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FAA Will Mandate Inspections For Some 737 Aircraft

The Federal Aviation Administration will issue a directive tomorrow that will require airlines to conduct "intial and repetitive electromagnetic inspections for fatigue damage" on early Boeing 737 airplanes.

"Safety is our number one priority," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement. "Last Friday's incident was very serious and could result in additional action depending on the outcome of the investigation."

The statement, reports the New York Times, comes shortly after Boeing said it would "recommend 'lap-joint' inspections on certain 737-300's as well as the 737-400 and 737-500 models."

On Saturday, a Southwest Airlines jet developed a hole in its fuselage. The plane was forced to make an emergency landing. Today, Southwest said it had found three Boeing 737 jets with cracks.

The FAA's new directive will require electromagnetic inspections once a Boeing 737-300, -400 and -500 series aircraft has "accumulated more than 30,000 flight cycles."

The New York Times reports the jet that developed the hole on Saturday had reached "39,000 cycles and nearly 46,000 hours of flight."

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