Would you fly in a 737 Max 8 right now?

spaminator

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Boeing faces new questions about the 737 Max after a plane suffers a gaping hole in its side
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
David Koenig
Published Jan 06, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 4 minute read

Boeing faces new scrutiny about the safety of its best-selling plane after federal officials announced the temporary grounding of some Boeing 737 Max planes on Saturday, following a harrowing flight in which an Alaska Airlines jetliner was left with a gaping hole in its side.


Alaska Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Part of Plane Rips Away


The Federal Aviation Administration said it was requiring immediate inspections of Max 9 planes operated by U.S. airlines or flown in the United States by foreign carriers.


The FAA’s emergency order, which it said will affect about 171 planes worldwide, is the latest blow to Boeing over the Max lineup of jets, which were involved in two deadly crashes shortly after their debut.

On Friday, a fuselage panel blew out on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 seven minutes after takeoff from Portland, Oregon. The rapid loss of cabin pressure pulled the clothes off a child and caused oxygen masks to drop from the ceiling, but miraculously none of the 171 passengers and six members were injured. Pilots made a safe emergency landing.


Hours after the terrifying incident, Alaska Airlines announced that it would ground its entire fleet of 65 Max 9s for inspections and maintenance. CEO Ben Minicucci said Alaska expects the inspections to be completed “in the next few days.”

Alaska said on Saturday that it had completed inspecting more than one-fourth of its Max 9 fleet “with no concerning findings. Aircraft will return to service as their inspections are completed with our full confidence.”

Even the short grounding disrupted the airline — the Max 9 accounts for more than one-fourth of Alaska’s fleet — and its passengers. On Saturday, Alaska cancelled more than 100 flights, or 14% of its schedule, by late morning on the West Coast, according to FlightAware.


United Airlines said it had inspected 33 of its 79 Max 9s, and pulling the planes from service had caused about 60 cancelled flights.

Photos showed a hole in the Alaska jet where an emergency exit is installed when planes are configured to carry a maximum number of passengers. Alaska plugs those doors because its 737 Max 9 jets don’t have enough seats to trigger the requirement for another emergency exit.

This photo provided by an unnamed source shows the damaged part of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.
This photo provided by an unnamed source shows the damaged part of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. PHOTO BY THE OREGONIAN VIA AP /The Associated Press
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board said they would investigate Friday’s incident.

Boeing declined a request to make an executive available for comment. The company, based in Arlington, Virginia, issued a statement saying it supported the FAA’s decision to require immediate inspections. Boeing said it was providing technical help to the investigators.


Analysts said the extent of the damage to Boeing’s brand will depend on what investigators determine caused the blowout.

Richard Aboulafia, a longtime aerospace analyst and consultant, said if the blowout is traced to a manufacturing issue it would put more pressure on Boeing to change its processes, and cash-generating deliveries of new planes could be slowed.

Aboulafia said, however, he doesn’t expect any change in Boeing’s sales of the planes “unless the situation is worse than it seems.” Airlines are snapping up new, more fuel-efficient planes from Boeing and Airbus to meet strong demand for travel coming out of the pandemic.

The plane involved in Friday’s incident is brand-new — it began carrying passengers in November and has made only 145 flights, according to Flightradar24, a flight-tracking service.


The Max — the Max 8 and Max 9 differ mainly in size — is the newest version of Boeing’s venerable 737, a twin-engine, single-aisle plane frequently used on U.S. domestic flights.

More than a decade ago, Boeing considered designing and building an entirely new plane to replace the 737. But afraid of losing sales to European rival Airbus, which was marketing a more fuel-efficient version of its similarly sized A320, Boeing decided to take the shorter path of tweaking the 737 — and the Max was born.

A Max 8 jet operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia in 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 crashed in 2019. Regulators around the world grounded the planes for nearly two years while Boeing changed an automated flight control system implicated in the crashes.


Federal prosecutors and Congress questioned whether Boeing had cut corners in its rush to get the Max approved quickly, and with a minimum of training required for pilots. In 2021, Boeing settled a criminal investigation by agreeing to pay $2.5 billion, including a $244 million fine. The company blamed two relatively low-level employees for deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration about flaws in the flight-control system.

Robert Clifford, a Chicago lawyer who is representing families of passengers killed in the Ethiopian crash, said Friday’s incident raised questions of whether regulators were too quick to let Max planes return to flying. He accused Boeing of putting profits over safety.

“This is a company that went from being the gold standard in engineering expertise and precision to now a company that seems like it’s at the bottom of the barrel,” he said.


Boeing has estimated in financial reports that fallout from the two fatal crashes has cost it more than $20 billion. It has reached confidential settlements with most of the families of passengers who died in the crashes.

After a pause following the crashes, airlines resumed buying the Max. But the plane has been plagued by problems unrelated to Friday’s blowout.

Questions about components from suppliers have held up deliveries at times. Last year, the FAA told pilots to limit use of an anti-ice system on the Max in dry conditions because of concern that inlets around the engines could overheat and break away, possibly striking the plane. And in December, Boeing told airlines to inspect the planes for a possible loose bolt in the rudder-control system.

A passenger on a Southwest Airlines jet was killed in 2018 when a piece of engine housing blew off and shattered the window she was sitting next to. However, that incident involved an earlier version of the Boeing 737, not a Max.
20240106150112-6599b4764d71afde567803aejpeg-1-scaled[1].jpg
 

petros

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Boeing faces new questions about the 737 Max after a plane suffers a gaping hole in its side
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
David Koenig
Published Jan 06, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 4 minute read

Boeing faces new scrutiny about the safety of its best-selling plane after federal officials announced the temporary grounding of some Boeing 737 Max planes on Saturday, following a harrowing flight in which an Alaska Airlines jetliner was left with a gaping hole in its side.


Alaska Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Part of Plane Rips Away


The Federal Aviation Administration said it was requiring immediate inspections of Max 9 planes operated by U.S. airlines or flown in the United States by foreign carriers.


The FAA’s emergency order, which it said will affect about 171 planes worldwide, is the latest blow to Boeing over the Max lineup of jets, which were involved in two deadly crashes shortly after their debut.

On Friday, a fuselage panel blew out on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 seven minutes after takeoff from Portland, Oregon. The rapid loss of cabin pressure pulled the clothes off a child and caused oxygen masks to drop from the ceiling, but miraculously none of the 171 passengers and six members were injured. Pilots made a safe emergency landing.


Hours after the terrifying incident, Alaska Airlines announced that it would ground its entire fleet of 65 Max 9s for inspections and maintenance. CEO Ben Minicucci said Alaska expects the inspections to be completed “in the next few days.”

Alaska said on Saturday that it had completed inspecting more than one-fourth of its Max 9 fleet “with no concerning findings. Aircraft will return to service as their inspections are completed with our full confidence.”

Even the short grounding disrupted the airline — the Max 9 accounts for more than one-fourth of Alaska’s fleet — and its passengers. On Saturday, Alaska cancelled more than 100 flights, or 14% of its schedule, by late morning on the West Coast, according to FlightAware.


United Airlines said it had inspected 33 of its 79 Max 9s, and pulling the planes from service had caused about 60 cancelled flights.

Photos showed a hole in the Alaska jet where an emergency exit is installed when planes are configured to carry a maximum number of passengers. Alaska plugs those doors because its 737 Max 9 jets don’t have enough seats to trigger the requirement for another emergency exit.

This photo provided by an unnamed source shows the damaged part of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.
This photo provided by an unnamed source shows the damaged part of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. PHOTO BY THE OREGONIAN VIA AP /The Associated Press
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board said they would investigate Friday’s incident.

Boeing declined a request to make an executive available for comment. The company, based in Arlington, Virginia, issued a statement saying it supported the FAA’s decision to require immediate inspections. Boeing said it was providing technical help to the investigators.


Analysts said the extent of the damage to Boeing’s brand will depend on what investigators determine caused the blowout.

Richard Aboulafia, a longtime aerospace analyst and consultant, said if the blowout is traced to a manufacturing issue it would put more pressure on Boeing to change its processes, and cash-generating deliveries of new planes could be slowed.

Aboulafia said, however, he doesn’t expect any change in Boeing’s sales of the planes “unless the situation is worse than it seems.” Airlines are snapping up new, more fuel-efficient planes from Boeing and Airbus to meet strong demand for travel coming out of the pandemic.

The plane involved in Friday’s incident is brand-new — it began carrying passengers in November and has made only 145 flights, according to Flightradar24, a flight-tracking service.


The Max — the Max 8 and Max 9 differ mainly in size — is the newest version of Boeing’s venerable 737, a twin-engine, single-aisle plane frequently used on U.S. domestic flights.

More than a decade ago, Boeing considered designing and building an entirely new plane to replace the 737. But afraid of losing sales to European rival Airbus, which was marketing a more fuel-efficient version of its similarly sized A320, Boeing decided to take the shorter path of tweaking the 737 — and the Max was born.

A Max 8 jet operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia in 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 crashed in 2019. Regulators around the world grounded the planes for nearly two years while Boeing changed an automated flight control system implicated in the crashes.


Federal prosecutors and Congress questioned whether Boeing had cut corners in its rush to get the Max approved quickly, and with a minimum of training required for pilots. In 2021, Boeing settled a criminal investigation by agreeing to pay $2.5 billion, including a $244 million fine. The company blamed two relatively low-level employees for deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration about flaws in the flight-control system.

Robert Clifford, a Chicago lawyer who is representing families of passengers killed in the Ethiopian crash, said Friday’s incident raised questions of whether regulators were too quick to let Max planes return to flying. He accused Boeing of putting profits over safety.

“This is a company that went from being the gold standard in engineering expertise and precision to now a company that seems like it’s at the bottom of the barrel,” he said.


Boeing has estimated in financial reports that fallout from the two fatal crashes has cost it more than $20 billion. It has reached confidential settlements with most of the families of passengers who died in the crashes.

After a pause following the crashes, airlines resumed buying the Max. But the plane has been plagued by problems unrelated to Friday’s blowout.

Questions about components from suppliers have held up deliveries at times. Last year, the FAA told pilots to limit use of an anti-ice system on the Max in dry conditions because of concern that inlets around the engines could overheat and break away, possibly striking the plane. And in December, Boeing told airlines to inspect the planes for a possible loose bolt in the rudder-control system.

A passenger on a Southwest Airlines jet was killed in 2018 when a piece of engine housing blew off and shattered the window she was sitting next to. However, that incident involved an earlier version of the Boeing 737, not a Max.
View attachment 20662
The real question..... why was Alaska Airlines having Spirit (Boeing Licensed Max 9 Manufacturer) sealing off rear emergency exits?
 
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spaminator

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Alaska Airlines again grounds all Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners as more maintenance may be needed
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Claire Rush, David Koenig And Becky Bohrer
Published Jan 07, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 5 minute read

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Alaska Airlines again grounded all of its Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners on Sunday after federal officials indicated further maintenance might be required to assure that another inflight blowout like the one that damaged one of its planes doesn’t happen again.


The airline had returned 18 of its 65 737 Max 9 aircraft to service Saturday following inspections that came less than 24 hours after a portion of one plane’s fuselage blew out three miles above (4.8 kilometers) above Oregon on Friday night. The depressurized plane, carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, returned safely to Portland International Airport with no serious injuries.


The airline said in a statement that the decision was made after receiving a notice from the Federal Aviation Administration that additional work might be needed. Other versions of the 737 are not affected.

“These aircraft have now also been pulled from service until details about possible additional maintenance work are confirmed with the FAA. We are in touch with the FAA to determine what, if any, further work is required before these aircraft are returned to service,” the airline said.


The FAA had ordered the grounding of some 737 Max 9s on Saturday until they could be inspected, a process that takes about four hours. The world’s airlines are currently operating about 171 737 Max 9s globally.

The aircraft make up about 20% of the Alaska Airlines’ fleet. As of midday, Alaska had canceled about a fifth of its Sunday flights, according to FlightAware.com. United Airlines, which also grounded its Max 9s, had about a 10% cancellation rate on Sunday.

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state chairs the chamber’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and said she agreed with the decision to ground Alaska Air’s Max 9 jetliners for comprehensive inspections.

“Safety is paramount. Aviation production has to meet a gold standard, including quality control inspections and strong FAA oversight,” she said in a statement.


The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating Friday’s accident and is still looking for the door from the paneled-over exit that blew out. They have a good idea of where it landed, near Oregon Route 217 and Barnes Road in the Cedar Hills area west of Portland, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said at a news conference late Saturday.

“If you find that, please, please contact local law enforcement,” she said.


Early Sunday afternoon, some local residents were scouring a patch of land with dense thickets, sandwiched between busy roads and a light rail train station. The area is located across from a sprawling hospital complex.

Adam Pirkle said he had ridden 14 miles (22 kilometers), maneuvering his bicycle through the overgrowth, while searching. “I’ve been looking at the flight track, I was looking at the winds,” he said. “I’ve been trying to focus on wooded areas.”


Daniel Feldt navigated the same thickets on foot, equipped with binoculars after descending from the roof of a parking garage beside the light rail station. “I was up on the parking garage and scanning everything. Didn’t see any holes in the bushes that looked obvious where something had fallen through,” he said.

Gavin Redshaw even brought his drone for an aerial view but hadn’t found anything either by Sunday afternoon. “Lots of trash, but no door,” he said.

There has not been a major crash involving a U.S. passenger carrier within the country since 2009 when a Colgan Air flight crashed near Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. In 2013, an Asiana Airlines flight arriving from South Korea crashed at San Francisco International Airport, killing three of the 307 people on board.


Flight 1282 took off from Portland at 5:07 p.m. Friday for a two-hour flight to Ontario, California. About six minutes later, the chunk of the fuselage blew out as the plane was at about 16,000 feet (4.8 kilometers). One of the pilots declared an emergency and asked for clearance to descend to 10,000 feet (3 kilometers), the altitude where the air would have enough oxygen to breathe safely.

Videos posted by passengers online showed a gaping hole where the paneled-over exit had been and passengers wearing masks. They applauded when the plane landed safely about 13 minutes after the blowout. Firefighters then came down the aisle, asking passengers to remain in their seats as they treated the injured.


It was extremely lucky that the airplane had not yet reached cruising altitude, when passengers and flight attendants might be walking around the cabin, Homendy said.

“No one was seated in 26A and B where that door plug is, the aircraft was around 16,000 feet and only 10 minutes out from the airport when the door blew,” she said. The investigation is expected to take months.

The aircraft involved rolled off the assembly line and received its certification two months ago, according to online FAA records. It had been on 145 flights since entering commercial service Nov. 11, said FlightRadar24, another tracking service. The flight from Portland was the aircraft’s third of the day.

Aviation experts were stunned that a piece would fly off a new aircraft. Anthony Brickhouse, a professor of aerospace safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said he has seen panels of fuselage come off planes before, but couldn’t recall one where passengers “are looking at the lights of the city.”


The Max is the newest version of Boeing’s venerable 737, a twin-engine, single-aisle plane frequently used on U.S. domestic flights. The plane went into service in May 2017.

The president of the union representing flight attendants at 19 airlines, including Alaska Airlines, commended the crew for keeping passengers safe.

“Flight Attendants are trained for emergencies and we work every flight for aviation safety first and foremost,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said in a statement Saturday.

Two Max 8 jets crashed in 2018 and 2019, killing 346 people and leading to a near two-year worldwide grounding of all Max 8 and Max 9 planes. They returned to service only after Boeing made changes to an automated flight control system implicated in the crashes.

Last year, the FAA told pilots to limit use of an anti-ice system on the Max in dry conditions because of concern that inlets around the engines could overheat and break away, possibly striking the plane.

Max deliveries have been interrupted at times to fix manufacturing flaws. The company told airlines in December to inspect the planes for a possible loose bolt in the rudder-control system.
 

Dixie Cup

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A friend of mine was flying from Vancouver to Prince George when one of the engines failed when they were flying over the mountains. She said it was pretty scary but they were fortunate to make it to Prince George because it was the only airport that could handle the plane landing. The landing was extremely hard & the brakes were applied so that she said she made a "face plant" towards the seat in front of her. I believe it was a Westjet flight.
 
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spaminator

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What to know about the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 jet that suffered a blowout
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Alexandra Olson
Published Jan 08, 2024 • 5 minute read
In this photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB Investigator-in-Charge John Lovell examines the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Portland, Ore.
In this photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB Investigator-in-Charge John Lovell examines the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Portland, Ore. PHOTO BY NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD VIA AP /The Associated Press
NEW YORK — An emergency landing by an Alaska Airlines jetliner has prompted U.S. federal authorities to ground some Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, adding another episode to the troubled history of Boeing’s Max lineup of jets.


Here is what to know about the Max 9 plane involved, and what comes next.


WHAT HAPPENED?
An Alaska Airlines jetliner blew out a portion of its fuselage seven minutes after takeoff 4.8 kilometres above Oregon Friday night, forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing. None of the 171 passengers or six crew were seriously injured but the rapid loss of cabin pressure caused oxygen masks to drop from the ceiling. National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said the two seats next to the part that tore off were unoccupied.

This photo provided by an unnamed source shows the damaged part of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.
This photo provided by an unnamed source shows the damaged part of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. PHOTO BY THE OREGONIAN VIA AP /The Associated Press
HOW ARE FEDERAL AUTHORITIES RESPONDING?
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered the grounding of some Boeing Max 9 operated by U.S. airlines or flown into the country by foreign carriers until they are inspected. The emergency order affects about 171 planes worldwide.


The NTSB has begun an investigation that is likely to last months and focus on the paneled-over exit door that blew off. The so-called door plug is installed on some jets that have fewer seats instead of an emergency exit panel. The jets ordered grounded by the FAA all have those panels installed.

Investigators said Sunday they had found the door plug, and hoped it would provide physical evidence of what went wrong.

HOW ARE AIRLINES RESPONDING?
Alaska Airlines has grounded its entire fleet of 65 Max 9s for inspections and maintenance. The airline initially kept 18 of its Max 9s in service Saturday because they had received in-depth inspections as part of recent maintenance checks. But the airline pulled those jets from service Saturday night to comply with an FAA directive for all operators of Max 9s to conduct specific inspections.


Alaska Airlines said it had cancelled 170 Sunday flights, affecting 25,000 passengers, and expects cancellations to continue through the first half of the week. Early Monday, 20% of the carrier’s flights were cancelled, 139 in all, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.

Passengers whose flights are cancelled will be moved the next available flight, the airline said, or they can request a change or a refund without incurring fees under a flexible travel policy.


United Airlines, the world’s biggest operator of Max 9s, grounded its entire fleet of 79 Max 9s and is seeking to “clarify the inspection process and requirements for returning” them to service. The airline had cancelled 204 flights early Monday, or 7% of all planned departures, according to FlightAware.

Alaska and United are the only two U.S. passenger airlines that operate Max 9 aircraft. The companies operate nearly two-thirds of the 215 Max 9 aircraft in service around the world, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium. Six other airlines use the Max 9: Panama’s Copa Airlines, Aeromexico, Turkish airlines, Icelandair, flydubai, and SCAT Airlines in Kazakhstan, according to Cirium.

Copa said it had temporarily suspended 21 Boeing 737 Max 9s to comply with the FAA’s order.


HOW SAFE IS IT TO FLY ON ONE OF THESE PLANES?
Federal officials and airline executives regularly tout the safety of air travel. There has not been a fatal crash of a U.S. airliner since 2009, when a Colgan Air plane operated for Continental crashed near Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one on the ground. However, a surge in close calls between planes at U.S. airports in the past year prompted the FAA to convene a “safety summit” last year, in which officials encouraged airlines and pilots to redouble their attention to careful flying.

The incident has also renewed questions about the safety of Boeing’s Max aircraft, which the newest version of the company’s storied 737. There are two versions of the aircraft in service: the Max 8 and the Max 9, which is the larger of the two.


Regulators around the world grounded Max 8 planes for nearly two years after a Lion Air flight crashed in Indonesia in 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 crashed in 2019. Boeing changed an automated flight control system implicated in the crashes.

Last year, the FAA told pilots to limit use of an anti-ice system on the Max in dry conditions because of concern that inlets around the engines could overheat and break away, possibly striking the plane. And in December, Boeing told airlines to inspect the planes for a possible loose bolt in the rudder-control system.

However, those past issues are unrelated to Friday’s blowout, which is an exceedingly rare event in air travel.

Anthony Brickhouse, a professor of aerospace safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said it’s too soon to say whether the blowout involved an issue with Max 9s or that specific flight. Brickhouse said passengers should feel confident that regulators and airlines will make sure the grounded Max 9s are safe before returning them to service.


Brickhouse said it it was lucky that the emergency occurred shortly after takeoff when passengers were all seated with their seatbelts on. But he said that doesn’t mean passengers should feel scared to leave their seats once the pilot turns off the “fasten seatbelt” sign because it’s so unlikely for holes to open in the fuselages of airliners.

In 1988, a flight attendant for Aloha Airlines was blown out of the cabin of a Boeing 737 over the Pacific Ocean after an 18-foot-long chunk of the roof peeled away. Metal fatigue was blamed in that case, which led to tougher rules for airlines to inspect and repair microscopic fuselage cracks.

“When passengers board a flight they should feel confident that the aircraft they are flying on is safe,” Brickhouse said.


In 2018, a passenger on a Southwest Airlines jet was killed in when a piece of engine housing blew off and shattered the window she was sitting next to. That incident involved an earlier version of the Boeing 737, not a Max.

WHAT IS BOEING’S RESPONSE?
The company, based in Arlington, Virginia, issued a brief statement saying “we deeply regret the impact this event has had on our customers and their passengers.” Boeing said it supported the FAA’s decision to require immediate inspections and said it was providing technical help to the investigators. The company has declined to make an executive available for interviews.
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spaminator

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United Airlines found loose bolts on key part of grounded Boeing 737 Max 9
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Claire Rush and David Koenig
Published Jan 08, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 5 minute read
This handout picture provided by the NTSB on Jan. 8, 2024 shows the investigation involving Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on a Boeing 737-9 MAX in Portland, Oregon.
This handout picture provided by the NTSB on Jan. 8, 2024 shows the investigation involving Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on a Boeing 737-9 MAX in Portland, Oregon. PHOTO BY HANDOUT/NTSB /AFP via Getty Images
PORTLAND, Ore. — United Airlines said Monday it found loose bolts and other “installation issues” on a part of some Boeing 737 Max 9 jets that were inspected after a mid-flight blowout on a similar Alaska Airlines jet Friday.


The inspections are focused on plugs used to seal an area set aside for extra emergency doors that are not required on United and Alaska Max 9s. That plug is the part that blew off the Alaska plane as it cruised 16,000 feet (4,900 meters) over Oregon.


“Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug — for example, bolts that needed additional tightening,” Chicago-based United said.

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Max 9s operated by Alaska and United and some flown by foreign airlines after a terrifying flight on Friday night.

The Boeing jetliner that suffered an inflight blowout over Oregon was restricted from being used for flights to Hawaii after a warning light that could have indicated a pressurization problem lit up on three different flights.


On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration approved guidelines for inspecting the door plugs on other Max 9 jets and repairing them, if necessary. That move should speed the return to service of 171 planes that the FAA grounded under an emergency order Saturday.

This handout picture provided by the NTSB on Jan. 8, 2024 shows the investigation involving Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on a Boeing 737-9 MAX in Portland, Oregon.
This handout picture provided by the NTSB on Jan. 8, 2024 shows the investigation involving Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on a Boeing 737-9 MAX in Portland, Oregon. PHOTO BY HANDOUT/NTSB /AFP via Getty Images
Alaska has 64 other Max 9s, and United Airlines owns 79 of them. No other U.S. airlines operate that model of the Boeing 737.

Shares of The Boeing Co. and Spirit AeroSystems, which builds the fuselage for Boeing’s 737 Max, both tumbled 7% at midday Monday, the first day of trading since the incident occurred. Shares of Alaska Airlines were nearly unchanged after slumping earlier in the session.

The auto-pressurization system warning on the ill-fated Alaska Airlines jet lit up during three previous flights. Homendy said she didn’t have details about a Dec. 7 incident, but that it came on again during a flight on Jan. 3 and after the plane landed on Jan. 4 _ the day before the blowout.


“We plan to look at that more and we’ve requested documentation on all defects since delivery of the aircraft on Oct. 31,” she said.

The NTSB said the lost door plug was found Sunday near Portland, Oregon, in a the backyard of a home. Investigators will examine the plug, which is 26 by 48 inches (66 by 121 centimetres) and weighs 63 pounds (28.5 kilograms), for signs of how it broke free.

Investigators will not have the benefit of hearing what was going on in the cockpit during the flight. The cockpit voice recorder _ one of two so-called black boxes — recorded over the flight’s sounds after two hours, Homendy said.

At a news conference Sunday night, Homendy provided new details about the chaotic scene that unfolded on the plane. The explosive rush of air damaged several rows of seats and pulled insulation from the walls. The cockpit door flew open and banged into a lavatory door.


The force ripped the headset off the co-pilot and the captain lost part of her headset. A quick reference checklist kept within easy reach of the pilots flew out of the open cockpit, Homendy said.

Two cell phones that appeared to have belonged to passengers on Friday’s terrifying flight were found on the ground. One was discovered in a yard, the other on the side of a road. Both were turned over to the NTSB.

The plane made it back to Portland, however, and none of the 171 passengers and six crew members was seriously injured.

Hours after the incident, the FAA ordered the grounding of 171 of the 218 Max 9s in operation, including all those used by Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, until they can be inspected. That led to flight cancellations at both carriers.


Early Monday, Alaska Airlines was forced to cancel 20% of all flights, 141 in all. United cancelled 221 flights, or 8% of its total flights scheduled for Monday.



Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun called for a companywide webcast to talk about the incident with employees and senior leadership on Tuesday.

“When serious accidents like this occur, it is critical for us to work transparently with our customers and regulators to understand and address the causes of the event, and to ensure they don’t happen again,” Calhoun wrote in a message to employees Sunday. “This is and must be the focus of our team right now.”


Alaska Airlines flight 1282 took off from Portland at 5:07 p.m. Friday for a two-hour trip to Ontario, California. About six minutes later, the chunk of fuselage blew out as the plane was climbing at about 16,000 feet (4.8 kilometres).

One of the pilots declared an emergency and asked for clearance to descend to 10,000 feet (3 kilometres), where the air would be rich enough for passengers to breathe without oxygen masks.

Videos posted online by passengers showed a gaping hole where the paneled-over door had been. They applauded when the plane landed safely about 13 minutes after the blowout. Firefighters came down the aisle, asking passengers to remain in their seats as they treated the injured.

It was extremely lucky that the airplane had not yet reached cruising altitude, when passengers and flight attendants might be walking around the cabin, Homendy said.


The aircraft involved rolled off the assembly line and received its certification two months ago, according to online FAA records. It had been on 145 flights since entering commercial service Nov. 11, said FlightRadar24, another tracking service. The flight from Portland was the aircraft’s third of the day.

The Max is the newest version of Boeing’s venerable 737, a twin-engine, single-aisle plane frequently used on U.S. domestic flights. The plane went into service in May 2017.

Two Max 8 jets crashed in 2018 and 2019, killing 346 people. All Max 8 and Max 9 planes were grounded worldwide for nearly two years until Boeing made changes to an automated flight control system implicated in the crashes.

The Max has been plagued by other issues, including manufacturing flaws, concern about overheating that led FAA to tell pilots to limit use of an anti-ice system, and a possible loose bolt in the rudder system.

— Koenig reported from Dallas. Associated Press reporter Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.
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spaminator

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IPhone survives 16,000-foot fall from Alaska Airlines 737 Max jet that suffered midair blowout
Author of the article:Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News
Kate Duffy
Published Jan 08, 2024 • 2 minute read
An iPhone from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282
An iPhone from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 PHOTO BY @SEANSAFYRE /Twitter
Among the harrowing details of the blown-off fuselage panel that triggered a sudden decompression event on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, one revelation seemed to defy the laws of physics: one of the mobile phones that had been sucked out of Boeing Co. 737 Max 9 jet’s cabin remained in functioning condition after a 16,000-foot tumble.

A new-generation Apple Inc. iPhone landed intact, unlocked and with hours of battery life remaining on a Portland, Oregon roadside, according to a post on X by a user calling himself Seanathan Bates, who said he discovered the device. The screen showed an email from Alaska Airlines about a baggage claim for the flight, based on Bates’ photos.


The phone was in airplane mode, Bates said in a TikTok video. “It was still pretty clean, no scratches on it, sitting under a bush and it didn’t have a screenlock on it,” he said.



The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed at a briefing on Sunday that one phone was found on the side of a road and another in a yard. The people have handed in both of the devices, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy told reporters.

“We’ll look through those and then return them” to passengers, Homendy said. “It also helps in telling us, ‘Are we looking in the right area?”’

Bates couldn’t be reached for comment. The NTSB had no immediate comment. ABC News reported earlier that the NTSB confirmed Bates’s account.

The fuselage panel that blew off the plane was later discovered in the backyard of a Portland-based schoolteacher.

Apple says on its website that iPhone or its battery can be damaged if dropped. In this case, the only part that appeared broken in Bates’ post was the charger cord; even the screen was intact. The end of the cord was still plugged into the phone, but the rest of the cable was detached.


Flight 1282 was forced to turn back minutes after takeoff, when the panel broke loose from the fuselage. None of the 171 passengers aboard the Max 9 jet was seriously injured. It landed safely back in Portland about 20 minutes after takeoff, having reached more than 16,000 feet (4,900 metres) in altitude before turning around.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration temporarily grounded more than 170 Max 9 aircraft to conduct safety checks before they are returned to service.
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spaminator

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Airlines say they found loose parts in door panels during inspections of Boeing Max 9 jets
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
David Koenig, Claire Rush and Tom Krisher
Published Jan 09, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Portland, Ore.
This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Portland, Ore. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PORTLAND, Ore. — Federal investigators say a door panel slid up before flying off an Alaska Airlines jetliner last week, and they are looking at whether four bolts that were supposed to help hold the panel in place might have been missing when the plane took off.


The comments Monday from the National Transportation Safety Board came shortly after Alaska and United Airlines reported separately that they found loose parts in the panels — or door plugs — of some other Boeing 737 Max 9 jets.


“Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug — for example, bolts that needed additional tightening,” Chicago-based United said.

Alaska said that as it began examining its Max 9s, “Initial reports from our technicians indicate some loose hardware was visible on some aircraft.”

This image provided by Kelly Bartlett shows passengers near a hole in the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.
This image provided by Kelly Bartlett shows passengers near a hole in the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. PHOTO BY KELLY BARTLETT VIA AP /The Associated Press
The findings of investigators and the airlines are ratcheting up pressure on Boeing to address concerns that have grown since the terrifying fuselage blowout Friday night. A plug covering a spot left for an emergency door tore off the plane as it flew 16,000 feet (4,800 metres) above Oregon.


Boeing has called an online meeting for all employees Tuesday to discuss safety.



The company, which has had problems with various planes over the years, pledged to “help address any and all findings” that airlines make during their inspections of Max 9 jets. Boeing has delivered more than 200 to customers around the world, but 171 of them were grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday until the door plugs can be inspected and, if necessary, fixed.

The door plugs are inserted where emergency exit doors would be located on Max 9s with more than about 200 seats. Alaska and United have fewer seats in their Max 9s, so they replace heavy doors with the plugs.


The panels can be opened for maintenance work. The bolts prevent the mechanism from moving upward on rollers when the plane is in flight.

During Alaska Airlines flight 1282 on Friday night, roller guides at the top of one of the plugs broke — for reasons the investigators don’t fully understand yet — allowing the entire panel to swing upward and lose contact with 12 “stop pads” that keep the panel attached to the door frame on the plane, NTSB officials said at a news briefing in Portland.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said the safety board was investigating whether four bolts that help prevent the panel from sliding up on rollers were missing when the plane took off from Portland or whether they blew off “during the violent, explosive decompression event.”


The interior of the plane suffered extensive damage, but pilots were able to return to Portland and land safely. Officials say there were no serious injuries among the 171 passengers and six crew members.

The lost door panel was found Sunday near Portland in the back yard of a school teacher’s home. NTSB officials said it will be sent to the agency’s lab in Washington, D.C., for detailed study that might help pinpoint why the plug broke loose.

Alaska and United have cancelled hundreds of flights since the weekend because of their grounded planes. Alaska has 65 Max 9s, and United has 79. The airlines waited until Monday before Boeing and the FAA completed instructions for how to inspect their planes.

The jet involved in Friday’s blowout is brand-new, having been put in service in November. After a cabin-pressurization system warning light came on during three flights, the airline stopped flying it over the Pacific to Hawaii. Some aviation experts questioned why Alaska continued using the plane on overland routes until it figured out what was causing the pressurization warnings.


Homendy said Monday, however, that NTSB has seen no evidence to link the warnings with the blowout of the door plug.

The Max is the newest version of Boeing’s 737, a twin-engine, single-aisle plane that debuted in the late 1960s and has been updated many times. The 737 has long been a workhorse for airlines on U.S. domestic routes.

Shares of Boeing fell 8% and Spirit AeroSystems, which installs the door plugs on Max jets, dropped 11% on Monday.

— Koenig reported from Dallas and Krisher reported from Detroit. Associated Press reporter Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.
Oregon-Emergency-Landing-1[1].jpgaptopix-oregon-emergency-landing[1].jpg
 

spaminator

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Twisted metal, rushing wind: A narrowly avoided disaster as jet’s wall rips away midflight
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Terry Spencer And Claire Rush
Published Jan 09, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 6 minute read
This image provided by Kelly Bartlett shows passengers near a hole in the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.
This image provided by Kelly Bartlett shows passengers near a hole in the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. PHOTO BY KELLY BARTLETT VIA AP /The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. — The loud “boom” was startling enough, and the roaring wind that immediately filled the airline cabin left Kelly Bartlett unnerved. Still, it wasn’t until a shaken teenager, shirtless and scratched, slid into the seat next to her that she realized just how close disaster had come.


A section of the Boeing 737 Max 9’s fuselage just three rows away had blown out — at 4.8 kilometres high — creating a vacuum that twisted the metal of the seats nearby, and snatched cellphones, headsets and even the shirt off the teenager’s back.


“We knew something was wrong,” Bartlett told The Associated Press on Monday. “We didn’t know what. We didn’t know how serious. We didn’t know if it meant we were going to crash.”

The first six minutes of Alaska Airlines flight 1282 from Portland to Southern California’s Ontario International Airport on Friday had been routine, the Boeing 737 Max 9 about halfway to its cruising altitude and traveling at more than 640 km/h.

Flight attendants had just told the 171 passengers that they could resume using electronic devices — in airplane mode, of course — when it happened.


Then suddenly a 2-foot-by-4-foot (61-centimetre-by-122-centimetre) piece of fuselage covering an unoperational emergency exit behind the left wing blew out. Only seven seats on the flight were unoccupied, and as fate would have it, these included the two seats closest to the blown-out hole.

The oxygen masks dropped immediately, and Bartlett saw a flight attendant walking down the aisle toward the affected row, leaning forward as if facing a stiff wind. Then flight attendants began moving passengers from the area where the blowout occurred.

Among them was the teenage boy moved next to Bartlett.

“His shirt got sucked off of his body when the panel blew out because of the pressure, and it was his seatbelt that kept him in his seat and saved his life. And there he was next to me,” she said, adding that his mother was reseated elsewhere.


“We had our masks on, and the plane was really loud so we couldn’t talk. But I had a … notes app on my phone that I was typing on. So I typed to him and I asked him if he was hurt,” Bartlett said. “I just couldn’t believe he was sitting there and what he must have gone through, what he must have been feeling at the time.”

She said the boy typed back that he was OK, but a bit scratched, adding “that was unbelievable” and “thank you for your kindness.”

The exit door plug landed in the southwest Portland backyard of high school physics teacher Bob Sauer. Sauer said his heart “did start beating a little faster” when he saw it in the beam of his flashlight Sunday night as he searched for any debris.

This handout image released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shows agents inspecting the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Jan. 8, 2024 after being found in Portland, Ore.
This handout image released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shows agents inspecting the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Jan. 8, 2024 after being found in Portland, Ore. PHOTO BY NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD /AFP via Getty Images
“It was very obviously part of a plane,” he told a group of reporters outside his home on Monday. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, people have been looking for this all weekend and it looks like it’s in my backyard.”‘


Sauer said he and the seven National Transportation Safety Board agents who came to his home to pick up the door plug were amazed it was intact. It appeared that tree branches had broken its fall.

A headrest landed on the patio of Sauer’s neighbour, Diane Flaherty. Flaherty didn’t realize what the charcoal-coloured cushion was until a friend emailed her to say federal agents were looking for airplane parts in her neighbourhood. An NTSB agent came by to pick it up.

“What are the chances that a headrest cushion falls out of the sky into your backyard?” she said.

The pilots and flight attendants have not made public statements and their names have not been released, but in interviews with National Transportation Safety Board investigators they described how their training kicked in. The pilots focused on getting the plane quickly back to Portland and the flight attendants on keeping the passengers safe and as calm as possible.


“The actions of the flight crew were really incredible,” NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said at a Sunday night news conference. She described the scene inside the cabin during those first seconds as “chaos, very loud between the air and everything going on around them and it was very violent.”

Bartlett echoed praise for the crew, saying the entire time she felt like the plane was under control even though the roaring wind was so loud she couldn’t hear the captain’s announcements.

“The flight attendants really responded well to the situation. They got everyone safe and then they got themselves safe,” she said. “And then there was nothing to do but wait, right? We were just on our way down and it was just a normal descent. It felt normal.”



This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Portland, Ore.
Airlines say they found loose parts in door panels during inspections of Boeing Max 9 jets
An iPhone from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282
IPhone survives 16,000-foot fall from Alaska Airlines 737 Max jet that suffered midair blowout
In this photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB Investigator-in-Charge John Lovell examines the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Portland, Ore.
What to know about the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 jet that suffered a blowout

Inside the cockpit, the pilot and co-pilot donned their oxygen masks and opened their microphone, but “communication was a serious issue” between them and the flight attendants because of the noise, Homendy said. The pilots retrieved an emergency handbook kept secure next to the captain’s seat.

The co-pilot contacted air traffic controllers, declaring an emergency and saying the plane needed to immediately descend to 10,000 feet (3,048 metres), the altitude where there is enough oxygen for everyone onboard to breathe.


“We need to turn back to Portland,” she said in a calm voice that she maintained throughout the landing.

In the cabin, the flight attendants’ immediate focus was on the five unaccompanied minors in their care and the three infants being carried on their parents’ laps.

“Were they safe? Were they secure? Did they have their seat belts on or their lap belts on? And did they have their masks on? And they did,” Homendy said.

Some passengers began sending messages on social media to loved ones. One young woman said on TikTok that she was certain the plane would nosedive at any second and she wondered how her death would affect her mother, worrying that she would never recover from the sorrow.

But she and others said the cabin remained surprisingly calm. One passenger, Evan Granger, who was sitting in front of the blowout, told NBC News that his “focus in that moment was just breathe into the oxygen mask and trust that the flight crew will do everything they can to keep us safe.”


“There were so many things that had to go right in order for all of us to survive,” Granger said.

Video taken by those on board showed flight attendants moving down the aisle checking on passengers. Through the hole, city lights could be seen flickering past.

Evan Smith, an attorney travelling on the plane, told reporters the descent and landing were loud but smooth. When the plane touched down at Portland International about 20 minutes after it departed, the passengers broke into applause. Firefighters came down the aisle to check for injuries, but no one was seriously hurt.

Homendy said that if the blowout had happened a few minutes later, after the plane reached cruising altitude, the accident might have become a tragedy.


Bartlett’s mind also keeps returning to the what-ifs.

“I’m glad that it is not any worse than it was — that’s all. I keep coming back to it,” she said. “Like, how lucky Jack got. That was his name, the kid who sat next to me. His name was Jack, and how lucky he was that he had a seatbelt on.”

On Sunday, a passenger’s cellphone that had been sucked out of the plane was found. It was still operational, having survived its plunge from the sky.

It was open to the owner’s baggage claim receipt.

— Spencer reported from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. AP reporter Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, and videographer Manuel Valdes in Seattle contributed to this report.Alaska-airlines-door-plug-scaled[1].jpgOregon-Emergency-Landing-1-1-e1704808659364[1].jpg
 

spaminator

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Alaska Airlines passengers sue Boeing over 737 Max 9 blowout incident
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Kelsey Ables, The Washington Post
Published Jan 12, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
This image provided by Kelly Bartlett shows passengers near a hole in the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.
This image provided by Kelly Bartlett shows passengers near a hole in the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. PHOTO BY KELLY BARTLETT VIA AP /The Associated Press
Passengers from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 are suing Boeing after a door-like panel on its Boeing 737 Max 9 plane detached midflight, causing rapid depressurization in the cabin, their attorneys said in a news release.


The complaint, filed Thursday in a Seattle court, names six passengers and a family member as plaintiffs. It says the Jan. 5 incident resulted physical injuries, including a concussion, bruises, difficulty breathing and bleeding ears, as well as emotional trauma. It also alleges that many of the oxygen masks on the plane seemed inoperable. Boeing declined to comment.


Alaska Airlines, which offered passengers an apology, a full refund for the aborted flight and $1,500 “to assist with any inconveniences,” is not named as a defendant in the case.

“This nightmare experience has caused economic, physical and ongoing emotional consequences that have understandably deeply affected our clients,” Daniel Laurence, a lawyer with the Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore firm, said in a statement. He pointed to what he called “Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun’s forthright admission that this terrifying event was caused by Boeing’s ‘mistake'” as the impetus for the proposed class-action suit. Calhoun told employees during a company meeting Tuesday that, “We’re going to approach this No. 1 acknowledging our mistake,” The Washington Post reported.



The incident rekindled scrutiny of Boeing, which manufactured planes involved in two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019, and prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to ground some Boeing 737 Max 9 planes as it investigates. This week, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines shared that technicians had found loose hardware in the same sections of the same type of aircraft in their fleets.

Shortly after the Ontario, Calif.-bound flight took off from Portland, Ore., carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, a portion of the plane’s wall known as a door plug blew out with a “sudden loud explosive noise,” according to the complaint. It left a gaping hole in the aircraft that one passenger told The Post was as wide as a refrigerator.


The rapid depressurization that followed ripped the shirt off a boy and sucked cellphones out of the plane, according to the court filing.

The plane made a safe emergency landing, but the event “physically injured some passengers and emotionally traumatized most if not all aboard,” the court filing said. It alleges that some people were bruised; the pressure change caused ears to bleed; and that, in combination with low oxygen, loud wind noise and trauma caused severe headaches.

The door blowout caused one plaintiff’s head to jolt, causing a concussion, and the pressure in her ears was so intense “she thought her head would explode,” the complaint says.

The filing also says numerous oxygen masks seemed not to work. Flight attendants tried to respond to concerns and carried oxygen bottles to some passengers, it says, “but did not or could not help all those whose oxygen masks seemed not to be functioning.”


The FAA said Thursday that it is investigating whether Boeing “failed to ensure completed products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations.” The FAA has grounded all Boeing 737 Max 9 planes with a door plug.

Boeing’s 737 Max line has a troubled history, with its 737 Max 8 at the centre of two fatal crashes within just months of each other in 2018 and 2019. Investigators in 2020 determined that the crashes were a “horrific culmination” of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency among Boeing’s management and “grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA.”
Oregon-Emergency-Landing-1-1-e1704808659364[1].jpg
 

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Low Earth Orbit
Alaska Airlines passengers sue Boeing over 737 Max 9 blowout incident
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Kelsey Ables, The Washington Post
Published Jan 12, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
This image provided by Kelly Bartlett shows passengers near a hole in the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.
This image provided by Kelly Bartlett shows passengers near a hole in the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. PHOTO BY KELLY BARTLETT VIA AP /The Associated Press
Passengers from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 are suing Boeing after a door-like panel on its Boeing 737 Max 9 plane detached midflight, causing rapid depressurization in the cabin, their attorneys said in a news release.


The complaint, filed Thursday in a Seattle court, names six passengers and a family member as plaintiffs. It says the Jan. 5 incident resulted physical injuries, including a concussion, bruises, difficulty breathing and bleeding ears, as well as emotional trauma. It also alleges that many of the oxygen masks on the plane seemed inoperable. Boeing declined to comment.


Alaska Airlines, which offered passengers an apology, a full refund for the aborted flight and $1,500 “to assist with any inconveniences,” is not named as a defendant in the case.

“This nightmare experience has caused economic, physical and ongoing emotional consequences that have understandably deeply affected our clients,” Daniel Laurence, a lawyer with the Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore firm, said in a statement. He pointed to what he called “Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun’s forthright admission that this terrifying event was caused by Boeing’s ‘mistake'” as the impetus for the proposed class-action suit. Calhoun told employees during a company meeting Tuesday that, “We’re going to approach this No. 1 acknowledging our mistake,” The Washington Post reported.



The incident rekindled scrutiny of Boeing, which manufactured planes involved in two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019, and prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to ground some Boeing 737 Max 9 planes as it investigates. This week, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines shared that technicians had found loose hardware in the same sections of the same type of aircraft in their fleets.

Shortly after the Ontario, Calif.-bound flight took off from Portland, Ore., carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, a portion of the plane’s wall known as a door plug blew out with a “sudden loud explosive noise,” according to the complaint. It left a gaping hole in the aircraft that one passenger told The Post was as wide as a refrigerator.


The rapid depressurization that followed ripped the shirt off a boy and sucked cellphones out of the plane, according to the court filing.

The plane made a safe emergency landing, but the event “physically injured some passengers and emotionally traumatized most if not all aboard,” the court filing said. It alleges that some people were bruised; the pressure change caused ears to bleed; and that, in combination with low oxygen, loud wind noise and trauma caused severe headaches.

The door blowout caused one plaintiff’s head to jolt, causing a concussion, and the pressure in her ears was so intense “she thought her head would explode,” the complaint says.

The filing also says numerous oxygen masks seemed not to work. Flight attendants tried to respond to concerns and carried oxygen bottles to some passengers, it says, “but did not or could not help all those whose oxygen masks seemed not to be functioning.”


The FAA said Thursday that it is investigating whether Boeing “failed to ensure completed products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations.” The FAA has grounded all Boeing 737 Max 9 planes with a door plug.

Boeing’s 737 Max line has a troubled history, with its 737 Max 8 at the centre of two fatal crashes within just months of each other in 2018 and 2019. Investigators in 2020 determined that the crashes were a “horrific culmination” of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency among Boeing’s management and “grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA.”
View attachment 20761
Wow, didn't see that comin'. . .
Why Boeing when it was

Spirit AeroSystems​

Aerospace company

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c3/...

spiritaero.com

Description​

Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc., based in Wichita, Kansas, United States, is an American aerostructure manufacturer, and is the world's largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer.

 

spaminator

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A federal official says the part that blew off a jetliner was made in Malaysia by a Boeing supplier
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
David Koenig
Published Jan 17, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Portland, Ore.
This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Portland, Ore. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The panel that blew out of an Alaska Airlines jetliner this month was manufactured in Malaysia by Boeing’s leading supplier, the head of the agency investigating the incident said Wednesday.


Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, said her agency will look into how the part was produced by Spirit AeroSystems and installed on the plane. She made the comments to reporters in Washington after a closed-door briefing for senators.


A spokesman for Spirit AeroSystems confirmed that the plug was made in Malaysia and said the company is committed to cooperating with the NTSB.

Separately, officials said airlines have inspected 40 planes identical to the one involved in the accident. The Federal Aviation Administration said it will review information from those inspections of Boeing 737 Max 9 jets while it develops a maintenance process before letting the planes carry passengers again.


Boeing’s CEO spent the day visiting Spirit AeroSystems’ headquarters and factory in Wichita, Kansas, and vowed that the two companies will work together to “get better.”

In Washington, Homendy and FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker spent two hours briefing members of the Senate Commerce Committee. The officials indicated that their separate investigations of Boeing and the accident are in the early stages.

“Nothing was said about penalties or enforcement, but when there is an end result, I have no doubt but that there will be consequences,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican.

Moran said Whitaker indicated that the FAA is focusing “on the challenges that Boeing has faced over a longer period of time, of which this incident, this potential disaster, was only one component.”


During the briefing, “there was also interest in trying to make sure that the FAA is doing its job in its oversight,” Moran said in an interview.

The FAA and NTSB declined to comment on the briefing.

Boeing said CEO David Calhoun visited the Wichita factory of Spirit AeroSystems, which makes a large part of the fuselage on Boeing Max jets and installs the part that came off an Alaska Airlines jetliner. Calhoun and Spirit CEO Patrick Shanahan — a former Boeing executive and acting U.S. defense secretary whose nomination by President Donald Trump to lead the Pentagon failed _ met with about 200 Spirit employees in what the companies termed a town hall.

“We’re going to get better” because engineers and mechanics at Boeing and Spirit “are going to learn from it, and then we’re going to apply it to literally everything else we do together,” Calhoun said.


Shanahan told the workers that by working with the NTSB, FAA, the airlines and Boeing, “we will restore confidence.”

The meeting of CEOs occurred as both companies face scrutiny over the quality of their work.

An Alaska Airlines Max 9 was forced to make an emergency landing on Jan. 5 after a panel called a door plug blew out of the side of the plane shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon.

The NTSB is investigating the accident, while the FAA investigates whether Boeing and its suppliers followed quality-control procedures.

Alaska and United Airlines, the only other U.S. airline that flies the Max 9, reported finding loose hardware in door plugs of other planes they inspected after the accident. Both airlines have canceled hundreds of flights while their Max 9s are grounded.

Boeing shares gained 1% on Wednesday but have dropped 18% since the accident, making the Arlington, Virginia, company the worst performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in that span.
aptopix-oregon-emergency-landing-2[1].jpg
 

spaminator

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Boeing flags potential delays after supplier finds another problem with some 737 fuselages
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Feb 05, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 3 minute read

Boeing discovered another problem in some of its 737 Max fuselages that may delay deliveries of about 50 planes in the latest quality gaffe to plague the giant aircraft manufacturer.


Boing said late Sunday that an employee of a supplier alerted managers about improperly drilled holes. The head of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division said some planes that have not yet been delivered to airlines will need to be reworked, but he said the issue did not affect the safety of Max jetliners that are already flying.


The revelation of new quality issues involving Boeing planes came as another leading airline executive took aim at the manufacturer.

The president of Emirates, a major international airline based in Dubai, told the Financial Times he has seen “progressive decline” in Boeing standards, which he blames on management mistakes _ including putting financial performance over engineering excellence.


“They have got to instill this safety culture which is second to none,” Tim Clark told the newspaper. “They’ve got to get their manufacturing processes under review so there are no corners cut, etc. I’m sure (Boeing CEO) Dave Calhoun and Stan Deal (chief of Boeing’s commercial-airplanes division) are on that … this is the last chance saloon.”

Clark is the latest industry executive to criticize Boeing, adding to pressure on Calhoun, who became CEO after Dennis Muilenburg was fired during the fallout from two deadly crashes involving Max 8 planes. In all, 346 people were killed.

The latest quality issue involves two holes that were incorrectly drilled in the window frames of some Max jets. The problem was reported by Spirit AeroSystems, a major supplier that provides Boeing with fuselages for the Max.


“While this potential condition is not an immediate safety issue and all 737s can continue operating safely, we currently believe we will have to perform rework on about 50 undelivered planes,” Deal said in a letter to employees.

Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems are facing intense scrutiny over the quality of their work after an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 was forced to make an emergency landing on Jan. 5 when a panel called a door plug blew out of the side of the plane shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, while the Federal Aviation Administration investigates whether Boeing and its suppliers followed quality-control procedures.

The NTSB is expected to issue a preliminary report on the Alaska Airlines blowout this week.


Shares of the The Boeing Co., already down 20% this year, slipped another 2% in midday trading Monday.

Problems with Boeing jets have opened a potential rift with some of its biggest customers. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said last month that the carrier will consider alternative aircraft in the future, and Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said, “I am more than frustrated and disappointed. I am angry.”

Alaska and United Airlines are the only two U.S. carriers flying the Max 9. They reported finding loose hardware in door plugs of other planes they inspected after the accident. The FAA grounded all Max 9s in the U.S. the day after the blowout. Two weeks later, the agency approved the inspection and maintenance process to return the planes to flying.


By Monday, 94% of the Alaska and United Max 9 had been inspected and cleared to return to service, according to the FAA.

The FAA’s deputy associate administrator for aviation safety, Jodi Baker, said Monday that the FAA has stepped up oversight of Boeing’s 737 factory in Renton, Washington. She said the FAA is in the early stages of updating its procedures, including doing more “surveillance” of factory workers instead of relying on “audits” of the manufacturer’s work.

“We can actually talk to employees and figure out what is motivating them, what are they concerned about,” Baker told reporters, “and that allows us to get a better sense of the safety culture actually at the employee level.”

The accident on the Alaska Max 9 is already affecting Boeing in other ways.


The Arlington, Virginia-based company said last week it was withdrawing a request for a safety exemption for a new, smaller model of the Max. Boeing had asked the FAA last year to let it begin deliveries of Max 7s before the company redesigned an anti-ice system that in some conditions can cause overheating of engine inlets, which could cause them to break off during flight.

The FAA has ordered Boeing to limit production of 737s to 38 per month until the regulator is satisfied that quality concerns are being met. Boeing had hoped to boost production to 42 per month this year — generating cash and meeting demand from airlines for new planes.
 

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NTSB says bolts on Boeing jetliner were missing before a panel blew out in midflight last month
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
David Koenig
Published Feb 06, 2024 • 4 minute read
This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Jan. 8, 2024, in Portland, Ore.
This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Jan. 8, 2024, in Portland, Ore. PHOTO BY NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD VIA AP /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Bolts that helped secure a panel to the frame of a Boeing 737 Max 9 were missing before the panel blew off the Alaska Airlines plane last month, according to accident investigators.


The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday a preliminary report on the Jan. 5 incident that the lack of certain damage on the plane indicates that all four bolts were missing before the plane took off from Portland, Oregon.


Without the bolts, nothing prevented the panel from sliding upward and detaching from “stop pads” that secured it to the airframe.

The Alaska Airlines pilots were forced to make a harrowing emergency landing with a hole in the side of the plane, but no serious injuries were reported.

The NTSB report included a photo from Boeing, which worked on the panel called a door plug, that showed that three of the four bolts that prevent the panel from moving upward are missing. The location of a fourth bolt is obscured by insulation.


NTSB photo shows door plug on 737 Max 9 used on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 missing bolts at Boeing factory
NTSB photo shows a door plug with missing bolts on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282’s Boeing 737 Max 9 at the Boeing factory. PHOTO BY NTSB
The preliminary report said the plane arrived at Boeing’s factory near Seattle with five damaged rivets near the door plug, which had been installed by supplier Spirit AeroSystems. A Spirit crew replaced the rivets, which required removing the four bolts and opening the plug.

The report did not say who removed the bolts. It said that a text message between Boeing employees who finished working on the plane after the rivet job included the photo showing the plug with missing bolts.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., was upset at Boeing’s lack of documentation about who did what and when the bolts went missing.

“They didn’t write any of this down,” she said in an interview. “It is very much Boeing’s responsibility, absolutely, but I’m concerned that we may have multiple points of failure here.”


The NTSB did not declare a probable cause for the accident — that will come at the end of an investigation that could last a year or longer.

“Whatever final conclusions are reached, Boeing is accountable for what happened,” CEO David Calhoun said in a statement. “An event like this must not happen on an airplane that leaves our factory. We simply must do better for our customers and their passengers.”

Investigators said they were still trying to determine who authorized the Boeing crew to open and reinstall the door plug.

Safety experts have said the accident could have been catastrophic if the Alaska jet had reached cruising altitude. The decompression in the cabin after the blowout would have been far stronger, and passengers and flight attendants might have been walking around instead of being belted into their seats.


When Alaska and United Airlines began inspecting their other Max 9s, they reported finding loose hardware including loose bolts in some of the door plugs. Boeing said none of the other Alaska and United Max 9s have been discovered to be missing the critical bolts.

The incident has added to questions about manufacturing quality at Boeing that started with the deadly crashes of two Max 8 jets in 2018 and 2019, killing 346 people. In 2021, Boeing reached a settlement with the Justice Department to avoid criminal prosecution on a charge of conspiring to defraud government regulators by failing to accurately describe a flight-control system that was implicated in the crashes.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether Boeing and its suppliers followed proper safety procedures in manufacturing parts for the Max. The FAA has barred Boeing from speeding up production of 737s until the agency is satisfied about quality issues.


FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker said Tuesday that his agency is about halfway through a six-week audit of manufacturing processes at Boeing and Spirit, its key supplier on the Max. He said the agency is confronted with two questions: What’s wrong with the Max 9? And, “what’s going on with the production at Boeing?”

Spirit, which Boeing spun off as a separate company nearly 20 years ago, said in a statement that it is reviewing the NTSB preliminary report and is working with Boeing and regulators “on continuous improvement in our processes and meeting the highest standards of safety, quality and reliability.”

The plug that broke off Alaska flight 1282 is used to seal holes left for extra emergency doors. Alaska and United don’t have enough seats on their Max 9s to trigger a requirement for the extra exits, so they tell Boeing to install plugs instead because they are lighter and cheaper than doors.

Alaska Airlines has estimated the grounding of its 65 Max 9s will cost the Seattle-based carrier $150 million, and it expects to be compensated by Boeing. United said the grounding would cause it to lose money in the first quarter and plan for a future without new, larger Max jets that have not yet been approved by the FAA.
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