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Southwest Planes

Southwest planes

The April 14 incident aboard Southwest flight 1380 was the first death aboard a U.S.-based airliner in nearly a decade.

Stan Horaczek

Aviation has had a great run in recent years. Until the fatal Southwest Airlines accident on April 17, there hadn’t been a single death aboard a U.S.-based airliner in nearly ten years. That pristine safety performance was brutally truncated by the incident above Pennsylvania, in which an engine fan blade broke off and penetrated the nacelle. Debris then crashed through a window in the fuselage and killed a 43-year-old mother, Jennifer Riordan.

It’s a highly significant incident that ended without greater loss of life. Though still a rarity in commercial aviation in general, the plane’s fan-blade failure—along with a similar but nonfatal event in 2016 on the same airline—nevertheless

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