Southwest Airlines: Flawed Engine Blade Found at Other Carriers

A few flawed engine blades have been found on planes from several airlines, with inspections underway in hopes of preventing another disaster like the one that occurred on a Southwest Airlines flight in April. 

Such a fan blade is blamed for killing a woman on a Southwest flight, en route from New York to Dallas, after it broke loose and shattered a window next to where the passenger was sitting. 

The plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. 

A spokesman for the company that makes the engines, General Electric/CFM, told NBC 5 Investigates it could not disclose the names of the other airlines involved because of requirements set by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is communicating with the other airlines about the fan blades in question. The FAA ordered increased inspections of the engines after the Southwest accident. 

The engine maker said four or five cracked blades have been found – a very small fraction of the 150,000 fan blades that have been inspected on high-use engines. 

Nevertheless, the discovery of other broken blades will prompt discussions with the FAA on whether to further revise the inspection guidelines. 

The new information came to light earlier in the day when an executive for Dallas-based Southwest revealed the discovery of cracked blades at other air carriers. 

American Airlines, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, declined to comment on whether cracked blades had been found on any of its planes. 

Earlier this year, American said no problems had been found in initial inspections. 

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