European agency orders expanded Boeing 737 engine checks after accidents

by Frankie Norman April 22, 2018, 1:22
European agency orders expanded Boeing 737 engine checks after accidents

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered the inspection of nearly 700 Boeing 737 engines across the globe over the next 20 days.

The agency said the directive affects 352 engines on new-generation Boeing 737s, a twin-engine jet that is a workhorse of the aviation industry, used by airlines around the world.

The pilot took the Dallas-bound twin-engined Boeing 737 with 149 people aboard into a steep descent as passengers using oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling said their prayers and braced for impact. The FAA's directive reflected concerns that more planes could have faulty blades.

Ultrasonic tests on fan blades that have performed 30,000 or more total accumulated flight cycles will be carried out. A cycle includes one take-off and landing.

The FAA directive comes as a result of a service bulletin issued earlier Friday by the engine's manufacturer as well as information gathered from the investigation of Southwest Flight 1380.

Engine maker CFM, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran, issued a service bulletin recommending stepped-up checks because the fan blades on the engine that failed on Tuesday would not have been covered for immediate inspections under the previous standards.

The CFM 56-7B engines are on about 1,800 "new generation" 737s in service in the US and about 6,400 worldwide.

The manufacturer had issued two service bulletins past year calling for additional inspections of fan blades on the CFM56-7B engines following a similar episode in 2016 on another Southwest plane.

"I've been concerned about the FAA from when I was chairman in terms of how quickly they move sometimes on safety matters", Hall said.

A Southwest spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter or its contents.

Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year old bank executive and mother of two from New Mexico, died in the Tuesday incident after she was partially sucked out of the plane when a window blew out.

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