Last summer, Southwest tried to kill a rule that would have tightened up engine fan blade inspections


Originally published at:


Cory headline annotation:

Southwest did not recommend “killing a rule”. Southwest, and other airlines, asked that the existing inspection interval remain in place to give them time to inspect.

The reason given was that the FAA’s in house estimate of the total number of affected engines - an estimate that played a part in setting the deadline - was far smaller than the number of engines which would actually require 12-month inspection.



Beat me to it, @doctorow summary is almost the exact opposite of reality. Recommend a rewrite or just kill the article entirely.


Yeah, but let’s not be Disappointed in BoingBoing. This sort of clickbait is endlessly entertaining.


More FUD- It’s still safer flying than driving. And FWIW, Southwest does have a valid point- their entire fleet is nothing but 737s. The engine’s also used on a number of other aircraft, so it’s also not surprising that other airlines challenged it as well.


Relevant, how?


I get thats its going to take time to inspect all those engines, and taking them all out of service now will just put the airline out of business, so they may as well just declare bankruptcy now.

Perhaps Southwest should go for a middle ground position. They could identify seats which are particularly at risk and not sell tickets for them until the blades in those aircraft have been inspected.

Of course that does send a fairly ominous message to passengers on those aircraft.


Nah - fuck that. This whole “dissappinted in boingboing” things has gone from being a half funny joke to being a magic tool to automatically defuse criticism - our own local version of “fake news”.


The broken fan blade (presumably) would have been found out if it had been inspected in time. If there wasn’t time to inspect that fan blade before it killed someone, who should we blame for the accident? The FAA for being such meanies? BoingBoing for botching some story details? My money is on Southwest for not eating the money it would take to make this right.


Reading aviation forums, it looks like the crack started to grow at the back of the blade, and it was out of sight from the front.

So you have to tear the engine down to find the fault. And when you do that you create a risk of injecting brand new faults. One post I saw suggested that this blade may have been deformed for a significant time (seconds?) prior to it breaking away, and all blades deform in operation, by perhaps more than 10mm. So I can imagine an instrument which watches the fan in operation and flags a warning before the blade breaks away.

Thats a new way of doing things, and would’t have been considered feasible when the engines were first designed.


Be vewwy quiet, we’re hunting capitawists!


Well it sounds like the engine manufacturer is the one who was aware of the faults and handed the FAA the timetable and bad data in effected engines while Southwest asked for an extra six months to complete a full inspection like this. Based on what we know the problem is likely on their end more than Southwest’s - especially considering the catastrophic nature of the failure.


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