He also said the FAA did not move quickly enough to require inspections after a punctured Southwest 737 was forced to make an emergency landing in 2016 in Florida because of an engine failure caused by metal fatigue. The blast shattered a window, killing a passenger, in the first United States passenger airline fatality since 2009.
Photo Federal investigators in Philadelphia examined damage to the turbofan engine on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 that failed on Tuesday, leading a passenger's death. The engine, at about 32,500 ft, a buff blade broke off and smashed a window.
The engine that blew apart on Tuesday's Southwest flight would have been affected, since the company said it had 40,000 cycles.
The Federal Aviation Administration is poised to issue an emergency airworthiness directive as soon as Friday calling for stepped up inspections of the CFM56-7B engine, manufactured by CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran, said a person familiar with the agency's plans who wasn't authorized to speak about the move publicly.
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Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old bank executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico, died in Tuesday's accident.
USA national security researchers have explained the naked eye can not detect the fractures and indicators of metal fatigue which doomed the engine on Southwest Flight 1380.
A cycle concerns a complete flight, from engine start to takeoff and landing to complete shutdown.
Friday's announcement came shortly after the engine manufacturer, CFM International, issued a service bulletin recommending the CFM56-7B engine be inspected more frequently.
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The new inspection is to be done while the engine is on the aircraft's wing.
The FAA said the inspection mandate applies to CFM56-7B engines that have made 30,000 trips since their last inspection. In that 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.
"After first inspection, operators are recommended to repeat the inspection every 3,000 cycles, which typically represents about two years in airline service", CFM added. No one was injured after the plane made an emergency landing.
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