Boeing is finding itself in new trouble after it and the FAA have identified potentially faulty parts fitted on 312 737NGs and MAX aircraft. Following a Service Bulletin by Boeing the FAA will issue an Airworthiness Directive for inspection and replacement of the parts.
The parts are located in the leading edge slat tracks. Boeing and the FAA Certificate Management Office (CMO) determined up to 148 parts manufactured by a Boeing sub-tier supplier that are affected.
“The affected parts may be susceptible to premature failure or cracks resulting from the improper manufacturing process. Although a complete failure of a leading edge slat track would not result in the loss of the aircraft, a risk remains that a failed part could lead to aircraft damage in fight”, the FAA says.
The suspect parts have been traced by Boeing on 32 NG and 20 MAX, although the FAA press release mentions 33 MAX. Another 112 NGs and 159 MAX need checks. In total this makes 312.
Boeing says it is now staging replacement parts at customer bases to help minimize aircraft downtime while the work is completed. “Once the new parts are in hand, the replacement work should take one to two days. Boeing will also issue a safety service bulletin outlining the steps to take during the inspections”.
The FAA will issue an Airworthiness Directive to mandate Boeing’s service actions to identify and remove the discrepant parts from service. Operators of affected aircraft are required to perform this action within 10 days. Other civil aviation authorities have been informed so they can take their own actions.