Business

Defect found in tails of 737s

Federal aviation authorities Monday ordered a new round of inspections for about 125 of Boeing’s popular 737 jets, which can develop a dangerous vibration in the tail.

The vibration can come from a failure of a lug that fastens part of the tail to the aircraft. If the lug loosens or fails, the tail will develop dangerous vibrations that could endanger the plane’s structural integrity, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Boeing has said the problem stems from an outside company’s error in manufacturing a part that was installed on 737s worldwide.

Other aviation regulatory bodies in other countries are expected to follow the FAA’s lead and order more inspections of 737s registered in their countries.

Airlines inspected the “elevators” on their 737s in March. The “elevators” are the movable tail surfaces that cause the aircraft to move upward or downward.

The new inspection was ordered after one of those already-inspected planes developed a vibration and had to return to the airport.

New inspections on the U.S. planes are expected to be completed within six to 12 days.

Boeing said the manufacturer defect is in parts used in about 200 planes. Correcting the defect is particularly important in planes used for long overwater flights where an airport may be two or more hours away, according to the company.

The FAA has issued directives to pilots on how to react if their aircrafts develop the suspect vibrations.

Boeing shares fell 79 cents to close Monday at $74.34.

The company employs about 72,000, including thousands in the Northwest.

Boeing reported quarterly a profit last week that beat analysts’ expectations. Chief Executive Jim McNerney said the company is gaining “solid momentum” as the business environment improves worldwide.

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