South Africa’s civil aviation administration has ordered the grounding of all Boeing 737-200s pending engine-mounting checks, after a Nationwide Airlines aircraft shed one of its engines on take-off.
It has instructed operators to perform a series of examinations on the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-powered jets following the 7 November incident at Cape Town.
The administration’s emergency airworthiness directive “prohibits the operation” of the aircraft in South Africa until “an acceptable level of safety can be demonstrated”.
Investigators are still examining the Nationwide aircraft which returned to land safely after the starboard engine separated from the aircraft. The airline has claimed that it ingested an unknown object during the take-off roll.
The purpose of the directive, says the South African authority, is to reduce the possibility of recurrence, although it stresses that it is not intended to indicate the cause of the incident.
Operators have been told to inspect the engine pylons, notably the areas where they are attached to the airframe and the powerplants, as well as related support beams. The directive also instructs operators to inspect engine controls, particularly for the thrust reversers.
It adds that companies should confirm compliance with a series of service bulletins covering the pylon and engine mounts, and inspect several other specific fittings.