The FAA will issue an Airworthiness Directive (AD) within the next two weeks that will require inspections of certain CFM56-7B engines, a statement released by the agency said. The directive will require an ultrasonic inspection of fan blades when they reach a certain number of takeoffs and landings. Any blades that fail the inspection will have to be replaced.
Southwest Airlines has already announced that it is accelerating its existing engine inspection program relating to the CFM56 engine family. “The accelerated inspections are being performed out of an abundance of caution and are expected to be completed over the next 30 days,” a company statement said. The accelerated checks are ultrasonic inspections of fan blades of the CFM56 engines.
CFM International, maker of the CFM56, is a 50/50 joint company of GE and Safran Aircraft Engines. CFM has sent aircraft engine technicians (about 40 in total) to support Southwest Airlines’ (SWA) accelerated inspection program related to the CFM56-7B engines. “Out of an abundance of caution, the ultrasonic inspections are being conducted on a population of fan blades,” a CFM company statement said.
GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, SWA and Boeing are expected to complete the inspections over the next 30 days.
CFM says it has sent a team of technical representatives to the site to assist the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in its investigation of Tuesday’s event. CFM will support the NTSB and Southwest Airlines in determining the cause of the accident. “CFM and its parent companies, GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, will make every resource necessary available to ensure support,” the company said in a statement.
These initiatives come as a result of Tuesday’s Southwest Airlines uncontained engine failure that killed one passenger and injured several more.