FAA orders inspection of Boeing 737 tail planes

Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:15am EDT

Visitors chat in front of models of the 777-300ER (L) and 737-8 MAX passenger planes, with a scale of 1:40, at the Boeing booth on the first day of the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Visitors chat in front of models of the 777-300ER (L) and 737-8 MAX passenger planes, with a scale of 1:40, at the Boeing booth on the first day of the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai November 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

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(Reuters) - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered an inspection of more than 1,000 U.S.-registered Boeing (BA.N) 737 jets to examine the tail planes for a potentially faulty part, which it said could cause pilots to lose control of the aircraft if it failed.

The airworthiness directive (AD) issued by the FAA calls on airlines and other operators to replace tail plane fixing pins with improved pins following concerns over how their protective surface coating was applied.

"We are issuing this AD to prevent premature failure of the attach pins, which could cause reduced structural integrity of the horizontal stabilizer to fuselage attachment, resulting in loss of control of the airplane," the FAA said in the directive issued on Monday.

The airworthiness directive was posted on the website of Federal Register (link.reuters.com/pyb47t) and was first reported by the Wall Street Journal late on Sunday.

The FAA said the inspection was "prompted by reports of an incorrect procedure used to apply the wear and corrosion protective surface coating to attach pins of the horizontal stabilizer rear spar."

FAA said its directive affects 1,050 aircraft flown by U.S. carriers and may cost up to $10.1 million across the fleet, or up to $9,627 per aircraft.

The directive applies to models including 737-600, 737-700, 737-700C, 737-800, 737-900, and 737-900ER series aircraft.

Boeing could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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