FAA Adds More Checks On 737 Engines


Image: NTSB

The FAA on Monday issued a new Airworthiness Directive that affects about 1,800 Boeing 737 aircraft operated in the U.S. The AD requires additional inspections of the fan blades in all the airplanes equipped with the same type of blades that caused a catastrophic engine failure in April, when one passenger died on a Southwest flight after a window was broken by engine debris. A previous AD had mandated the inspections after 3,000 flight cycles, but the new AD reduces that interval to 1,600. The AD takes effect on Oct. 16.

The updated rule was prompted by continuing research undertaken by CFM, the engine manufacturer. CFM issued a Service Bulletin in July advising operators of the new interval recommendation. The FAA’s AD now makes that new interval mandatory. The FAA estimates each inspection will take about two hours, costing the airlines an average of about $170. If a fan blade fails the inspection, it would cost about $51,000 to replace it.