A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, similar to the one pictured, encountered problems about 10 minutes after takeoff. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
March 26 (UPI) -- A Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner made an emergency landing Tuesday shortly after takeoff from Orlando, Fla., airport officials said.
There were two people on board Southwest Airlines Flight 8701 -- the plane's two pilots -- when it took off around 3 p.m. from Orlando International Airport. Rod Johnson, spokesman for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said they experienced engine problems about 10 minutes after takeoff.
The pilots were attempting to transport the aircraft to Victorville, Calif., for storage.
"The crew followed protocol and safely landed back at the airport," a Southwest Airlines statement said.
The statement said the airline plans to move the plane to its Orlando maintenance facility for evaluation.
The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating the cause of Tuesday's problems.
The incident comes two weeks after President Donald Trump ordered the FAA to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft in the wake of two deadly crashes of the model.
A crash March 10 near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killed all 157 people on board. An Indonesian Lion Air flight in October killed 189. In both cases, the plane crashed shortly after takeoff.
Black box data from the Ethiopian Airlines crash showed "clear similarities" to the Lion Air Crash.
The data showed an erratic flight path during the 6 minutes that the plane was in the air before it crashed. According to the data, the plane ascended and descended and then ascended again, while traveling at speeds exceeding normal takeoff procedure.
A preliminary report about the causes of the Lion Air crash released in November showed the Boeing maneuvering characteristics augmentation system pushed the nose of the plane down, forcing the pilots to pull the nose back up more than a dozen times throughout the 11-minute flight.