United’s B-777-200 inspection appears to show the safety system is effective

SMS is in the forefront of UA safety awareness
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United reported its own inspection and remedial action

Immediately completes the required examinations

Shows the SMS approach works 

Below is an article by a knowledgeable aviation reporter about United Airlines’ inspections of some of its B-777-200 fleet. It states that a failure to perform inspections were “discovered in an internal audit”. It is fair to presume that the identification of this error was found by the carrier’s System Management System which provides a discipline of continuous search of all aspects of its maintenance, flight operations, flight attendants and all elements which pose risks.

Aviation safety has been transformed. In the old days, any error could result in FAA sanctions; typically, when (IF) an inspector found this “violation” a civil or other penalty would be assessed. This traffic cop & punishment relationship may have had some unknown deterrent effect. Major international safety organizations determined that a finding-fault environment inhibited all members from reporting potential problems. One major premise of this initiative is that a very high percentage of these events were attributable to unintentional human error. To effectively anticipate these incidents, the new regime, Safety Management System, encourages self-disclosure with the goal of designing preventative, remedial action. A corollary to this new approach is to cooperate, not to penalize.

FAA SMS parameters

The data strongly suggests that this more positive communications between the regulator and the regulated are working better in terms of a proactive safety record:

FAA SMS press releases


UA B-777-wing leading-edge panels


United cancels some flights after failing to perform some Boeing 777 inspections – FAA

By David Shepardson

dave shapardston

(Reuters) – United Airlines removed 25 of its Boeing 777-200 airplanes from service this week after discovering it had failed to perform required inspections on the wing leading-edge panels.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the airline had disclosed the issue to the agency after an internal audit and proposed a plan to complete the inspections. [on right UA’s statement of likely safety process] United said on Tuesday it had canceled around 18 flights on Monday night and Tuesday morning toUA SMS statement conduct the inspections but did not expect to cancel additional flights because of the issue.

“We’ve completed inspections on 10 of those aircraft, and are working with the FAA to return others to service while inspections are ongoing over the next two weeks,” United said Tuesday.

Related video: United Airlines CEO puts some flight cancellation blame on the federal government. Here’s why.

The FAA said it was reviewing United’s inspection plan “as well as looking into the circumstances that led to the missed inspections.”

In May, the FAA cleared United’s 52 Boeing 777 planes equipped with Pratt & Whitney (PW) 4000 engines to return to service.

The jets were grounded after a United flight to Honolulu suffered engine failure and showered debris over nearby cities and made an emergency landing in Denver in February 2021. No one was injured and the plane safely returned to the airport.

United said Tuesday the wing leading-edge panel inspections of some of those 777-200s are not related to engines or recent engine work. The said the inspections in most cases can be completed overnight.

The inspection issue was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Sandra Maler)

B-777-200 inspected


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