Seattle, Washington - Boeing engineers have discovered cracks on the pickle forks of some Boeing 737NG jets.
"Pickle Forks" are connectors that are used to attach the wings to the plane's fuselage. They help absorb the stress, torque and aerodynamic forces that bend the wings on the flight.
During a recent inspection, Boeing engineers discovered a severely cracked pickle fork on a Boeing 737NG jet with 35,000 flight cycles (landing and takeoffs).
Pickle Forks are designed to last the lifetime of a plane on which they were attached. The lifespan of a Boeing 737NG jet is around 90,000 flight cycles.
In this case, the Pickle Fork crack on a relatively young aircraft is not usual and require further investigation. If they fail during a flight, the consequences would certainly be catastrophic.
Boeing immediately reported the issue to the Federal Aviation Administration last week, and engineers found cracks on more 737NG family jets.
FAA is expected to release an Airworthiness Directive requiring all 737NG operators to check their planes for the issue.