US FAA Requires Inspections On Boeing 737 Classic Aircraft

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring US operators of the 737 Classic…

US FAA Requires Inspections On Boeing 737 Classic Aircraft

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring US operators of the 737 Classic series to inspect their aircraft for possible wire failures. This advisory, issued late last week, comes as a result of the investigation of the Sriwijaya Air crash that took place in January 2021.

While the FAA only has jurisdiction over aircraft flying in the US, there are still a number of operators around the world who still use 737 Classic aircraft. Photo: Nikolaiko27 via Wikimedia Commons 

Actions resulting from the January crash in Indonesia

According to Reuters, the FAA requires carriers in the US who still operate 737 Classic jets to inspect aircraft for possible wire failures. The 737 Classic line-up, produced between 1984 and 2000, includes 737-300, -400, and -500 models. This generation was the second iteration of the 737 after the very first 737s were developed.

This AD is a response to investigation findings from Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air crash in January, which saw a 26-year-old 737-500 crash into the Java Sea. All passengers and crew onboard, totaling 62, were killed in the incident. Much of the investigation has surrounded the aircraft’s autothrottle system, which had issues prior to the aircraft’s fatal accident.

In the United States, it is mainly cargo operators (several subcontracted by DHL) that still operate 737 Classic aircraft. Photo: yuki_alm_misa via Flickr 

In a statement to Simple Flying, Boeing said,

Boeing works to ensure that our airplanes are safe and meet all requirements. We are in constant communication with our customers and the FAA, and engaged in ongoing efforts to introduce safety and performance improvements across the fleet. Today’s airworthiness directive makes mandatory the guidance Boeing provided to the fleet in March.”

Wiring connected to the autothrottle system

The FAA is requesting that operators verify that the flap synchro wire, which has a role in operating the aircraft’s autothrottle system, is securely connected to a safety sensor. Failure of this wire could go undetected by the autothrottle computer, posing a safety risk on affected airplanes.

The FAA does acknowledge, however, that there has yet to be evidence from the crash indicating that issues with the flap synchro wire had a role in the accident. Nonetheless, the possibility of a failed connection would pose a safety risk, thus warranting action.

The aviation regulator notes that a faulty connection could result in the failure of the autothrottle system’s ability to detect the position of the aircraft’s flaps if the aircraft’s engines were operating at different thrust settings due to another malfunction.

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On March 30th, Boeing directed operators to perform electronic checks of the autothrottle computer to confirm the wire was connected within 250 flight hours. The FAA  will require the initial test within two months from the date of the AD or within 250 flight hours, whichever comes first.

After initial inspections, the FAA will require subsequent checks every 2,000 flight hours.

Models belonging to the 737 Classic generation haven’t been produced in over 20 years. Photo: Raimond Spekking via Wikimedia Commons 

Over 1,000 aircraft worldwide affected

The FAA notes that there are 143 737 Classic series airplanes in the US that require inspections. Worldwide, there are 1,041 aircraft that could be affected. However, due to the ongoing global health crisis, some of these may be inactive or in long-term storage.

When it comes to operators in the US, Reuters notes that Aloha Air Cargo, DHL, iAero Airways, Kalitta Charters, and Northern Air Cargo currently operate 737 Classic aircraft.

Outside of the US, air operators include Canadian North and Belarussia’s Belavia.

Have you flown on a 737 Classic in recent times? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Aer Lingus Tells Staff Not To Get Vaccinated On Layover In The US

Irish carrier Aer Lingus is reminding its flight crews that they are prohibited from getting vaccinated in the…

Aer Lingus Tells Staff Not To Get Vaccinated On Layover In The US

Irish carrier Aer Lingus is reminding its flight crews that they are prohibited from getting vaccinated in the United States during their on-duty stopovers in the country. The airline, whose intercontinental service is largely transatlantic, states that crews cannot travel for 48 hours after being vaccinated due to a risk of developing adverse side effects.

Doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been plentiful in the United States while other nations continue to deal with shortages. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Possible side effects for those recently vaccinated

According to Independent.ie, Aer Lingus is reminding its employees that they cannot get vaccinated during their work stopovers in the United States. News had emerged that some crews had been doing so, prompting the airline to issue the reminder.

Staff have been told by airline management that they cannot travel for 48 hours after getting vaccinated due to a risk of developing adverse side effects. Reactions, which could include fever and tiredness, would render crews unfit for duty.

“This is to allow time for any side effects to wear off and to ensure crew are fully fit for duty. As a result, Aer Lingus crew are unable to receive a vaccination for Covid-19 if in the US on duty.

Crew are asked to adhere to all medical advice given by the [Health Service Executive] and their medical provider in relation to vaccinations.”

-Aer Lingus statement via Indepdent.ie

Boston Logan International Airport is a key East Coast destination for Aer Lingus, as is New York JFK. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Sources note that Aer Lingus has not disclosed the number of staff found to have been vaccinated in the US while on company duty. Simple Flying reached out to Aer Lingus for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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In line with EASA recommendations

It was at the end of March that EASA recommended that aircrew should wait between two and three days after getting a vaccine dose before engaging in any “flight-related tasks.” The European aviation safety regular adds side effects “may be further enhanced by in-flight conditions while at cruise level, such as lower air pressure and mild hypoxic environment.”

With these risks in mind, EASA recommends the following:

  • Operators and aircrew members should consider a waiting period of 48 hours after each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before engaging in any flight-related tasks.
  • This interval could be extended to 72 hours for aircrew members performing single crew operations.

EASA adds that aircrew members should consult with aeromedical examiners (AMEs) if side effects persist for more than two days after a vaccination. AMEs should therefore encourage aircrew to consult them when it comes to vaccinations and their side effects.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Vaccine abundance in the US

While much of the world continues to deal with COVID-19 vaccine shortages and slow roll-outs, the United States has experienced the opposite problem. A speedy rollout combined with vaccine hesitancy has resulted in an abundant supply with a shortage of willing participants.

These factors have led to news that various groups have been offering free things as a reward for getting vaccinated. This has included free beer (or coffee) at locations in Nashville, french fries in New York, and Krispy Kreme donuts nationwide. One of the more outlandish initiatives has been the state of Ohio offering vaccine participants a chance to win $1 million through a special lottery.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money…But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic – when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it – is a life lost to COVID-19.” -Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio via ABC News

As a move to boost tourism, New York City (an Aer Lingus destination) is offering vaccinations to overseas visitors, with popular tourist spots like Times Square being used as vaccination sites.

What do you think of airline crews getting vaccinated while on stopovers? Could it be made possible with some schedule adjustments? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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