FAA May Expand Search for Jet Cracks

American Airlines completes safety inspections of 767 fleet

Thursday, Jun 24, 2010  |  Updated 3:15 PM CDT
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FAA Orders AA to Inspect 767s

AP

American Airlines Boeing 767-200 jet in flight.

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FAA Orders AA to Inspect 767s

The FAA has asked American Airlines to re-inspect dozens of 767 airplanes in its fleet, after cracks were detected on at least two planes, on a crucial part that attaches the engines to the wings.
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Boeing is likely to recommend inspections for some of its 767s after American Airlines found cracks where the engine attaches to the wing earlier this week.

Boeing is considering asking airlines to inspect the wings every 400 flights, spokesman Peter Conte said on Thursday. He said Boeing wants airlines to evaluate how the proposed change would affect their maintenance and flight operations.

Conte said the new recommendation, called a service bulletin, is expected in mid-July.

Currently the Federal Aviation Administration requires inspections every 1,500 flights, but the cracks on at least two American jets found this week were found with fewer flights. That raises the possibility that the wings are more susceptible to cracks than previously thought.

American has already inspected all 56 of its affected planes.

About 260 jets built before June 1997 are involved. Planes built after that had a different design that prevents the cracks, Conte said. Another 400 planes built before 1997 were retrofitted with a reinforced wing strut aimed at preventing the cracks.

The extra inspections would only be mandatory if the FAA issues its own order. It has not decided whether to mandate the increased inspections and is waiting to see Boeing's service bulletin, FAA spokesman Les Dorr said.

Other operators of the affected jets include Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, and US Airways.

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