The FAA have ordered airlines to perform an emergency inspection of some 600 Boeing 737 airplanes after vibrations caused by a broken tail flap mechanism forced the diversion of a flight operated by Ryanair, the World’s most hated airline.
The Ryanair flight using a Boeing 737-800, registration EI-DYI and performing flight FR-5407 from Eindhoven to Madrid with 146 passengers, was climbing out of Eindhoven having reached FL240 just northeast of Brussels, when the crew reported technical problems.
The Ryanair flightcrew diverted from the intended route and made an uneventful landing.
The FAA then received a report from Boeing detailing the failure of the aft attach lugs on the left elevator tab control mechanism, which resulted in severe elevator vibration.
Sandy Angers, a Seattle-based spokeswoman for Boeing Co., said the company identified the problem after the Ryanair incident when a flight crew noticed “excessive” vibration and was forced to divert.
“There is a safety concern,” she said. “When we become aware of these types of issues, we respond quickly.”
Angers said the order effects about 600 “next-generation Boeing 737s, including the -600, -700, -800, and -900 series.
Subsequent investigation revealed extensive damage to the elevator tab control system. Severe vibration in this attach point is suspected of allowing rapid wear of the joint, and resulted in failure of the attach lugs.
This condition, if not corrected, could “result in a loss of aircraft control and structural integrity” and could thus cause a crash.
The FAA Airworthiness Directive can be read here:
A PDF copy of the FAA report can be found here: