Published: Sun, April 22, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

FAA orders inspection of jet engines like those in Southwest accident

FAA orders inspection of jet engines like those in Southwest accident

The Federal Aviation Administration followed suit with its own "Emergency Airworthiness Directive" Friday afternoon. The US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Administration are making those recommendations into requirements.

It is not clear how many takeoff-and-landing cycles the engine in Tuesday's accident had gone through and whether it would have been covered by the FAA directive. American Airlines said it started additional inspections of its 737s before Tuesday's accident, while the directive was being debated. About 20 minutes into the flight, at about 32,500 feet, a fan blade broke off the engine and shrapnel shattered a window.

Full FAA statement available at

The manufacturer of the engine that failed catastrophically on Tuesday on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 issued new guidelines on Friday that call for more frequent and more thorough inspections of its engine fan blades. It was also first passenger fatality since 2009 for a US commercial airline.

The Albuquerque Journal reports a memorial service for 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan will be held this Sunday at the Popejoy Hall at the University of New Mexico, her alma mater.

In the earlier case, a fan blade fractured and broke loose, bouncing in front of the engine's protective cover and then striking the plane, causing it to lose pressure.

The pilot took the Dallas-bound twin-engined Boeing 737 with 149 people aboard into a steep descent as passengers using oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling said their prayers and braced for impact. Seven others suffered minor injuries. The metal fatigue would not have been observable by looking at the engine from the outside, Sumwalt said.

Engine maker CFM, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran, issued a service bulletin recommending stepped-up checks because the fan blades on the engine that failed on Tuesday would not have been covered for immediate inspections under the previous standards. More than 150 of those have already been checked, it said. The company also recommended that fan blades with 20,000 cycles be inspected by the end of August.

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