Emergency inspections of 600 Boeing 737 planes are being conducted worldwide following concerns a faulty mechanism could render the aircraft uncontrollable. Worldwide airlines have been affected by an “emergency airworthiness directive” issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the issue, but insist passengers won’t be affected by the checks.
The order was issued following an incident on March 2 when a Ryanair 737-800 en route from the Netherlands to Madrid experienced severe vibrations and had to make an unscheduled landing in Belgium.
Extensive damage to the left elevator, a movable flap on the horizontal tail that controls the pitch of the airplane, was found.
The FAA is now concerned the “unsafe condition” is “likely to exist or develop on other planes of the same type design”, the airworthiness directive stated.
“Severe vibration in this attach point is suspected of allowing rapid wear of the joint, and resulted in failure of the attach lugs,” Ali Bahrami, Manager of Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, said in the order.
“This condition, if not corrected, could result in a loss of aircraft control and structural integrity.”
Boeing spokeswoman Sandy Angers said the company supports the FAA’s order and remains committed to the safety of its aircraft.
“The interim measures serve to ensure that safety continues at the highest levels while we work diligently to determine a permanent resolution for this issue,” Ms Angers said.
The directive affects approximately 600 Next-Generation 737s, Ms Angers said.
The order applies to Boeing 737-600, 700, 700C, 800, 900 and 900ER series planes.
The planes must be inspected within 12 to 30 days.
source: news.com.au
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