US To Order Jet Engine Checks After Blast
US aviation authorities are to order inspections of jet engines after a mid-air explosion that punctured an airliner’s window, killing a passenger.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the “airworthiness directive” will require inspections of a large number of CFM56-7B engines.
Fan blades that have undergone a certain number of flights will be given ultrasonic tests, it said.
A female passenger died after being nearly sucked out of the cabin.
Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, en route from New York to Dallas with 149 people on board, was forced to make an emergency landing at Philadelphia airport on Tuesday.
The CFM56-7B engine is in use on more than 8,000 Boeing 737 planes worldwide, the manufacturer says.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said its order for engine inspections would be issued within the next two weeks.
About 20 minutes after the twin-engine Boeing 737 took off, shrapnel pierced the passenger compartment causing the plane to lose pressure and rapidly descend.
With oxygen masks over their mouths, passengers screamed and braced for impact.
For a few seconds, the aircraft rolled to an angle of 41 degrees before levelling out and starting an emergency descent, federal investigators said on Wednesday.
“Southwest 1380, we’re single engine,” the pilot radioed to air traffic control.
“We have part of the aircraft missing so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” she said, adding that some passengers had been hurt.
“Injured passengers, okay, and is your airplane physically on fire?” asks a male voice in the tower, according to a recording released by officials.
“No, it’s not on fire, but part of it’s missing,” Capt Shults replies.
“They said there’s a hole, and uh, someone went out,” she calmly adds.