Bloomberg News; Friday 13 March 2020
Southwest Air 737 Fuselage Crack, Pressure Loss Probed by FAA

Federal aviation officials are investigating the cause of a 12-inch-long crack that developed in the top of a Southwest Airlines Co. jet during flight, leading to a gradual loss of cabin pressure.

Pilots on Southwest Flight 1685 from Las Vegas to Boise, Idaho, descended to 22,000 feet Monday after receiving a pressure-drop alert for the cabin, the Dallas-based carrier said Friday. The action allowed the plane to maintain a safe pressure, the Federal Aviation Administration and Southwest said. Oxygen masks, which automatically pop out of ceiling panels if needed, didn’t deploy.

It was the third time such cracks have developed on the airline’s 737s, Southwest said. The two earlier ruptures were found during inspections conducted every 1,500 flight cycles and mandated by the FAA to detect cracks and missing or loose fasteners. It’s not clear yet whether additional inspections on 737s will be ordered.

By: Mary Schlangenstein and Alan Levin
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NS Comment: Would be interesting to know the result from the previous 1,500FC inspection, and Cycles Since that Last Inspection.