Finally waking up after its year and half long nap, the FAA decided to follow the lead of the manufacturer and order an immediate inspection of certain CFM-56 engines that power Boeing 737 aircraft.
The Emergency Airworthiness Directive which should have been issued days after the uncontained failure of the fan of another Southwest Airlines B-737 over the Gulf of Mexico in 2016, requires inspections of certain engines which have accumulated 30,000 cycles, off and on equal one cycle, and repeated inspections every 3000 cycles.
Engines which have accumulated 20,000 cycles must be inspected by August.
That tells me that the manufacturer already had the data to support the Emergency A.D. and that the extended time period requested by the airlines to comply with the long proposed A.D. here in the U.S. was even more unwarranted and outrageous.
Nothing has been said about reviewing the engineering and testing data on the engine nacelles which have proved themselves incapable of containing such engine failures, a very dangerous design flaw.
This accident and the break neck speed that it took the regulatory authorities to get moving once again demonstrates that from an engineering standpoint no one has to die or be injured before an airplane is fixed or a safety problem is identified, but the business model of the airlines and the attitude of Government makes it necessary that there be deaths or injuries before they are willing to do anything in a timely manner.
There needs to be a change of culture in this industry because one death is too many when it could have been easily prevented.
Arthur Alan Wolk
April 21st, 2018