Behind the scenes at an NTSB accident investigation
A panel on fan blades. Witnesses who’ll describe a “failure sequence.” Those are just two of the elements that will be featured in the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigative hearing today into an engine failure on a Southwest Airlines plane that killed a passenger.
On a flight from New York to Dallas, a fan blade broke, causing a catastrophic engine failure and causing shrapnel to strike the plane, breaking a window. Despite the efforts of her fellow passengers, Jennifer Riordan died after being partially ejected from the plane through the broken window.
The agenda for the hearing into the April 17, 2018 incident shows the level of detail that goes into such an investigation. It includes:
- Opening Statement from the hearing chairman, NTSB member Bella Dinh-Zarr
- Panel one, CFM56-7B Fan Blades: Design and Certification, Consequences of the Fan Blade Out, Inspection Intervals and Procedures
- Panel two, B737/CFM56-7B Inlet and Fan Cowl: Design and Certification, Structural Capability following a Fan Blade Out Event
- Design of CFM56-7B Fan Blade
- Certification of CFM56-7B
- Failure sequence of accident blade
- Inspection Intervals and Procedures
Witnesses from Boeing, CFM, the Federal Aviation Administration, and United Technologies Aerospace Systems are expected to provide testimony on the following topics during the second panel:
- Certification of the Inlet and Fan Cowl structure for an FBO event
- Design, analysis and testing of the Inlet and Fan Cowl structure for an FBO event
- Structural Capability of the Inlet and Fan Cowl structures following FBO
The full agenda, including a list of witnesses and parties participating in the investigative hearing is available at https://go.usa.gov/xPfBT.
The investigative hearing, which is open to the public, will be webcast and can be accessed at http://ntsb.windrosemedia.com/
NTSB previously issued an investigative update about the ongoing investigation.