FAA Will Issue AD For CFM Engines


Image: NTSB

In the wake of the uncontained engine failure that killed a passenger on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 earlier this week, the FAA has announced that it will issue an AD requiring inspections of certain CFM56-7B engines. This statement comes after NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said during a media briefing that a preliminary inspection of the engine on the Southwest Boeing 737-700 revealed that a fan blade had broken off at the hub and around the midpoint of the blade. Sumwalt also said that it appeared from a visual inspection that metal fatigue was the cause of the blade separation.

The FAA says that the coming AD will require ultrasonic, rather than just visual, inspection of engine fan blades after a to-be-defined number of takeoffs and landings. For any blades that fail the inspection, replacement will be required. The agency has said the AD will be issued within the next two weeks and inspections are expected to take about two hours each.

According to engine manufacturer CFM International, there are more than 8,000 of its CFM56-7B engines in operation on Boeing 737s. Including Southwest, several airlines that operate 737s with similar CFM engines have issued statements saying that they have already begun inspecting the engines.