May 26, 2018

Southwest challenged engine maker over proposed FAA inspections

20 April 2018, 12:56 | Yvette Williams

Gary Kelly - Flight 1380


US airline regulators have ordered inspections on engine fan blades like the one that snapped off a Southwest Airlines plane, leading to the death of a woman who was partially blown out a window.

This new plan will require ultrasonic inspections of fan blades after a certain number of take-offs and landings.

At an April 18 briefing, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said the fan blade separated in two places.

A National Transportation Safety Board inspection crew was also combing over the Boeing 737-700 for signs of what caused the engine to explode. The Federal Aviation Administration has not yet required airlines to conduct the inspections but said late Wednesday that it would do so in the next two weeks.

All such engines undergo testing prior to certification, including the simulated failure of a fan blade.

Sumwalt also said a casing on the engine is meant to contain any parts that come loose but, due to the speed, the metal was able to penetrate the shell.

"They're going to figure this out pretty fast, because it affects so many aircraft and so many engines", he said.

Flight attendants were in the aisle asking for drink orders on Southwest flight 1380 Tuesday when Andrew Needum heard a "loud pop". French officials are travelling to the USA to assist with the investigation.

Officials say Jennifer Riordan of Albuquerque, New Mexico, died after the plane heading from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Dallas made an emergency landing Tuesday in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, the airline said it would accelerate inspections and complete them in the next 30 days.

She was the first passenger killed in an accident involving a USA airline since 2009. 7 other passengers sustained minor injuries. "A buddy, the guy helped, and we got her pulled in, and they tried to resuscitate her".

Capt Tammie Jo Shults was hailed as a hero by passengers on the stricken flight.

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'I have always been concerned about stuff happening with aircrafts flying so close to where we live - we live in a flight zone - but now I know there is a need to be concerned, ' Alicia Miller of Bernville, PA, said.

Schiavo called for a "surgical grounding" - "a very strategic grounding of certain engines on certain planes to get this testing done immediately".

"Had a window go out and a lady go out the window, and we couldn't pull in", said passenger Tim McGinty.

About 20 minutes after the twin-engine Boeing 737 took off, shrapnel pierced the passenger compartment causing the plane to lose pressure and rapidly descend.

Adressing his Facebook followers, he said: 'Emergency landing!

Whatever happened inside that complicated system of fuel and fire and whirling components, it resulted in the decompression of the cabin at about 32,000 feet and, later, the death of a passenger after she almost flew out a window.

"In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you".

The Flight 1380 fiasco occurred when the plane was 31,000 feet in the air, as Forbes reported.

"No, it's not on fire, but part of it's missing", Capt Shults replies.

"I've always said, you give me a good person, I can make a good firefighter out of him".

The audio of her speaking to an air traffic control officer has been released to the public and it illustrates how calmly she explained her situation and how she acted quickly to keep everyone safe.

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