FALLOUT OF SOUTHWEST CRACKS: FAA ORDERS INSPECTIONS OF 737s WITH MANY LANDINGS

Posted by: Associated Press

Authors:   Lowy reported from Washington. Associated Press writers David Koenig in Dallas, Joshua Freed in Minneapolis and Scott Mayerowitz in New York also contributed to this report.

The airliner whose roof ripped open 34,000 feet over Arizona has had a busy 15-year life: taking off and touching down more than seven times a day, on average, and possibly developing microscopic cracks in its aluminum skin each time.

Federal aviation officials were preparing to issue an order Tuesday that calls for emergency inspections on 80 U.S.-registered Boeing 737 jetliners with histories similar to that Southwest Airlines jet, which had been pressurized and depressurized 39,000 times before a 5-foot-long hole opened in its fuselage. The order is aimed at finding weaknesses in the metal exterior, but virtually all of the affected aircraft will have already been inspected by the time the order takes.  Read Full Article Here

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