FAA Orders Industry-Wide Inspection of Planes

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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Following last Friday's Southwest Airlines emergency landing, the Federal Aviation Administration will order an emergency directive requiring inspections of some early-model 737 planes for what it calls "fatigue damage," or damage incurred due to long-term use. The directive would apply to around 175 aircraft around the world, 80 of which are registered in the U.S. “Safety is our No. 1 priority,” said Transportation secretary Ray LaHood in a statement. “Last Friday’s incident was very serious and could result in additional action depending on the outcome of the investigation.” Over the weekend, Southwest voluntarily inspected its 737 fleet and found that three of its planes had subsurface cracks. “The cracks were found during the inspection process which uses a test designed to detect any invisible, subsurface fatigue in the skin,” a statement from Southwest said. “Those aircraft will remain out of service until appropriate repairs can be completed.”

F.A.A. to Order Airlines to Inspect 737s for Cracks [NYT]