Several Boeing 737 NGs have reportedly been inspected and found to have cracking in them. The part in question is often referred to as a pickle fork and is part of the attaching infrastructure of the wing to the fuselage. This part is designed to take stress, torque and general aerodynamic forces that occur during all phases of flight including the bending and torqueing resulting from lift.
The part is supposed to last the lifetime of the aircraft, upwards of 90,000 cycles. It should not develop cracks during the lifetime of the aircraft. An anonymous Boeing engineer is reportedly saying that these occurrences are extremely unusual and that the part should not crack in the way that is being seen. It is also concerning that it is being seen so early in the life of the plane.
Boeing reported the issue to the FAA after finding one aircraft with the cracking. Subsequently, other aircraft were found with similar issues. Those familiar with the criticality of the part say this is not good news and that it is urgent to do a thorough investigation to ensure the integrity of these parts throughout the fleet. There are four pickle forks in each 737 NG.
This is a developing story.