June 5, 2019
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a statement alerting airlines and international aviation regulators that certain wing parts on more than 300 Boeing 737s may have been improperly manufactured and must be replaced within 10 days.
Both older model 737 NGs and new 737 Max aircraft are affected and there appears to be no connection with the recent fatal Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
The FAA on Sunday said the parts in question are the slat track assemblies, used to guide the movable control surfaces on the leading edge of an airplane’s wings that deploy during takeoff and landing. Manufactured by a Boeing sub-tier supplier, a batch of up to 148 parts with specific lot numbers are affected, the FAA said.
Because the parts have been improperly manufactured, they may not meet regulatory requirements for strength and durability.
“The affected parts may be susceptible to premature failure or cracks,” the FAA said. “Although a complete failure of a leading edge slat track would not result in the loss of the aircraft, a risk remains that a failed part could lead to aircraft damage in flight.”
Boeing said it is issuing a Service Bulletin to 737 operators requiring inspections to identify and remove the faulty parts and the FAA will issue an Airworthiness Directive to mandate these actions be performed within 10 days.
Boeing said it is now staging replacement parts at customer bases to help minimize aircraft downtime while the work is completed. Once the new parts are in hand, the replacement work should take one to two days, Boeing said.
Following an investigation conducted by Boeing and the FAA, the jet manufacturer identified the serial numbers of both 737NG and 737 Max airplanes on which these suspect parts may have been installed.
In a separate statement Sunday, Boeing said it has identified 21 older model 737NGs and 20 new 737 Maxes most likely to have the parts in question. In addition, airlines are advised to check an additional 112 NGs and 159 Maxes.
Of the total of 312 airplanes potentially affected, 32 NGs and 33 Maxes are in the U.S.
Copyright 2019 Spokane Spokesman-Review.
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