Older Boeing Planes Under More Inspections
The inspections come after a Southwest Airlines flight had an emergency landing on Friday when a 1-by-5 foot hole ripped in the fuselage, spreading from a smaller crack.
The New York Post reported:
The FAA ordered "initial and repetitive electromagnetic inspections for fatigue damage" of certain older Boeing 737-300, 737-400 and 737-500 models.
In addition to inspections of Southwest's fleet of about 80 Boeing 737-300s, which the airline said may be finished as early as Tuesday morning, the FAA wants operators of about 100 other older Boeing 737s worldwide to complete the same inspections.
The checks will focus on certain areas of the fuselage that in the past were not subjected to such detailed examinations.
Boeing also made their own recommendation Monday that airlines that use the older models of the 737 ground them and perform extra inspections, specifically for cracks in the metal.
From The Seattle Times:
Boeing said its engineers are preparing a service bulletin that will recommend lap-joint inspections on certain 737-300/400/500 airplanes. The NTSB's Sumwalt said that bulletin, along with the FAA directive, should be sufficient to make the current fleet of airplanes safe.
"We feel through issuing this service bulletin that will take care of those airplanes that need attention," Sumwalt said.
"But for the remainder of the fleet, I don't believe there are structural deficiencies."
"Safety is our number one priority," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday. "Last Friday's incident was very serious and could result in additional action depending on the outcome of the investigation."