The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered an inspection of more than 1,000 U.S.-registered 737’s jets to examine a potentially faulty part on the tail fin, which could cause pilots to lose control of the aircraft if it failed.
“We are issuing this [airworthiness directive] to prevent premature failure of the attach pins, which could cause reduced structural integrity of the horizontal stabiliser to fuselage attachment, resulting in loss of control of the airplane,” the FAA said.
The FAA said the inspection was “prompted by reports of an incorrect procedure used to apply the wear and corrosion protective surface coating to attach pins of the horizontal stabilizer rear spar.”
For its part, Boeing said this FAA Airworthiness Directive (AD) had been planned for some time and follows a standard federal process which has been underway over the last year. “This AD is not linked to any in-service event but rather a finding of a surface finish degradation on recently installed attachment pins.
“The AD requires inspection and possible replacement of the pins by 56,000 flight cycles. This long compliance time for accomplishing the work specified in the AD and Service Bulletin documents does not require immediate action for any currently flying 737s. The 737NG currently flying with the most cycles is at 40,000 flight cycles,” Boeing said in a statement.
By Ivan Paredes