Another 38 Boeing 737s are being removed from service for repairs. This time, the problem is structural cracks. The FAA had ordered inspections of all 737 NG airliners, the predecessor of the 737 Max now grounded worldwide, Reuters reports. The Max does not have the cracking problem. Of the 810 NG models examined, 38 need parts repaired or replaced—about a 5% failure rate. The FAA said last week that inspectors would look for "cracking of the left and right hand side outboard chords of frame fittings and failsafe straps." The part helps keep the wings connected to the fuselage, per MarketWatch. The problem could damage the planes' structural integrity and lead to a loss of control, the FAA warned.
The inspection order applied to planes with 30,000 or more flights. Many more planes that have been used less will be inspected next, per the AP; production of the model began in the mid-1990s. The FAA and international safety regulators are working on finding the cause of the cracks. Boeing won't name the airlines affected by repairs, but Southwest said it owns two of the planes with cracks. The manufacturer said it's coming up with a plan for the repairs, which could take weeks. (Boeing 737 Max flights could resume in January.)