LOS ANGELES—Investigators delving into the highly unusual Aug. 27 failure of the left CFM56-7B engine on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 are hoping for some quick answers as to why the powerplant’s inlet cowl detached in midair, causing the engine to be shut down as well as significantly damaging the airframe. Images taken from inside the aircraft—which diverted after the No.1 engine malfunction to Pensacola, Florida, while enroute from New Orleans to Orlando, ...

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