Top Aviation Attorney Says Engine Inspections Overdue
On April 18th, 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered that the CFM56 engines on all aircraft be inspected, expanding its original idea to spot check them, in the wake of the mid air engine incident involving a Southwest Airlines flight that killed a young mother and wife earlier this week.
Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner at Clifford Law Offices and an outspoken aviation attorney, said these inspections are long overdue considering incidents involving passengers who have been injured or killed connected to these engines. Reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding the latest incident 20 months ago is still being awaited.
Although the head of the NTSB said he was unwilling to extrapolate the engine fatigue problem discovered on the latest tragic incident to extend to the entire fleet of jet engines, Clifford said "that view ignores several decades of fatigue and failure history of titanium engines and the lessons that should have been learned from the crash of United Airlines Flight 232 that killed 111 people and injured 185 more on July 19, 1989." Clifford served as co-lead counsel in that litigation.
The last fatality on a Southwest aircraft was that of a jet that skidded off the runway at Chicago's Midway Airport, killing a six-year-old boy and injuring four other family members as they sat in their car in 2005. Clifford represented the family and obtained a confidential settlement.
The latest tragedy of Southwest Flight 1380 headed Fron New York to Dallas revealed a crack in the left CFM engine, forcing the plane to land in Philadelphia. Shrapnel from the left engine including parts of the fan blade struck and broke a window that resulted the passenger next to it to be partially sucked out of the plane as fellow passengers tried to save her. She died in the tragedy. Several people were injured as the aircraft depressurized, dropping from 32,500 feet to 10,000 feet in minutes.
Although the crack has been identified as interior, Clifford said "inspections of these engines would have revealed and prevented this latest tragedy. It was only a matter of time before this incident and others like it occur because the NTSB still has yet to conclude its investigation dealing with a similar jet engine."
Clifford represents dozens injured on an American Airlines flight that had to abort takeoff at Chicago's O'Hare Airport in August, 2016, because of the same engine problems. "It's been20 months that the aviation community has known of the potential problems, yet never conducted an inspection of these engines or a grounding of the aircraft for the safety of the flying public."
Clifford said that it is "playing Russian roulette with loved ones who don't know the dangers of the aircraft engines or lack of a repetitive inspection program"