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U.S. FAA requiring inspections for cracks on some 737 NG planes

Stock MarketsSep 27, 2019 10:32PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Boeing Co's logo is seen above the front doors of its largest jetliner factory in Everett 2/2

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration late on Friday said it would require operators of some Boeing (N:BA) 737 NG jetliners to conduct inspections for structural cracks and make repairs as needed following the discovery of cracks on a small number of planes.

The FAA said Boeing notified it of the issue "after it discovered the cracks while conducting modifications on a heavily used aircraft." Subsequent inspections "uncovered similar cracks in a small number of additional planes." Boeing said on Friday it has been in contact with 737 NG operators about a cracking issue, but added that "no in-service issues have been reported."

Neither the FAA nor Boeing immediately said how many planes were impacted by the required inspections.

The 737 NG, or Next Generation, was introduced in 1997 and is the third generation version of the best-selling Boeing airplane. The 737 MAX, which was grounded in March after two fatal crashes in five months, is not affected by this issue, Boeing said.

The FAA said it would ask operators of the NG to "report their findings to the agency immediately" after completing inspections. Boeing said "over the coming days, we will work closely with our customers to implement a recommended inspection plan for certain airplanes in the fleet."

KOMO News reported on Friday the issue involved cracked "pickle forks" in some 737 NG jets. The pickle fork attaches the plane's fuselage, or body, to the wing structure and manages forces. A failure of the part in flight could pose a serious risk. KOMO said workers found a severely cracked pickle fork on a Boeing 737NG earlier this month.

U.S. FAA requiring inspections for cracks on some 737 NG planes
 

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Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Sep 27, 2019 11:52PM ET
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Cracks can show up ANYWHERE on the plane and similarly cause trouble. You don't want a roof *****off at 34,000 ft, a stewardess sucked out and the plane nose-diving to 8,000 ft just because the airline kept checking the plane at night (thus couldn't see the cracks) and never noticed how the sea salt kept eating away at the seams (Aloha Airlines Flight 243)
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Sep 27, 2019 11:52PM ET
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***** ~ "bl'ow" off (this spell checker here is overly anxious)
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Sep 27, 2019 11:19PM ET
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Cracks mean the aircraft hasn't kept up its regular maintenance schedule for ultrasound testing. Same ultrasound testing goes for engines and turbines. If those ultrasound tests are missed or no regular schedule has been set up then accidents are waiting to happen. If you want a taste of what does go wrong when shortcuts or incompetent service creeps in, then watch TheFlightChannel (tfc) on youtube.com (in mute) and skip to the last third of the video clip to read the accident conclusions by the NTSB (USA National Transportation and Safety Board). The more you watch the more you learn.
 
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