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Engine inspection demand is widened

The FAA sends out a new emergency directive for the inspection of fan blades in CFM56-7B engines.

A new emergency airworthiness directive for the further inspection of fan blades in CFM56-7B engines has been published in the US, it is being reported.

It is the latest in a series of proclamations by US Federal Aviation Administration following the fatal accident on a Southwest Airlines flight in April in which a passenger died after an engine disintegrated causing debris to pierce the fuselage.

European regulators have already demanded that 680 of the engines being used worldwide are inspected within 20 days on Boeing 737 NG aircraft, according to Reuters.

The new directive from the FAA requires initial and repetitive inspections of fan blades depending on how much they have been used.

Operators will have to make an initial inspection of each fan blade before it reaches 20,000 cycles since first used, or within 113 days, whichever is later. The inspection must be repeated after no more than 3,000 further cycles.

A total of 3,716 engines in the US are affected by the new order, the FAA estimates, and the cost of the inspections is estimated at $170 per engine – or $631,720 in total.

Failure risk
The original directive of April 20 ordered inspections of engines with 30,000 or more flight cycles. Since then, the FAA says it has been working closely with CFM “to develop an additional compliance plan to address the risk of fan blade failure for the entire CFM56-7B fleet.”

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