippled aircraft in Philadelphia.

Armstrong, who has been a pilot for decades, applauds the pilots for landing the plane with no other serious injuries.  "50 percent of your thrust is gone, so now not only do you have half your power, you also have asymmetric thrust. I think about these guys flying this, this is a crippled airplane and they got it down in one piece, great job, great job," said Armstrong.