FAA Orders Inspections of More Jet Engines After Deadly Southwest Incident

FAA orders inspections of more jet engines like the one in fatal Southwest accident

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered inspections of more jet engines like the one that blew apart at 32,000 feet in a deadly accident aboard a Southwest Airlines plane.

The agency released an Airworthiness Directive Friday they said affects 352 engines in the U.S. and another 681 worldwide on "new generation" Boeing 737 jets. Each aircraft has two engines.

Inspections of engines with 30,000 or more cycles (an engine start, takeoff, landing and full shut down) must be completed within 20 days. The FAA recommends engines with 20,000 cycles be checked by the end of August and that inspections for all other engines occur when they reach 20,000 cycles. After hitting 20,000 cycles inspections are to be done at 3,000 cycles, which is about every two years.

The requirement from the agency comes after the engine maker, CFM International, issued a service bulletin recommending that more engines be inspected. At issue are the engine fan blades on Boeing 737-600, 700, 800 and 900 jets.

The National Transportation Safety Board believes one of the blades snapped on the Southwest flight Tuesday, hurling debris that broke a window and led to the death of a passenger who was sucked partway out of the plane. The jet, which was headed from New York to Dallas, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

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

American Airlines told NBC 5 their jet engines have not yet made 30,000 cycles, so their engines are not required to be inspected under the mandate.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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