Just about all B737s are affected, including all 737NGs (-700, -700C, -800, -900, -900ER) and the B736. -200s, -300s, -300Cs, -400s, and -500s don’t seem to be affected. But those with all B737NG fleets (read: SWA, WJA, VOZ, etc.) are going to be hit by this.
EDIT: yes, I know that VOZ flies the E170.
FAA orders emergency 737 inspections
The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered owners and operators of Boeing 737 jets to check some aircraft for loose lug bearings in the tail, according to an Emergency Airworthiness Directive issued Friday.
Boeing estimates that the directive affects about 600 aircraft, which need to be inspected within 12 days.
Failure of the lugs could cause vibration leading to structural failure of the horizontal fins and flaps in the tail, possibly resulting in “loss of aircraft control and structural integrity,” the agency’s directive said.
Boeing issued a related service alert Friday that affected six models of 737s, the company’s biggest-selling jetliner. The FAA directive affects fewer aircraft, in this case certain 737s that must be inspected with 12 to 30 days.
The regulatory agency acted after pilots experienced “severe elevator vibration” on an unidentified flight outside of the United States in early March, according to the directive and Boeing. The pilots canceled their flight plan and safely landed the jet.
“Subsequent investigation revealed extensive damage to the elevator tab control system,” the emergency directive said, a symptom related to the attach lugs.
“Our investigation into the root cause is still ongoing,” Boeing spokeswoman Sandy Angers said this evening. “We haven’t identified a root cause.”
Angers said the company acted quickly, first issuing an operators alert on March 10, because “this is a safety of flight issue.”
It was just mentioned on the last hourly NPR news bump that a B737-800 en route from London to Berlin had to make an emergency landing in Brussels because of this issue, and that extensive damage to the tail.