FAA Orders Emergency Inspections Of 352 Engines Following Deadly Southwest Incident

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The Southwest Airlines aircraft, which was flying from NY to Dallas and had 149 passengers on board, was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year old bank executive and mother of two from New Mexico, died in the Tuesday incident after she was partially sucked out of the plane when a window blew out.

A NTSB inspection crew was also combing over the Boeing 737-700 for signs of what caused the engine to explode.

Friday's announcement came shortly after the engine manufacturer, CFM International, issued a service bulletin recommending the CFM56-7B engine be inspected more frequently.

Engine maker CFM, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran, issued a service bulletin recommending stepped-up checks because the fan blades on the engine that failed on Tuesday would not have been covered for immediate inspections under the previous standards.

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A similar accident on a Southwest flight in August 2016 forced a plane, equipped with the same engine, to make an emergency landing. Fellow passengers pulled the woman back in and attempted to revive her.

The emergency airworthiness directive will require airlines to perform an ultrasonic inspection of certain CFM56-7B engines within 20 days of receipt of the order, it said. On Tuesday, debris broke through one of cabin windows, and one passenger died as a result. It was the first death in a USA commercial aviation accident since 2009. The metal fatigue would not have been observable by looking at the engine from the outside, Sumwalt said.

Riordan died Tuesday after plane's engine exploded, sending shrapnel through a window. The directive stipulates that these inspections must be completed within the next 20 days. It was the second time this kind of engine had failed on a Southwest jet in the past two years, prompting airlines around the world to step up inspections.

The Dallas-based airline agreed with that timeline, but CFM International said it should only take 12 months.

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