Hidden Flaws In Aging Aircraft Structures – Article Example

Hidden Flaws in Aging Aircraft Structures al Affiliation) Terry Maxon and Dave Michaels Article Southwest Incidence Raises Questions about Aging Aircraft
Journal Name: Dallas News-Business; Airline Industry
Issue Discussed: The task that government regulators and airline executives have to
undertake to detect and correct hidden flaws on aging aircrafts to save
lives.
Hidden Flaws in Aging Aircraft Structures
Maxon and Michaels (2011) reviewed the Southwest incident where questions were raised about aging aircraft. On April 1, a Southwest Airlines jet blew out a section due to metal fatigue frightening passengers and demanding answers from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Boeing Company.
The article indicates a cycle of inaccuracies within the aircraft maintenance agency that places the ‘health of the fleet’ at risk. In addition, it explains that older planes lack emergency inspection directives that are issued by the FAA as airworthiness directives. The authors indicate that the main flaws linked to aging aircrafts are linking cracks and metal fatigue. Their research is based on the Southwest incident and the role that FAA has to play in formulating airworthiness directives. It is evident from the article that airline inspection agencies evade the comprehensive “Eddy-current inspections” to save time. They rather conduct visual inspections that cannot detect the hidden flaws. The authors acknowledge the need for a review of the aging aircraft program. The research is objective as the authors draw their inference from the directives of Michael Goldfarb, a former FAA staff, that the Southwest incidence prompted an oversight of airlines that utilize aging aircraft. The article highlights his views about aging airlines as a safety solution measure. The safety solution would be to place life limits to initiate a philosophical change in the airline industry; basically retire them (Maxon and Michaels, 2011).
In my opinion, it is important that the authors have highlighted the inefficiencies among government regulators and airline executives to detect and correct hidden flaws in aging aircrafts. However, their view on retiring the older planes is extreme due to the costs incurred in conducting an overhaul of the entire fleet. The best alternative would be for the FAA to formulate stringent airworthiness directives for the airline inspection and maintenance agencies.
Link: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/airline-industry/20110409-southwest-incident-raises-questions-about-aging-aircraft.ece
Reference
Southwest incident raises questions about aging aircraft. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2014, from
http://www.dallasnews.com/business/airline-industry/20110409-southwest-incident-
raises-questions-about-aging-aircraft.ece