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FAA orders jet engine inspections after fatal Southwest incident

FAA orders jet engine inspections after fatal Southwest incident

FAA orders jet engine inspections after fatal Southwest incident

CFM and the FAA both called for inspections of the engines at the time, but the regulators did not publish a directive. The emergency order is effective immediately and inspections must be completed within 20 days.

In a February 26 email to Southwest Airlines Chief Operating Officer Mike van de Ven obtained by the Chicago Business Journal, Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association director Bret Oestreich warned: "The truth is that there exists a concern regarding the degradation of safety within Southwest's maintenance program as determined by the Federal Aviation Administration". There are now about 14,000 CFM56-7B engines in operation.

A preliminary examination of the blown jet engine showed evidence of "metal fatigue", said USA transport officials.

A passenger, Jennifer Riordan, who was a vice-president at Wells Fargo in New Mexico, was killed after being partly sucked out of the opening.

The airline has sent passengers apology letters and cheques for US$5,000 "to cover any of [their] immediate financial needs". It said that any fan blades that failed the inspection would have to be replaced.

After reaching a specified era, the motors should really be inspected about every two decades, the manufacturer said. CFM also urged the Federal Aviation Administration to issue an Airworthiness Directive to ensure prompt compliance with the recommended inspections.

The manufacturer of the jet engine that blew apart at 32,000 feet in a deadly accident aboard a Southwest Airlines flight wants more jets to be inspected for potential problems.

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The incident raised a number of questions because jet engines are certified to be able to withstand a broken fan blade without causing major damage.

On Tuesday, Southwest Airlines flight 1380 was forced into an emergency landing after a fan blade broke off the engine and pieces smashed through a window mid-flight, the FAA said. The plane, flying from NY, landed safely in Philadelphia.

Southwest wrote in a statement that although it opposed the airworthiness directive proposed by CFM, it had nonetheless completed the inspections recommended by the manufacturer past year. The agency announced on Wednesday it would issue those orders within weeks.

American Airlines (AAL.O) said it does not have any CFM56-7B engines with 30,000 cycles and would not be impacted by the 20-day order.

It says about 150 of the engines have already gone through the process.

Though the FAA isn't requiring inspections of engines with fewer than 30,000 cycles, it said in its statement that it is leaving the door open to "further rulemaking". CFM recommends that airlines use an ultrasound device, which can detect small cracks beneath the surface.

The National Transportation Safety Board said metal fatigue caused a fan blade to break away and debris to hit a window on Southwest Flight 1380 on Tuesday.

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