Fact Check

Fan Belt

Photographs show a damaged jet engine repaired with seatbelts during a refueling stop?

Published Mar 11, 2007

Photographs show a damaged jet engine repaired with seatbelts during a refueling stop.

The photographs displayed above have been circulated since at least as far back as 2001, in versions with text attributing them to Air China as well as a number of different airlines, in each case accompanied by the claim that a ground crew had hastily (and dangerously) repaired damaged jet engines on one of the airline's planes by using seat belts to hold them together, and the plane had taken off on a commercial flight in that state. While the pictures do show an engine that has been removed from an aircraft, when and where they were taken (and whether they have any connection to Air China or any other airline) is unknown. Nonetheless, they do not document a case of substandard repairs or an occurrence anything like the circumstances described in the accompanying text. The pictures included in the e-mail show engine fan blades that have suffered foreign object damage (FOD) such as encountering a bird strike or a hail storm, and the "seatbelts" are tie-down straps used to secure the engine to a shipping stand as it is removed from the aircraft for inspection, repair, or replacement.



"Civilian Plane Hit by Missile Over Baghdad."   Agence France Presse, The Sydney Morning Herald.   22 November 2003.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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