I flew on Southwest this weekend, on an older jet without the flippy Winglets wing-tip things that the new jets have. I wasn’t concerned that the plane’s roof would come off, especially now with all the attention. But I continue to follow the happenings around the investigation and the latest reported by the Wall Street Journal is that it could be due to a manufacturing issue 15 years ago.
Investigators suspect that a manufacturing lapse at a Boeing Co. factory 15 years ago is why the fuselage of a Southwest Airlines Co. jetliner ruptured in midair this month, according to government and industry officials.
This time, investigators led by the National Transportation Safety Board are trying to unravel the potential impact of riveting techniques and certain sealants going back to around 1996, according to the officials. They said investigators also are looking into factory tooling used to hold plane parts during assembly. Possible production problems were reported Saturday by ABC news.
A big reason behind the manufacturing-related focus, according to government and industry officials, is that a number of the Southwest planes with fuselage cracks were built around the same time. The officials said it is too early to know whether the suspect Southwest jets illustrate a quality-control problem involving specific workers and a relatively short span of time, or whether they are the result of broader production issues.
No detail on exactly what the issue is.