Special Report: Aircraft Safety: How Safe Is The U.S. Fleet?

How Safe Is The U.S. Fleet? A shocking accident heightens doubts about the aging jetliners

Until now, the stubby and squat Boeing 737 has been an anonymous little workhorse, scarcely recognized by airline passengers even though most of them have flown on one. Trusted by the airlines for its seemingly tireless reliability and efficiency on short hops, the "guppie" has become the best- selling jetliner in history. The 737 fleet, which now exceeds 1,500 jets worldwide, has carried more than 1.7 billion passengers and flown more than 10 billion miles. But last week the venerable plane was suddenly the most infamous and scrutinized of jetliners, as the Federal Aviation Administration ordered U.S. airlines to conduct special...

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