NTSB Announces Hearing On Southwest Engine Failure

July 24, 2018

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The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will hold an investigative hearing in November on the failure of a CFM International engine on a Southwest Boeing 737 flight in April.

The one day hearing will focus on the CFM56-7 series engine’s fan blade design and development history; inspection methods and procedures; and fan blade containment design and certification criteria, NTSB said.

“This was the first fatal accident involving a US Part 121 air carrier in almost 10 years,” NTSB Director John DeLisi said. “This hearing will be an important part of determining why this tragedy occurred and will provide investigators important factual data regarding the engine fan blade and engine inlet design and certification.”

The April 17 incident, where one passenger died, was caused by a midair failure of a CFM-56-B engine after the aircraft left New York’s LaGuardia Airport on a flight to Dallas Love Field. The 737-700 diverted to Philadelphia where it made a safe emergency landing.

Of the 144 passengers and five crew on board the flight, eight passengers received minor injuries in addition to the single fatality.

As a result of the incident, the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency issued emergency airworthiness directives requiring operators to inspect fan blades on older CFM56-7B engines. The inspections were subsequently extended to other CFM56s.