Of 810 B737 NGs inspected, 38 have been found to have structural cracks requiring repair and replacement of the cracked parts. This key structural piece attaches the fuselage and wing and bears and helps manage aerodynamic loads.
Both Southwest Airlines and Gol Airlines grounded approximately 13 aircraft last week after the inspections. So far, American and United reported no cracks.
The FAA AD says the inspections should look for “cracking of the left and right hand side outboard chords of frame fittings and failsafe straps…[that] could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane and result in loss of control of the airplane.” Close to 2000 U.S. 737 NGs are included in the AD.
The FAA released this statement:
“The FAA is in contact with Boeing and the U.S. operators of certain Boeing 737 NG aircraft covered by mandatory inspections for structural cracks. A small number of aircraft based in the United States have been removed from service while Boeing develops instructions for customers to repair or replace the affected parts. The agency is working with the manufacturer and other international aviation safety regulators to better understand the factors that led to the formation of the cracks. The FAA will continue to monitor thesituation and will consider additional action as necessary.