Sky Talk

American Airlines builds an igloo to fix an engine in Lubbock

Courtesy of American Airlines

What do you do when you need to fix an aircraft engine and there’s several feet of snow around the plane?

You build an igloo!

American Airlines mechanics brought in an inflatable igloo-shaped structure to Lubbock during the holidays so they could replace an engine on an Airbus A321 that made an emergency landing at the airport.

In its latest employee newsletter, American detailed how operations employees replaced the engine at an airport where they don’t have any mechanics or a hangar large enough to house an Airbus A321.

On December 23, an American flight from Miami to Los Angeles diverted to Lubbock because of an engine warning light that came on midflight. The airline dispatched mechanics and technical operations employees from DFW, Chicago and Phoenix to change the engine and had to bring all of their tools with them.

“The team trucked a spare engine to [Lubbock airport] from JFK, and with the temperatures in the 20s, cleared away several inches of snow using shovels and other machinery,” the news letter said. “After clearing the space, the team set up an inflatable shelter where they repaired the engine with protection from the freezing weather and snow. The igloo-shaped structure, which [Chicago] Tech Ops employees brought to [Lubbock] is equipped with two portable generators for heat and lights; the front is easily detachable, giving the team room to move the engine inside and back out after repairs.”

Repairs were finished on December 30 and the aircraft was ferried back to DFW. It returned to service on January 1.