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Alaska Airlines to Inspect 2 Planes For Fatigue Wear

Remainder of Fleet Below Flight Cycle Requirement

April 04, 2011|By Kortnie Horazdovsky | KTUU.com

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Federal Aviation Administration is directing flight operators to inspect early 737 models for fatigue damage after a Southwest flight made an emergency landing when a hole developed in the fuselage in-flight.

Alaska Airlines says it will only have to inspect two of the planes in its fleet. The directive from the FAA applies to early 737 models in the -300, -400 and -500 series with more than 30,000 flight cycles. Alaska Airlines says the inspections will not interrupt its flight schedule.

The airline says its remaining 15 aircraft that fit the model have fewer than 30,000 flight cycles, and will be able to fly for three years or more before reaching that level.

The FAA directive will apply to about 175 aircraft worldwide. After initial inspection, planes will be required to be inspected at regular intervals.

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Planes will be examined with electromagnetic or eddy-current technology, which can detect cracking in a specific part of the aircraft that cannot be caught by a visual inspection.

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