Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ANOTHER Southwest flight is forced to land as cracks are found in FIVE more planes after government ordered emergency checks on passenger jets 5th Apr

Southwest Airlines's woes show no signs of stopping as yet another flight was forced to land shortly after take off due to an unknown fault.

The flight carrying 103 passengers which was travelling from Oakland to Denver returned almost immediately after a wing slat warning light made the pilot decide it was safer to turn around.

The latest problem came at the same time the airline revealed the extent of the damage done to the Boeing 737-300 which was forced to land on Friday after a hole 'exploded' through the cabin, causing the pressure to drop radically.

During a news conference in Washington today, officials at the National Transportation Safety Board displayed the damaged panel which tore open at 34,000 feet, 20 minutes after take off.

A company official said Boeing was surprised that the section had ripped open in flight because the plane wasn't old enough to be worrisome.

The engineers did not expect to see the cracks because they thought they had designed the joints that hold the 737-300's aluminium skin in place to be more robust.

They believe the planes would not need inspections for at least 60,000 pressurization cycles, the number of times that a plane takes off and lands.

The company hadn't even issued inspection specifications because none of the planes involved were anywhere near that old. The jet on Friday was 15 years old and had logged 39,000 cycles.

Boeing chief 737 engineer Paul Richter said: 'I would say that it's regrettable that we had to accelerate our plans to recommend inspections based on an event of this nature. Read More