Published: Sun, April 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

FAA orders emergency jet engine inspections after United States plane failure

FAA orders emergency jet engine inspections after United States plane failure

The inspections recommended within the next 20 days will affect about 680 engines globally, USA regulators said.

The order expands a previous European directive, issued in response to the 2016 incident, and was issued in coordination with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, making mandatory a fresh recommendation from engine maker CFM International.

USA aviation officials have ordered emergency inspections of hundreds of airplane engines just days after a woman died on a Southwest plane that suffered an engine explosion.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday ordered airlines to inspect fan blades on engines like the one that failed earlier this week, killing a passenger on a Southwest Airlines Flight. Then, on Friday, the manufacturer went further than the FAA, recommending inspections by the end of August of all engines that have gone through at least 20,000 flights.

The engine in question, the CFM56-7B turbofan, is the product of a 40-year-old joint venture between GE Aviation and France's Safran Aircraft Engines called CFM International.

SouthWest_Engine_NTSB1
The FAA has ordered inspections of the type of jet engines that failed on deadly Southwest flight

The inspections will focus on the fan blades, the FAA said. An EASA spokesman declined to comment. Investigators study the probable cause of single accidents and recommend possible changes to safety rules, while regulators have to assess whether safety risks could appear. The existing Southwest Airlines maintenance program meets or exceeds all the requirements specified in the Airworthiness Directive.

The CFM 56-7B engines are on about 1,800 "new generation" 737s in service in the USA and about 6,400 worldwide.

Approximately 14,000 CFM56-7B engines are in operation.

The European order requires that after the first inspection, airlines should keep repeating the process every 3,000 cycles, which typically represents about two years in service.

Southwest already announced it was starting an "accelerated inspection" of its fleet after the deadly failure, and other airlines have announced their own inspection plans.

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