U.S. safety board wants Boeing to redesign 737 NG part after fatal Southwest accident

By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday called on Boeing Co to redesign the fan cowl structure on all 737 NG planes and retrofit existing planes after an April 2018 incident in which a woman was killed on a Southwest Airlines plane due to an engine failure caused by a broken fan blade. The board said the U.S.

Reuters November 20, 2019 01:06:56 IST
U.S. safety board wants Boeing to redesign 737 NG part after fatal Southwest accident

US safety board wants Boeing to redesign 737 NG part after fatal Southwest accident

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday called on Boeing Co to redesign the fan cowl structure on all 737 NG planes and retrofit existing planes after an April 2018 incident in which a woman was killed on a Southwest Airlines plane due to an engine failure caused by a broken fan blade.

The board said the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration should require Boeing to determine the fan blade impact location or locations on the engine fan case and redesign the structure to minimize the potential of a catastrophic failure. The board did not fault Boeing's analysis in the mid-1990s when it developed the plane.

The NTSB had been investigating a 2016 engine failure on another Southwest 737-700 at the time of the fatal incident. The incidents in both flights were what is known as a "fan blade out" (FBO) event.

Boeing said Tuesday it will work to implement improvements that address the NTSB’s safety recommendations, including improvements in "the inlet and fan cowl designs to enhance their ability to withstand an engine fan blade out event."

The FAA did not immediately comment.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt acknowledged the retrofit could be expensive.

"This accident underlines the vulnerability of the fan case to become separated when the fan blade detaches at a location that was not anticipated," Sumwalt said after the hearing.

The NTSB did not call for the planes to be grounded and noted that airlines are now inspecting the fan blades on a more regular basis.

Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said the airline would review the NTSB’s recommendations and work "with the manufacturers to prevent this type of event from ever happening again."

Jennifer Riordan of New Mexico, a 43-year-old Wells Fargo vice president and mother of two, was killed after the engine exploded and shattered a plane window on Flight 1380. She was the first person killed in a U.S. passenger airline accident since 2009.

The accident occurred 20 minutes into the flight when a fan blade fractured as a result of a fatigue crack on a Boeing 737-700 jet powered by two CFM International CFM56-7B engines after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. The plane, bound for Dallas, diverted to Philadelphia International Airport. Eight of the 144 passengers suffered minor injuries.

The board noted that there are 14,600 CFM56-7B engines in service with 356,000 fan blades on the Boeing planes, with 400 million flights over more than two decades and two reported engine failures.

Tammie Jo Shults, the flight's captain, recounted in her book "Nerves of Steel" published last month, that the engine explosion felt "like we've been T-boned by a Mack truck." She said that the 737-700 rolled to the left and pulled into a dive, but that she and the co-pilot were able to level off the plane.

The engine on the plane's left side spewed bits of metal when it blew apart, shattering a window and causing rapid cabin depressurisation, the NTSB said. In 2018, the NTSB said two passengers eventually pulled Riordan, who was buckled into her seat, back inside the plane.

CFM International, the engine manufacturer, is a transatlantic joint venture between General Electric Co and France's Safran SA .

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski Editing by Gerry Doyle, Alex Richardson and Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

France confirms it will read black boxes of downed Ukrainian jet, Canada to help
World

France confirms it will read black boxes of downed Ukrainian jet, Canada to help

By Tim Hepher and David Ljunggren PARIS/OTTAWA (Reuters) - France said on Friday it would download the black boxes from a Ukrainian airliner downed by an Iranian missile in January, easing a stand-off over where they should be read. France's BEA crash investigation agency said it was acting at the request of Iran, which remains responsible under global rules for conducting a formal accident probe after acknowledging that the Boeing 737 was downed by its forces

Texas and Florida crack down on bars, reversing coronavirus reopening
World

Texas and Florida crack down on bars, reversing coronavirus reopening

By Brad Brooks LUBBOCK, Texas (Reuters) - With new coronavirus cases surging in Texas and Florida, officials in both states on Friday ordered bars to close again and imposed tighter restrictions on restaurants, setting back efforts to reopen their economies. Governor Greg Abbott gave bars in Texas until midday Friday to shut, while Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation told bars to immediately stop serving alcohol on their premises

U.S. Senate backs bill to punish China over Hong Kong
World

U.S. Senate backs bill to punish China over Hong Kong

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that back efforts by China to restrict Hong Kong's autonomy, pushing back against Beijing's new security law for the city. The measure also includes secondary sanctions on banks that do business with anyone found to be backing any crackdown on the territory's autonomy, potentially cutting them off from American counterparts and limiting access to U.S.