May 25, 2018

Southwest engine failure: FAA orders inspections of more jet engines

22 April 2018, 01:43 | Lionel James

US, European aviation authorities order inspections after fatal Southwest engine failure

Southwest offers apology, $5000 to passengers on damaged flight

USA airline Southwest has given 5,000 Dollars cheques to passengers of its flight whose engine failure led to an emergency landing in Philadelphia and claimed one woman's life.

On Wednesday, the FAA said it would issue a directive in the next two weeks to require the ultrasonic inspections of fan blades on some CFM56-7B engines after they reach a certain number of takeoffs and landings.

Altogether, CFM 56-7B engines are on about 1,800 of the 737s in service in the US and about 6,400 worldwide.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has joined United States authorities in ordering an emergency inspection of the type of engine that malfunctioned on a Southwest Airlines flight this week to deadly effect.

The directives by the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency for inspections of CFM56-7B engines, made by CFM International, indicated rising concerns since a similar failure in 2016 of the same type of engine.

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In response to that incident, CFM International, a joint venture of GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines, issued a service bulletin urging airlines to undertake ultrasonic imaging of their fleets to look for signs of fatigue. They've also recovered the airplane's cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, and are still tracking down debris from the engine. Specifically, engines with more than 30,000 total cycles from new must undergo inspections within 20 days.

The NTSB will look into how an interior crack on a fan blade led to the engine failure.

Delta, with 370 of the same engines on its fleet of 737s, says it completed inspections of the engines previous year, and is now ahead of FAA directives on the ultrasonic testing. The order applies only to engines with more than 30,000 cycles which equates to roughly 20 years of service. That incident prompted the FAA to propose a year ago that similar fan blades undergo ultrasonic inspections and be replaced if they failed. No one was injured after the plane made an emergency landing. Pieces of the plane were found in rural Pennsylvania by investigators who tracked them on radar. The existing Southwest Airlines maintenance program meets or exceeds all the requirements specified in the Airworthiness Directive.

Southwest Airlines is giving passengers on board the disastrous flight $5,000 each and a $1,000 travel voucher.

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