Airlines React to Engine Issue

Airlines React to Engine Issue

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Wednesday it would order the inspection of some CFM jet engines after investigators said a broken fan blade touched off the engine explosion on a Southwest Airlines flight, shattering a window and killing a passenger.

The FAA will issue a Directive on the serviceability for the next two weeks, which will require validation of certain CFM56-7B.

"Boeing extends its deepest condolences to the family of the passenger who passed away as a result of today's incident on SWA (Southwest Airlines) Flight 1380", Boeing said in the statement.

Earlier it was reported that the incident with the passenger plane occurred in the United States on April 17.

In response to the incident, engine maker CFM International - a joint venture between General Electric's GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines - issued a technical bulletin advising airlines to conduct more frequent inspections.

Airlines will have six to 18 months to do inspections.


Southwest said it is speeding up inspections of all related engines out of extra caution, which it expects to complete within 30 days. If metal fatigue is ultimately identified as a probable cause, then the entire aviation manufacturing industry should be considering strategies for protecting against such failures in the future (and not just in this particular installation). Which means that a piece of metal was sent smashing through nearly the entire machine, decimating more engine parts along its path, similar to the result of throwing a pen through a typical cooling house fan. The pilot, Tammy Jo Shults, was able to safely land the plane in Philadelphia and, other than Riordan, seven people aboard had minor injuries.

The blades, which sweep air backwards to help provide thrust, can be changed and repaired independently of the rest of the engine, meaning airlines that don't keep tabs have to examine more engines than anticipated, which adds time and cost.

Experts have already started investigation into the incident.

For Clifford, seeing the Southwest engine explosion was all too familiar.

Pieces of the engine including its cowling-which covers its inner workings-were found about 60 miles (100 km) from Philadelphia airport, Sumwalt said. It would have also required the checks be completed within 12 months. There are new questions Thursday about whether government regulators and the airline acted quickly enough after a prior failure in 2016. Kudos to all involved, including the passengers valiantly assisting the woman who unfortunately did not make it, and the air traffic controllers that expedited the emergency to a successful landing.

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