American Airlines has reinspected 56 planes in its Boeing 767 fleet after cracks were found in at least two pylons, critical components that attach the engines to the wings.
The first incident was discovered on a 767-300 at American's Alliance Airport maintenance facility in Fort Worth a few weeks ago. The carrier says it notified the Federal Aviation Administration, which asked American to inspect 41 of its 58 767-300s and all 15 of its 767-200s.
American's 767-200s are 24 years old on average, while the 767-300s average 15.5 years, the airline said.
In 2005, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive telling carriers to inspect the pylons on its Boeing 767s every 1,500 cycles. A cycle is one takeoff and one landing.
The FAA said that the cracks, the severity of which was not detailed, were found on three planes and that the plane with the worst damage had less than 500 cycles. American insisted Tuesday that there were only two pylons found with cracks.
"The concern is that if left undetected, these cracks could eventually cause the pylon to fail," FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.
American has flown the 767 since 1982, when the 767-200 model was added to its fleet. It added later models in 1985 and 1988.
Cracked and corroded pylons have led to fatal crashes, most notably American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979. That aircraft, a DC-10, had an engine tear away during takeoff at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. The crash killed all 271 passengers and flight crew members as well as two people on the ground.
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