This morning the Federal Aviation Administration issued the somewhat confusing proposed Airworthiness Directive (AD) below for Boeing 737 aircraft, which are used on some flights to Hawaii by Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. “The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.”
We’ll chime in only to say that if there was any urgent danger, seemingly the FAA would have stepped in immediately with an emergency directive, and not given 30 days to respond. In their notice of proposed rulemaking, the FAA said that the Boeing 737 Next Generation airliners listed below, including those used for Hawaii, are included.
It isn’t clear how these repairs will impact any Hawaii flights, whether aircraft will need to be out of service, or how long it will take to comply with an upcoming AD.
Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are not a part of this proposed airworthiness directive.
The FAA said that the proposed AD was based on “an evaluation by the design approval holder (DAH) indicating that the skin lap splice at certain stringers is subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD).”
Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, also used by each of the same airlines, are not a part of the proposed directive.
The proposed AD would require inspection for any needed repair at “certain skin lap splices and depending on the configuration, repetitive inspections for buckling, wrinkling, bulging at affected skin lap splices and repair, repetitive inspections for cracking at affected locations common to fuselage skin on the left and right sides and repair, and alternative inspections and on-condition actions.”
The FAA is seeking comments on the proposed AD no later than December 27, 2022.
Aircraft used on Hawaii flights are subject to the proposed airworthiness directive.
- Boeing 737-700
- Boeing 737-800
- Boeing 737-900
Other variants are also included that do not pertain to Hawaii flights.
What is an airworthiness directive?
When issued, Airworthiness Directives are legally enforceable rules issued by the FAA to correct an unsafe condition in an aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance.
An AD is considered a notification to the airlines that a known safety deficiency exists and must be corrected. Unless complied with, the aircraft in question are no longer considered airworthy. Thus, it is mandatory for an aircraft operator to comply with an AD.FAADirective737