US aviation authority orders inspection of Boeing 737s

The US Federal Aviation Agency plans to inspect more than a thousand Boeing 737 airplanes to check for corrosion on certain pins that could compromise safety, according to a notice on the Federal Register.

Three Boeing 737-800 fusalages sit in production at the Boeing Wichita plant. (AFP/Larry W. Smith)

NEW YORK: The US Federal Aviation Agency plans to inspect more than a thousand Boeing 737 airplanes to check for corrosion on certain pins that could compromise safety, according to a notice on the Federal Register.

In the document, dated April 15, the agency said it had been informed of an “incorrect procedure used to apply the wear and corrosion protective surface coating to attach pins of the horizontal stabiliser rear spar.”

The parts will need to be inspected and, in problem cases, replaced “to prevent premature failure of the attach pins, which could cause reduced structural integrity … resulting in loss of control of the airplane.”

The notice did not mention any incident so far resulting from the faulty parts.

It stated that the “airworthiness directive,” issued in accordance with Boeing, will take effect on May 20 and “affects 1,050 airplanes of US registry.”

The 737, a single aisle jet is Boeing’s most popular model, with more than 10,000 planes sold.

An FAA spokesman told AFP the agency “occasionally” publishes such directives “that affect significant numbers of aircraft.”

Boeing was not immediately available for comment.

The affected planes include the 600, 700, 700C, 800, 900, and 900ER models of the 737.

The FAA estimates that the operation could cost as much as $10 million to US airlines, but a part of the cost could be covered by the manufacturers’ warranty.

Sourced from Channel News Asia


American Airlines inspects aircraft for loose seats

American Airlines inspects aircraft for loose seats

American Airlines has expanded inspections for loose seats to almost 50 of its Boeing 757s after finding improperly secured units on a second aircraft.

Two 757s made unplanned landings between Saturday and Monday because a row of seats on each aircraft became dislodged in midair.

Four additional aircraft had “improper fitting hardware” that over time “could have led to a dislodged seat,” an airline spokeswoman said. Any aircraft in need of repairs will be taken out of service, American said.

The US Federal Aviation Administration said the two aircraft that prompted the probe recently had seats removed and reinstalled.

The airline found improperly secured passenger seats on a total of six aircraft and attributed the problem to incorrectly installed clamps.

The carrier said yesterday that it had expanded its inspection to 47 aircraft overall “out of an abundance of caution”. Eleven aircraft are left to be checked over the next 24 hours, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Qantas finds ‘type two’ cracks on two A380s

By:   Mavis Toh Singapore

Qantas Airways has discovered “type two” cracks on two of its Airbus A380 aircraft and is now in talks with the airframer the cost implications of repairs.

The carrier found “fewer than 10” cracks on the wing-rib feet on the affected aircraft, a spokesman said.

The cracks were discovered on aircraft VH-OQA and VH-OQB, in February and March, respectively, after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) ordered checks on the worldwide fleet of A380s.

VH-OQB has since been returned to service while VH-OQA, the same aircraft that suffered an uncontained engine failure near Singapore in November 2010, is still undergoing tests.

“We are in discussions with Airbus about the cost implications of the inspection and repair requirements,” says Qantas.

The spokesman adds that Qantas continues to comply fully with the EASA airworthiness directive mandating inspections on A380 wing-rib feet and that the cracks pose no risks to the safety of the affected aircraft.

The Australian carrier grounded another A380 – VH-OQF – last month after 36 cracks were found on the wing-rib feet.

On 8 March, Airbus parent EADS said it had made a €105 million ($138 million) provision to cover the cost of repairs to the initial 67 A380s in service.

No mention was made of any provision for compensation and the airframer could not immediately indicate whether there would be additional costs arising from manufacturing changes.

Emirates is also seeking compensation from the aircraft manufacturer for the disruption to its operations caused by the discovery of the cracks on 10 of its A380s.

Sourced by Flightglobal

Cracks force Qantas A380 out of service

Qantas has taken one of its Airbus A380 superjumbos out of service after cracks were discovered in its wings.

The carrier said Airbus has confirmed to the airline that the cracks do not pose a threat to safety.

They are different from the type of cracks discovered in the wings of some A380s last month that prompted a European Aviation Safety Agency directive, Qantas said.

Airbus requested precautionary inspections of the Qantas aircrfat’s wings after it ran into severe turbulence above India in early January.

“During these inspections minor cracking has been found on some wing rib feet,” a Qantas spokeswoman said. This cracking is not related to the turbulence, or specific to Qantas, but is traced back to a manufacturing issue, she said.

Qantas said it expects to have the aircraft back in service within a week.

The airline last month found “minor” cracks on another one of its A380s. The spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswires that the “type two” cracking that prompted the airworthiness directive had not been found on Qantas aircraft.

Airbus has consistently said that the double-deck aircraft remains safe.

It said in late last month that the cracks that prompted the airworthiness directive stem from design and production issues, not structural fatigue from flying, but don’t indicate deeper problems with the plane.

The European Aviation Safety Agency in January ordered inspections of 20 of the 68 A380s in service.

Sourced from Travel Weekly