On Sunday, June 2nd, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reportedly over 300 of Boeing’s 737 planes, including many 737 MAX aircraft, may have faulty parts on their wings. According to CNBC, the agency reports that as many as 148 parts manufactured by a Boeing supplier could be “susceptible to premature failure or cracks”.
The issue has to do with the aircraft’s “slat tracks”. Located on the front wing, slats are pieces that move along a track to create lift. These parts play a key role during take-off and landing. Boeing says it believes 20 737 MAX and 21 737 NG planes may have defective slat tracks. However, the issue may affect up to 133 NG (Next-Generation) and 179 MAX aircraft worldwide and will also require inspection.
The company found the problem last Friday, while Boeing representatives were meeting with the parts supplier in question. Employees of Boeing made the discovery that some of the parts were not heat treated. This led them to suspect that there may be a safety issue as a result.
In a statement, the FAA said the following:
“[while] the 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 flight.”
Airworthiness directive issued
Will not delay MAX software update
An FAA spokesman reports that this issue should not delay the planned submission of Boeing’s software update and training revisions for its 737 MAX. However, it is still not clear when the updates and revisions will go to the FAA.
According to the CBC, Boeing said it had completed its software upgrade last Month, but was still working to address information requests coming from the FAA. This must happen before a certification test flight can take place.
Several days to complete
Boeing and the FAA are saying that no known incidents related to the tracks on operating flights have arisen and that the fix should take a several days to complete.
CNN is reporting that the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Kevin McAllister said the following:
“We are committed to supporting our customers in every way possible as they identify and replace these potentially non-conforming tracks,”
Boeing came under fire recently for poor production. In April a story broke regarding 787s coming out of their South Carolina facility.