Boeing Released Warning AD On 737 NG Bolt Folowing Air China Plane Fire


Following the accident of China Airlines on 20 August caused by a loose bolt moving away from its place, piercing through the fuel tank resulting fuel leakage that ignited and exploded only a few moments later passengers could all leave the aicraft, FAA and Boeing released an Emergency Airworthyness Directive (AD) to all owners and operators of Boeing 737 600s, 700s, 800s and 900s (737 NG – New Generation aircrafts) – there are more than 780 of the affected planes registered to US airlines and another 1,500 flying elsewhere around the world.

In the background information of the AD we can read “We have received reports of parts of the main slat track downstop assembly coming off the main slat track.” Not only the China Airlines case is mentioned. There are references to more cases.

The directive says all owners and operators are responsible “for having the actions required by this AD performed within the compliance times specified, unless the actions have already been done.” The airlines and operators have 24 days for checking all involved aircrafts. It is not a major check though. Malev for example will have to spend a total of only 8 man hours on checking all of their 18 737 NG aircrafts.

The way this check needs to be performed is described in a surprisingly detailed way. E.g: “An intensive examination of a specific item, installation, or assembly to detect damage, failure, or irregularity. Available lighting is normally supplemented with a direct source of good lighting at an intensity deemed appropriate. Inspection aids such as mirror, magnifying lenses, etc., may be necessary. Surface cleaning and elaborate procedures may be required.”

Explanation how the slat bolt needs to be checked

Such ADs released by FAA are officially mandatory for aircraft operators in the USA. Airliner operators all over the world usually consider all those warnings mandatory, which are released by the national Air Safety Authorities of the plane manufacturer’s state. In this particular case as Boeing is a US manufacturer, the FAA warning will be taken over as mandatory by all operators of 737 NG’s, and in general foreign aviation safety authorities usually follow FAA recommendations. On top of the FAA release, Boeing has issued its own warning to all NG operators directly, on 25AUG as well.

For detailed information see FAA’s website.

By Szafi
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1 Response to “Boeing Released Warning AD On 737 NG Bolt Folowing Air China Plane Fire”


  1. 1 balint01 August 31, 2007 at 10:30 am

    In the news today (quote from ATW): “US FAA shortened the time airlines have to carry out detailed inspections of 737NG main slat track downstop assemblies from 24 days to 10 days, citing “additional reports” of parts coming off assemblies.”


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