FAA orders inspection of fan blades after Southwest failure

FAA orders inspection of fan blades after Southwest failure

April 20 (UPI) — The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday ordered airlines to inspect fan blades on engines like the one that failed earlier this week, killing a passenger on a Southwest Airlines Flight.

The agency issued the emergency directive after the maker of the engine, CFM International, called for the inspection of fan blades on CFM56-7B engines. The manufacturer said the order affected 352 engines in the United States and 681 globally.

The CFM bulletin said airlines should repeat inspections of the fan blades every 3,000 cycles — about two years.

The National Transportation Safety Board said metal fatigue caused a fan blade to break away and debris to hit a window on Southwest Flight 1380 on Tuesday. The window broke and partially pulled one passenger outside of the Boeing 737 before fellow passengers brought her back into the plane.

The passenger, Jennifer Riordan, 43, later died.

The Philadelphia-to-Dallas flight made an emergency landing after the engine failure in Philadelphia.

The pilot of the aircraft, Tammie Jo Shults, was praised for her actions during the crisis. At 32,000 feet, she kept the plane steady as she planned the emergency descent — not long after the flight had departed LaGuardia International Airport.

Passenger Diana McBride Self wrote on Facebook, “Her grace and knowledge under pressure were remarkable. She came through the plane personally to check on us after she landed our crippled airplane. … We were truly all in amazing hands.”