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Emergency checks on planes in US and Europe after Southwest accident

Emergency checks on planes in US and Europe after Southwest accident

The move comes after the engine on Southwest Airlines flight 1380 exploded in midair on Tuesday.

The EAD applies to certain CFM56-7B engines, specifically those that have been used for more than 30,000 total cycles.

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 engine manufacturer estimates today's corrective action affects 352 engines in the USA and 681 engines worldwide. The European agency had given airlines nine months to check engines, while U.S. regulators still were considering what to do.

The FAA and EASA directives arrived on the same afternoon which the engine manufacturer, CFM worldwide, issued a service bulletin advocating the CFM56-7B engine be inspected more frequently. Other passengers pulled the victim back in but the 43-year-old bank executive and mother of two died from her injuries after being struck by shrapnel from the shredded engine.

Each inspection of the engines, which power Boeing 737 aircraft, takes about four hours, according to CFM International, a joint venture between America's GE Aviation and France's Safran Aircraft Engines. The jet, which was headed from NY to Dallas, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. A ring created to contain engine components and prevent them from penetrating vulnerable parts of the plane in the event of failure was apparently ineffective.

The NTSB will look into how an interior crack on a fan blade led to the engine failure.

It says about 150 of the engines have already gone through the process.

In March, an Arik flight from Lagos to Accra, Ghana, made an emergency landing after the pilot detected a smoke in the cabin.

An initial investigation found evidence of metal fatigue where a fan blade had broken off. Investigators point to a hidden interior crack on the fan blade as the culprit.

That directive was anticipated to impact 220 engines, although in a comment responding to the FAA proposal Southwest said the number of engines that would need to be tested was well beyond that number, because it didn't track the wear on the individual fan blades in engines.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Thursday said it is in touch with its United States counterpart, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to see what needs to be done in India following the recent incident on Southwest Boeing 737. The existing Southwest Airlines maintenance program meets or exceeds all the requirements specified in the Airworthiness Directive.

The new inspection is to be done while the engine is on the aircraft's wing.

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