American explains detection of cracks on two 767s

Washington DC
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American Airlines has sent an engine pylon from one of its Boeing 767s to a third party on behalf of Boeing for metallurgical testing after a crack was discovered in the strut midspar of the pylon.

The carrier roughly two weeks ago detected the crack while the aircraft was undergoing other maintenance at its Alliance Fort Worth maintenance base, says an American spokesman.

American then brought the issue to FAA's attention, and the regulator and airline worked out an inspection schedule that spanned a week-and-a-half for a total of 56 aircraft -- 41 767-300s and 15 767-200s. The carrier's spokesman explains 17 of American's total fleet of 58 767-300s were excluded from the inspections since they are newer model aircraft with a different pylon configuration.

The inspections were carried out during overnight line maintenance at stations across the carrier's system, and cracks were discovered on a total of two aircraft, including the first aircraft that triggered the inspections.

Boeing, meanwhile, has released a statement confirming an operator has found cracking on the 767 strut midspar ahead of an inspection interval featured in a manufacturer service bulletin and FAA airworthiness directive.

The airframer says it is "moving toward issuing a revised service bulletin on this matter that will call for a change to the recommended inspection interval for the strut midspar".

The issue was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.