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737-700 Flap Track Fairing Damage  
User currently offlinelexkid12300 From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 87 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 7978 times:

Hey guys, new to the forum and looking for some input on a recent observation i made during a flight on a 737-700.

I just returned from a trip to Disney World and flew with a certain airline (which i'm not sure i can mention here) from my home in Rhode Island (PVD) to Orlando (MCO), but noticed something peculiar with the plane.

I've recently become interested in planes so i was really looking forward to flying. Before i boarded the flight i took note of the tail number and looked it up on http://www.planespotters.net/ and discovered it was a 737-700 manufactured in 1998, which set my mind at ease since i knew this particular airline had some old beaters in its fleet.

I ended up finding a seat a few rows behind the wing and barely had any time to get settled in before it was being pushed back from the gate. However, upon taxiing to the runway i noticed the inboard flap track fairing vibrating very violently left and right whenever there was a bump or crack on the pavement, getting even worse as it was holding short of the runway when the engines were given some power. But i figured it was normal (even though it didn't feel or sound it) figuring the crew knew what they were doing, so i just sat back and enjoyed the takeoff.

But about 20 minutes into the flight (after the flaps were retracted) i noticed a large band of paint had been stripped away from the inner edge of this fairing, revealing the dented bare metal beneath it. At this point the fairing was no longer vibrating but i could clearly see the damaged area. I turned to my female passenger and asked her what to do, but just got the "evil eye" suggesting i just shut up and not say anything to anyone. I also knew there was another connecting flight after that one, meaning the plane was going to land in Orlando and connect to Southwest Florida right after. So, i just stared at the thing the rest of the flight until it got too dark outside to see anything.

But when the flight landed and as i was leaving the plane, i peaked into the cockpit and told the co-pilot what i had seen. I had taken pictures of the fairing with my camera when it was still light out and showed him the damage. He didn't seem "too" alarmed but said he'd take a look at it. So that was that, and i went on my way at least knowing someone knew about it (even if it was nothing).

When i got settled i my hotel that night i checked FlightAware's flight tracker and noticed that the connecting flight to Southwest Florida had taken off over an hour later than it was supposed to. I know there were severe thunderstorms that night so i'm not sure if the delay was because of weather or because they checked the fairing?

So that's why i'm here.... Do you guys think this is normal? Here are the pics i took.



I looked online for pictures of 737NG fairings but none of them showed this type of damage. Either way, I can’t imagine this damage would be acceptable? The paint is chipped and the metal is literally dented, very close to the rivets as well. How could the fairing be chipped and dented in this spot? Could it be related to the vibration I noticed on the ground?

I wanted to compare the fairings to the plane we took home today, but this time it was a 737-300 which has a whole different wing fairing design- the –300 fairing had NO vibration and actually has a track where the flaps extend. Here it is, perfectly normal:



So what do you guys think about the 737-700 fairing damage? Any and all input is appreciated!

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineB6JFKH81 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2873 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 7967 times:

Flap tack fairings are non-essential for the purpose of flight, you'll see pictures on here where one is missing, etc (threads like this one exist on that Missing Flap Track Fairing (by L1011 Oct 6 2010 in Tech Ops) ). To me, it just looks like the paint was coming off right aft of the seam, and that little circle was probably a patch job. Stuff happens, things get kicked up from the runway, birds fly into them, etc.

Alarming? No. An issue for the safe operation of the aircraft? No. Something that will probably get fixed during a heavy check? Sure.



"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
User currently offlineAirportugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3579 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 7967 times:

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter):
I just returned from a trip to Disney World and flew with a certain airline (which i'm not sure i can mention here) from my home in Rhode Island (PVD) to Orlando (MCO), but noticed something peculiar with the plane.

The pictures tell the airline anyways   

The first ones you show might have a clear explanation, but the fifth one the series appears to be some kind of damage...maybe a bird strike of some kind?



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 7962 times:

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter):
So what do you guys think about the 737-700 fairing damage? Any and all input is appreciated!

It's not damage.... The flaps were down last time they washed the plane and that area didn't get clean.

[Edited 2011-03-17 18:00:06]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7874 times:

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter):
But about 20 minutes into the flight (after the flaps were retracted) i noticed a large band of paint had been stripped away from the inner edge of this fairing, revealing the dented bare metal beneath it.

That's a composite fairing...what you were seeing wasn't metal.

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter):
I looked online for pictures of 737NG fairings but none of them showed this type of damage. Either way, I can’t imagine this damage would be acceptable? The paint is chipped and the metal is literally dented, very close to the rivets as well. How could the fairing be chipped and dented in this spot?

I depends on what you mean by "acceptable." Is it safe to operate the aircraft? Yes. Does the fairing need to be repaired? Yes.

Tom.


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 7646 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 4):

That first series of photos looks like copper mesh delamination.. which is allowed based on the amount of area missing.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlinesoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 7595 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 3):
The flaps were down last time they washed the plane and that area didn't get clean


Huh?...
The cone on the 700 series is 1/4 inch nomex honeycomb construction laminated between layers of fibreglass. The cones over time accumulate runway crap, grease and other contaminates that eventually weaken the paint bonding. From one of your images you can detect a repaint over a paint peel area. Just looks like more paint peeling away. If you looked closely at moderately timed airliner paint jobs, you'd laugh...AA paints their logos on the tails with paint rollers (rolling aircraft paint is an accepted method but is a poor choice for several reasons)...I have seen paint over dirt!...looked like non skid. Your alerting the crew was a good move. Passengers see things the crew may not as their walk arounds are from ground level. I have witnessed loose panels, developing and progressing holes in wings and thing like that on a few flights I have been on. Canoe fairings have failed in flight and airliners can fly with one or two missing depending on the type with minimal fuel penalty.


User currently offlinelexkid12300 From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 87 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 7581 times:

Ah, i understand... I figured it wasn't a big deal but i just wanted to make sure the crew knew just in case. I could just imagine that thing falling off in flight, hitting the horizontal stabilizer and knocking out some type of essential component or something!

All i know is that if i were a pilot and one of my passengers thought something might be wrong with my plane, i'd want them to tell me- even if it was just a false alarm...


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7504 times:

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 6):
Huh?.

The second series of photos.. not the first. Your correct in your description for the first series on the Southwest plane. The second series is just a dirty are a that was not cleaned.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineCALTECH From Poland, joined May 2007, 2188 posts, RR: 25
Reply 9, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7482 times:

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter):
The paint is chipped and the metal is literally dented, very close to the rivets as well.

Looks like paint flaking off. Not a metal flap track fairing, but a composite fairing. Good you brought it to the crew's attention, but not a big deal , other than worrying passengers a bit.

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 6):
The cone on the 700 series is 1/4 inch nomex honeycomb construction laminated between layers of fibreglass. The cones over time accumulate runway crap, grease and other contaminates that eventually weaken the paint bonding. From one of your images you can detect a repaint over a paint peel area. Just looks like more paint peeling away. If you looked closely at moderately timed airliner paint jobs, you'd laugh...AA paints their logos on the tails with paint rollers (rolling aircraft paint is an accepted method but is a poor choice for several reasons)...I have seen paint over dirt!...looked like non skid. Your alerting the crew was a good move. Passengers see things the crew may not as their walk arounds are from ground level. I have witnessed loose panels, developing and progressing holes in wings and thing like that on a few flights I have been on. Canoe fairings have failed in flight and airliners can fly with one or two missing depending on the type with minimal fuel penalty.

On the 737-700s/-800s/-900s, we have had problems with paint on the inboard side of the engine pylon. The paint was turning black and blistering up. Looked absolutely horrible. Good that passengers couldn't see this, it was really bad. A new type of paint is now used that stands up better to the heat from the engine exhaust.



UNITED We Stand
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7407 times:

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 2):
The pictures tell the airline anyways   

Pics was the biggest one but his route pairing also gave it away for me (I hadn't even scrolled down to see the pics yet).

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter):

Welcome to a.net! No worries, you can name the airline all you want so long as you're not an employee. That is a bit of a sketchy area.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 7272 times:

Greetings and welcome to the industry.

It's just flaking paint. I can't actually see any physical damage to the composite.

And yes, you can mention the airline you fly on. If you WORKED for WN, it might be a problem, which is why I don't discuss the airline that I wrench 737-700s for.

If you have any 737 related questions, though, feel free to email me, or message me here on a.net.


User currently offlinesoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 7181 times:

Have you ever repainted over existing teflon,non chafe paint with success or do you have to remove totally?...(slightly off topic) but you would probably know the answer...or anyone else please...g

User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (3 years 4 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6997 times:

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 12):
Have you ever repainted over existing teflon,non chafe paint with success or do you have to remove totally?...(slightly off topic) but you would probably know the answer...or anyone else please...g

That depends on your definition of success!!!!
Have I got the paint to stick to the airplane? Yes. Was it attractive to the point where a bunch of people weren't standing around laughing at me? No, sadly.


I forgot to speak to an original point of the post:

Quoting lexkid12300 (Thread starter):
i noticed the inboard flap track fairing vibrating very violently left and right whenever there was a bump or crack on the pavement, getting even worse as it was holding short of the runway when the engines were given some power.

The inboard flap canoes are mounted in such a way that permits lateral (side-to-side) movement of a CM or so when brand new. Part of the overnight check is to jiggle the canoe- if the movement is excessive, we'll have to work on it.
You must keep in mind that all of these things- especially on wings- have to be a little bit jiggly, because of the wide range of operating conditions they encounter. From extremes of temperature (and associated thermal expansion and contraction), to turbulence, to wing flex down (fuel load on ground) to up (rotation on takeoff, and flare on landing), all of this stuff has to GIVE dimensionally.


User currently offlinesoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (3 years 4 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6990 times:

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 13):

Thnx...did some tests and got my answer...not advisable...g


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