Here's what happened on the fatal Southwest Airlines flight

Cuba set for new era without a Castro at the helm                         Read more

Cuba set for new era without a Castro at the helm Read more

The plane, a Boeing 737 bound from NY to Dallas with 149 people aboard, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

The documents, which are on a US federal website and were viewed by Reuters, reveal the wrangling over previously proposed safety checks on CFM engines that are now the focus of investigations following a fatal engine explosion this week.

That, in turn, is making it harder for investigators to be certain whether the engine that exploded on a Boeing 737 on Tuesday was part of a group being targeted for inspection, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). "Right now, we just want to document everything that we can".

"This was an internal metal fatigue area", Sumwalt continued.

The plane made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport.

The NTSB has released pictures of the debris that rained down on a golf course. The passenger compartment wasn't penetrated, but the cabin did decompress.

"They will begin to examine the inspection records for this engine and specifically for this fan section, these fan blades to understand the inspection history and what type of inspections were conducted", Sumwalt said.

Women aviators were excluded from combat missions until the month after Shults got off active duty in March 1993, but Flanders said Shults flew during Operation Desert Storm trainings as an aggressor enemy pilot.

Manufacturers regularly inspect engines for hidden cracks using X-ray machines or ultrasound devices - the same kind of technology doctors use to check the health of expectant mothers.

The objections from Southwest and other airlines stem partly from the fact that carriers, while highly regulated, are not required to track each individual fan blade within an engine.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday it would order inspection of some 220 jet engines after investigators said a broken fan blade touched off the engine explosion that shattered a window and killed Riordan.

The move by the Federal Aviation Administration comes almost a year after the engine manufacturer recommended the additional inspections, and a month after European regulators ordered their airlines to do the work. An ultrasonic inspection of engine was scheduled to take place this December.

On Wednesday, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said the incident began when one of the engine's 24 fan blades snapped off from its hub. An engine cycle lasts from when an engine starts until it shuts down.

"The accelerated checks are ultrasonic inspections of fan blades of the CFM56 engines", Southwest's statement reads.

"There did not seem to be an urgency" at the FAA to finalize the inspections, he said. It won't be clear until the FAA issues its rule how many will need inspections.

Sumwalt said they have not determined the age of the engine.

The FAA said Wednesday evening it will issue a directive within two weeks requiring inspections of certain CFM56-7B engines. That incident prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to propose previous year that similar fan blades undergo ultrasonic inspections and be replaced if they failed. That covers more than 700 737s, including more than 500 737-700s. In a statement on its website, the company said: "The CFM56-7B engine powering this aircraft has compiled an outstanding safety and reliability record since entering revenues service in 1997 while powering more than 6,700 aircraft worldwide".

The CFM56 is arguably one of the safest and most popular jet engines in the world, with more than 30,000 units produced since 1980, and it's used on both civilian and military aircraft.

The left engine inlet separated from the engine during the flight.

A fan disk came apart inside the engine, cutting through the plane's hydraulic system and disabling all flight controls. The plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Further investigation showed that the crack existed at the time of the engine's previous inspection but wasn't detected.

Sumwalt said he could not yet say if the incident, the first deadly airline accident in the United States since 2009, pointed to a fleet-wide issue in the Boeing 737-700.

As for Tuesday's incident, "The NTSB and the FAA are going to be looking very closely at the sequence of events that led up to this accident", Gogila said. "There have been occasions when the NTSB and the FAA have moved nearly instantaneously, but that's pretty rare".

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