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Southwest sends engine blades to GE for further inspection



Southwest Airlines Co. announced that it had sent some aircraft engine rotor blades to the manufacturer for inspection, although the carrier's inspection did not reveal any errors, such as a flight last month

The carrier completed the inspection on 35,500 blades said Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly at the airline's annual general meeting on Wednesday in Annapolis, Maryland. "The results were zero, which is obviously good news."

However, "several dozen" blades were sent to General Electric Co. for further investigation, he told reporters after the meeting.

Destroying the Flight The CFM56-7B engine has global implications as the model, built by a joint venture between GE and the French Safran SA, is one of the world's most popular models. Before such plants are approved by aviation authorities, manufacturers must demonstrate that failed rotor blades do not cause much damage when released.

On April 1

7, a shovel on flight 1380 shot from New York to Dallas, destroying an engine and sending metal flying. A piece broke a window and a woman was partially sucked out before being pulled back into it. Her death was the first passenger death of the airline due to an accident.

Additional Testing

Kelly said he did not expect that investigation will raise issues. "GE's inspection log will identify a crack before it enters the error phase," he said. While the airline uses ultrasonic crack detection tests, GE can perform electromagnetic checks.

Some of the blades sent to GE had coating abnormalities reported by Mike Van de Ven, Chief Operating Officer, and were forwarded "with great caution"

Independently, US regulators ordered inspections within 90 days on Wednesday the rotor blades have completed at least 20,000 flights – earlier than the original deadline. Failure to comply could lead to unsafe conditions, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The accelerated schedule was based on the results of the 1380 flight investigation.

Southwest has already gone beyond the inspectorate-requested inspections and is investigating blades on all of its CFM56-7B engines, the 703 of the Company's 717 aircraft Dallas carrier operate. The airline said last month that a broken blade was discovered and replaced during last year's reviews.

Read more: What happens in an aircraft crash?

Southwest canceled 550 flights to complete its enhanced inspections after committing to get them done within 30 days of the accident. The airline said a drop in post-accident bookings could cost as much as $ 100 million.

Kelly said that several security incidents, including a broken window and a cabin under pressure during flight, did not create the perception that the airline was unsafe.

"But we have to work hard to earn the trust of our customers every day," he said. "Obviously this was a dark time for us."

The failure of Flight 1380 began with a rift that gradually spread under the load of several flights, which allowed the blade to disengage. He bounced forward and collided with the engine inlet, tearing it and sending shrapnel into the hull and a wing of the Boeing Co. 737.

The shovel was inspected seven times since the end of 2012, but now under command without the sophisticated technology of the airlines To use, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report.


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