FAA orders inspections of fan blades
Airlines began inspecting Boeing 737 engines after an explosion killed a passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight. Aleksandra Michalska informs.
PHILADELPHIA – Regulators of US airlines reported on Wednesday night that they will order inspections of engine fan blades like the one involving a fatal flaw that killed a woman in a plane that landed emergency in Philadelphia.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it will issue a directive in the next two weeks to demand inspections of certain CFM56-7B engines. The announcement came after the researchers' initial findings showed that Tuesday's emergency was caused by a fan blade that fell off, causing the debris to hit the Southwest Airlines plane and for a woman to remain partially ejected by a window. Later he died.
Tuesday's emergency was strangely similar to an engine failure on another Southwest plane in 2016. That failure led the engine manufacturer to recommend new inspections of fan blades on many Boeing 737.
Researchers say that A fan blade broke off as Southwest Flight 1380 crossed at 500 mph above Pennsylvania on Tuesday. The failure triggered a catastrophic chain of events that killed a woman and broke a series of eight consecutive years without a fatal accident involving a US plane.
"Motor failures like this should not happen," Robert Sumwalt, president of the National Council. The Transportation Safety Council said on Wednesday
Sumwalt expressed concern about such a destructive engine failure, but said he would not yet draw broad conclusions about the safety of the CFM56 engines or the entire Boeing 737 fleet, the plane most popular commercial ever built. 19659012] #FAA Declaration: Airworthiness Directive (AD) – Required inspections of certain engines CFM56-7B. pic.twitter.com/9gmkLqLdWP
– FAA (@FAANews) April 19, 2018
Metal fatigue: microscopic cracks that can splinter and open up under the type of tension exerted on passenger aircraft. and its engines were blamed for an engine failure on a Southwest Florida plane in 2016. Both the plane and the plane that made an agonizing emergency landing on Tuesday in Philadelphia were powered by CFM56 engines.
Manufacturer CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and France's Safran SA, recommended last June that airlines using certain CFM56 engines perform ultrasonic inspections to detect cracks.
More: 22 minutes of terror in Southwest Flight 1380: How an ordinary journey became tragic
More: & # 39 ; Tremendous strength & # 39 ;: What happens when a hole is opened in a plane in flight
A month ago, European regulators require flyi airlines In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed a directive similar in August, but has not yet required inspections.
The FAA proposal would have given the airlines six months to inspect the fan blades on the engines that had flown more than 7,500 flights, and 18 months on the lightest ones.
The announcement said on Wednesday that the new directive will require ultrasonic inspections of the fan blades when they reach a certain number of takeoffs and landings. The sheets that fail in the inspection will have to be replaced.
Federal investigators were still trying to determine how a plane window came out, killing the woman sitting next to the seat belt. No plastic material was found from the window inside the plane.
Family members identified the woman as Jennifer Riordan, 43, a bank executive and mother of two from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Passengers say Riordan was partially blown out the window and the Philadelphia coroner said on Wednesday he was killed by a blunt blow to the head, neck and torso.
Investigators also said that the plane landed at an unusually high speed because pilots feared losing control if they flew slower. Sumwalt said the plane landed at approximately 190 mph, while a jet of that size would normally land at around 155 mph.
The leading edge of the left wing was damaged by shrapnel from the engine explosion.
It is unclear whether it was the FAA directive that would have forced Southwest to quickly inspect the engine it exploded. CEO Gary Kelly said he had recorded only 10,000 cycles since it was revised.
Critics accuse the FAA of inaction in the face of a security threat.
Robert Clifford, a lawyer who is suing American Airlines for another engine explosion that caused a fire that destroyed the plane, said the FAA should have required inspections, even if that meant grounded Boeing 737.
] "There is something that is happening with these engines," he said, "and the statistical probability of additional faults" exists. "
William Waldock, security expert at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said he expected the incident to this week force the FAA to require more detailed inspections of the fan blades, but the details and timing will depend on whether the investigators find fatigue in other fan blades in the broken motor.
"The first thing you will probably do is Remove each of these other blades and make an x-ray to see if they have a similarity. a type of fault waiting to happen, "he said.
The Southwest CEO protested that it is too early to say if the incident on Tuesday is related to any other engine failure.
Kelly said Tuesday's plane had flown 40,000 cycles, one cycle is a takeoff and one landing, Boeing delivered the plane to the southwest in July 2000.
Kelly said the plane was inspected on Sunday and that nothing seemed to be out of service. A visual inspection and oil service of the engines, Sumwalt of the NTSB said, however, that the type of wear seen where the blade of the missing fan came off would not have been visible just by looking at the engine.
types of inspections that must be carried out by the airline's planes, ranging from a "Check", which is done every eight to 10 weeks, to more rigorous B, C and D checks.
The so-called D checks are made approximately Every six years for older aircraft, less frequently for newer aircraft. . It can take weeks and involves dismantling a large part of the plane for inspection and possible repair or replacement of parts, and then reassembling it. Engines are normally removed to work during a control D.
Southwest refused to provide the maintenance records of the plane to The Associated Press, but a spokeswoman said that the defective engine had not experienced unscheduled maintenance in the past 60 days .
NTSB investigators plan to visit Southwest's headquarters in Dallas next week to inspect maintenance records, Sumwalt said.
AP Airlines writer David Koenig reported from Dallas.
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