FAA expands area to inspect for cracks in Boeing 737 NG planes

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Tuesday it is revising its order requiring checks for structural cracks of Boeing (NYSE:) 737 NG planes to cover an expanded inspection area.

The FAA first said in late September it was ordering checks for cracks on what is known as the “pickle fork,” a part that attaches the plane’s fuselage, or body, to the wing structure with checks required on planes with heavier usage within seven days. Boeing said last week that just over 1,000 airplanes to date have needed inspections and less than 5 percent have been found to have cracks.

The FAA said in a notice it is now expanding the inspection to the area around eight fasteners. Southwest Airlines Co (N:) has found cracks in three airplanes and taken them out of service pending repairs.

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