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Aviation Experts Say No Need to Panic for Boeing Inspections
China's aviation watchdog has clarified just how many Boeing 737 passenger planes in China will be checked for possible defects in their tail flaps.
Aviation experts say these kinds of checks are all part of the standard "airworthiness directive," or AD, which is common in the industry.
Zhao Yang brings us more details.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China, or CAAC, revealed on its website Thursday that 160 Boeing 737's will undergo the checks.
It was originally reported that over 450 of the planes were set to be inspected.
In an effort to quell any possible concerns, the airplane watchdog points out that every year more than 200 check orders, or "airworthiness directives" have been issued in China over the last two decades.
Cui Zhenxin, an aviation engineering expert with the Tianjin-based Civil Aviation University of China, says there's no need to worry.
"In the industry, issuing AD, or emergency AD this time, is quite normal. The directives usually conclude the details of defects, a check list and components which are suggested to be repaired or replaced."
The CAAC issued the emergency airworthiness directive earlier this week, which immediately garnered media attention.
The directive came out after a Boeing 737-800 flying from the Netherlands to Spain was temporarily grounded in Belgium on 2nd of March after experiencing strong jolts.
Aviation engineers say the repairing of the stabilizer on the tail flap which caused the trembling is not very difficult, and it appears there's no evidence that the problem is a factory defect.
Cui Zhenxin says the inspections on the 160 planes will have to be done within 30 days, but they will not be grounded in the meantime.
However, he admits that there have been cases where entire series' of planes have been grounded in the past.
Cui Zhenxin says the companies that own the planes will have to deal with the inspections themselves.
"All targeted planes that are overseas right now will have to fly home to receive checks. The procedure will be conducted by each company individually, but the airplane watchdog will check all their working logs all through."
10-days after the March 2nd shaking incident, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered all airline companies to check their stabilizers. Before that, Boeing had already issued a worldwide warning notice.
Local reports in China say some of the airlines have already begun their inspections. CRI has been unable to confirm those reports at this time.