Probe into Hole in Boeing Plane Turns to Assembly Process

CHICAGO (AP) — Investigators trying to determine why the roof of a Southwest Airlines jet peeled open in flight this month are focusing on the manufacturing process at Boeing.

Government and industry officials say investigators noticed that the stricken jet and five other Southwest planes that had cracks in their metal skins were all built at about the same time in the same Boeing plant.

The officials today cautioned that no final determination has been made about why the planes developed cracks.

Chicago-based Boeing today said inspections have been completed on about three-fourths of those planes, and only the five at Southwest were found to have cracks. Boeing says it is analyzing portions from panels of those planes “to validate the initial inspection findings,” but the company says no conclusions have been drawn.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press


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