Why are new jet engines generally becoming more unreliable?

Is routine maintenance being governed by the airlines’ accounting departments?

Sen. Chuck Schumer said last week that the fatal accident on Southwest reveals a steep, troublesome drop in federal enforcement actions over aviation maintenance.

As the recent 60 Minutes segment on Allegiant Air reported, the FAA in general has reduced its emphasis on enforcement.

Since the Southwest engine failure, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive that requires airlines to inspect the fan blades of certain 737 engines.

There are more than 8,000 of these CFM56-7B engines in operation. Based on the criterion of 30,000 or more takeoff-and-landing cycles, the engine maker estimates 352 engines in the U.S. and 681 worldwide will need ultrasonic inspection in the next 20 days. A less-urgent schedule applying to newer engines is recommended by the manufacturer.

 

Southwest has declined to answer questions about its inspection program, including how many engines were inspected before the accident, whether problems turned up and whether the engine that failed had been inspected prior to failure.

Until last week’s fatality, no passenger had died in an accident during Southwest’s 47-year history. But the airline has paid millions over the past decade to settle safety violations, including fines for flying planes that didn’t receive required repairs.

Does that sound like Southwest has been putting passengers at risk?

Is Southwest obliged to announce results of their engine inspections?

If a few cracks were found, will Southwest publicly admit to this and that emergency inspections ordered by the FAA probably spared further damage and lives?

Probably not.

It appears the FAA directive does not contain a reporting requirement. See (i):

This helps prove the point that the FAA is too close to the airlines.

Let’s assume that they announce no other engines had the same problems. That would lead us to believe that Southwest just suffered a one-off accident that will never happen again.

There has been numerous articles proving Southwest pushed back against inspections that were called for last year.

The airline opposed a recommendation by the engine manufacturer to require ultrasonic inspections of certain fan blades within 12 months.

That is negligent.

We call on Southwest and the FAA to release the findings.

 

Resistance is Futile

This video has several lessons:

  • Don’t refuse instructions of flight crew to deplane
  • Don’t resist arrest

These are both crimes.

Conversely, if you are assaulted on-board, don’t keep silent.

Immediate outcry is often the best way to get attention and action by the flight crew and have witnesses.
Sexual assault and other passenger misbehavior is likely becoming more common due to overcrowded conditions and alcohol consumption or drug use.

Read More: Sexual misconduct on planes: You may want to be part of this one

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