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Intensive checks ordered on bulk of jetliner engines

The Federal Aviation Administration Thursday ordered the inspection of the Pratt & Whitney jet engine that powers about two-thirds of the country's airliners. An agency spokesman said the order, which will affect about 1,600 airliners in the United States, was issued because of the discovery of a possibly serious safety defect.

The legally binding order affects the jets on Boeing 727s and 737s and the McDonnell Douglas DC-9.

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The investigation of the engine began June 15 when an engine section flew apart on a Hawaiian Airlines DC-9 as it was taking off from Honolulu. The pilot aborted the takeoff and passengers were evacuated.

The inspection order is expected to cause only minimal disruption in busy summer air traffic.