This Website use Cookies OK

Read more U.S. News

Cracks found in wing supports of Boeing 737 NG, prompting FAA to order airlines to inspect planes


The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered airlines to inspect certain models of Boeing 737 Next Generation planes after cracks were found in wing supports of one during an inspection.

After being notified of the issue by Boeing, the FAA ordered the inspections for cracks, KOMO News reported.

“Boeing notified the agency of the matter after it discovered the cracks while conducting modifications on a heavily used aircraft. Subsequent inspections uncovered similar cracks in a small number of additional planes,” the FAA said in a statement to USA Today.

Severe cracks were discovered in what’s known as the “pickle fork” — which attaches the plane’s body to the wings, KOMO News reported, citing unnamed officials. Pickle forks are built to last the plane’s entire life cycle — more than 90,000 takeoffs and landings — with no cracks.

Engineers discovered the faulty wing support during an inspection of a plane that had logged only around a third of its life cycle, around 35,000 cycles.

“Safety and quality are our top priorities," a Boeing spokesperson told the Daily News in a statement. “Boeing has notified the FAA and been in contact with 737NG operators about a cracking issue discovered on a small number of airplanes undergoing modifications. No in-service issues have been reported. Over the coming days, we will work closely with our customers to implement a recommended inspection plan for certain airplanes in the fleet. This issue does not affect any 737 MAX airplanes or the P-8 Poseidon.”

The issue with Boeing’s 737 NG models comes amid ongoing problems with the 737 MAX, after two plane crashes killed a total of 346 people in five months. Boeing 737 MAX planes were grounded beginning in March as the company works to fix issues with model.

Some companies like American Airlines have extended groundings of the 737 MAX until early December.

Southwest Airlines announced in late July it would halt service out of Newark airport as of Nov. 3 because of limited availability of planes as the MAX remains grounded. In late August, the airline said MAX planes will remain grounded until Jan. 5, 2020 — an extension from the previous Nov. 3 estimate.