ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman uses a model Southwest Airlines plane to describe the position where the fuselage skin was torn from a Boeing 737-300 aircraft during a news briefing on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at the NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C. The 15-year-old Southwest aircraft was on its way from Phoenix to Sacramento and was forced to make an emergency landing when the accident happened on Friday, April 1, 2011.
An excerpt from a Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates story: Paul Richter, Boeing's chief project engineer for three 737-300/400/500 models, said the 1-by-5 foot hole opened up due to fatigue cracks in the metal emanating from the fastener holes at the so-called lap joints, where two panels overlap and are spliced together.
Click "Continue reading this post" to see where this panel was removed from the passenger jet.
ROSS D. FRANKLIN / AP
A Southwest Airlines plane sits in a remote area of the Yuma International Airport in Arizona on Monday, April 4, 2011, after the plane had a section of fuselage tear during a flight on Friday. Three more Southwest Airlines jetliners have small, subsurface cracks that are similar to the one suspected in the fuselage tear. Federal aviation officials are considering an order for other airlines to inspect their aircraft.