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Hi All,

Looks like the FAA will move to require inspections.Cheers



FAA to order inspections on 737NGs after 3 planes found with cracked critical equipment


The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to order all airlines

to inspect all Boeing 737NGs with 22,600 or more flight cycles after

three planes were found with critical equipment cracked all the way through.

The results of the cracked equipment, called a "pickle fork," could be

catastrophic in a worst-case scenario. Engineers warn it could cause a

plane to crash in extreme conditions.

Inspectors recently uncovered an issue with the "pickle fork" on multiple 737NGs.

It's a part that helps keep the wing of the plane attached to the

fuselage, and absorbs the stress from bending and aerodynamic forces.It's not supposed to crack at all during the planes expected lifespan of

90,000 takeoffs and landings, which is known as a "flight cycle" in the

aviation industry.

One of the three planes in question was being converted from passenger to

cargo service in China. Only 15 had been inspected for the issue when the three damaged planes were found.

Most of those 737NG planes will be required to have an inspection performed within 1,000 flight cycles.But planes with more than 30,000 flight cycles will need to be inspected within a week.The FAA is expected to issue the order sometime this week. Airlines will be required to report their findings to the agency.U.S.-based airlines that fly 737NGs with high-flight cycles include Southwest, Alaska and Delta Airlines.


One analyst says this could cause major hassles for those airlines and others.

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Hi All,An update on the B737-NG crack issue.





Southwest Airlines grounds two Boeing 737 NG planes with cracked critical partSEATTLE -- Southwest Airlines confirmed Tuesday that two of their Boeing 737 NG planes have been grounded because of cracked critical equipment.


Late last month, KOMO News was the first to report that inspectors found cracks in a critical part of an 737 NG known as the pickle fork.


Following that report, last week, the FAA ordered emergency inspections, known as an "airworthiness directive," or "AD," to take place within seven days.


A pickle fork is the part that helps attach a plane's fuselage to its wing structure. It helps manage the stress, torque and aerodynamic forces that bend the connection between the wings and the body of the jet.


Engineers design pickle forks to last the lifetime of the plane, more than 90,000 landings and takeoffs, a term known as "flight cycles" in the aviation industry, without developing cracks. There could be dire results if the pickle fork system on the jet fails in flight.


Overall, around 500 of the planes from airlines around the world have been inspected for the issue.


Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton with the Leeham Company says 25 planes so far have been discovered with the cracking. "Simple mathematics says that's 5%," he said.


But he cautions against people getting too nervous about flying.


"You're still going to have more danger getting to the airport than flying on one of these airplanes," he said.


These latest groundings for the Southwest 737 NGs come as the airline struggles with a grounded 737 MAX fleet.


Those groundings have led to the cancellations of an estimated 30,000 Southwest flights since March.


The pilots's union, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, filed a $100 million lawsuit against Boeing over those groundings Monday, suing for back pay.


KOMO reached out to Southwest about the latest issue involving the inspections, and the cracks found on 737 NG, which have been busy flying passengers. A company spokesperson says:


"Southwest has completed all inspections of the high-cycle 737 Next Generation (NG) aircraft in compliance with the seven-day deadline specified in the FAA's Airworthiness Directive (AD). During our inspections of the high-cycle NGs, we did not find abnormalities on the vast majority of our inspected fleet but did identify signs of cracking on two aircraft. Southwest removed the aircraft from our operation and reported the findings to Boeing and the FAA. The aircraft will remain out of our schedule until the maintenance items have been fully resolved, and we do not have a return to service timeline for the aircraft. Safety is always our uncompromising priority, and our Technical Operations Team is now focused on completing inspections on the remaining portion of the NG fleet covered by the AD.


The pickle fork problem was first discovered on a passenger plane being converted to a cargo jet for Amazon Prime.


Though the first batch of inspections is complete -- many more will need to be done worldwide in the coming weeks and months.




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Hi All,

More B737-NG aircraft cracks.






Jakarta: The Indonesian Transportation Ministry has grounded three Boeing 737 NG (Next Generation) planes operated by two airlines following the findings of cracks in the aircraft, an official said on Tuesday.


Quoting Airworthiness and Plane Operation director, Capt. Avirianto, Xinhua news agency reported that the three grounded planes were operated by state-run airlines Garuda Indonesia and private-owned Sriwijaya Air.


Grounding of those planes would continue until further recommendations were issued by Boeing, the director said.


"Furthermore, we advise all national airlines operating Boeing 737NG including Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Batik Air and Sriwijaya Air to periodically conduct maintenance program every 3,500 Flight Cycle Number (FCN) that suits with Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) mechanism," he said.


Cracks in those planes were found in the ones which already had 30,000 FCN, he said.


The cracks were found in one of three Boeing 737NG operated by Garuda Indonesia, while in Sriwijaya Air cracks were found in two of five planes.


The grounding order was issued after inspections carried out by the ministry to follow suit airworthiness directives issued by international aviation agencies to check the Boeing 737NG planes operated by all airlines in the world.



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