FAA, Alaska Airlines keeps Boeing 737 Dash-9 MAX aircraft grounded; passenger lawsuits spread

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The Federal Aviation Administration, having grounded the Boeing 737 Dash 9 MAX aircraft earlier this month, said it is still investigating Boeing’s manufacturing practices and production lines, including those involving subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems. The FAA said it is bolstering its oversight of Boeing, and examining potential system change. 

Alaska Airlines, which owns 65 of the new jets, is still experiencing schedule disruptions across its routes.
 
After the door-plug incident occurred on an Alaska Airlines jet on Jan. 5, the FAA announced requirements for an inspection and maintenance process as a necessary step before the FAA contemplates any further steps in the process to return Boeing 737 Dash 9 MAXs to service, the agency said.

The first 40 inspections that are part of that process are now complete, and the FAA is reviewing the data from them.

“All 737-9 MAX aircraft with door plugs will remain grounded pending the FAA’s review and final approval of an inspection and maintenance process that satisfies all FAA safety requirements. Once the FAA approves an inspection and maintenance process, it will be required on every grounded 737-9 MAX prior to future operation. The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning these aircraft to service,” the agency said on Wednesday.

Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, also issued a statement on Wednesday, reassuring the public that the airlines had not only grounded the jet before the FAA took the same action, but is deploying its own quality-control staff to the Boeing plant to oversee the construction of jets that Alaska Airlines has purchased.

Meanwhile, several passengers aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 who saw the door plug blowout are taking legal action, seeking compensation for associate traumas. Other passengers have already filed suit against Boeing, but the new lawsuit, filed in Seattle on Wednesday, points out that Alaska Airlines was concerned enough about the aircraft that it had pulled it from its over-water route to Hawaii. The jet had been delivered to Alaska Airlines from Boeing in October.

Spirit AeroSystems, which built the fuselage that ailed, issued no updates this week relating to the near-catastrophe that took place as the Alaska Airlines flight 1282 was climbing out of Portland International Airport en route to Ontario, Calif.

All three companies — Alaska Airlines, Boeing, and Spirit AeroSystems — have embraced DEI, a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion hiring system that prioritizes social engineering goals over skill, experience, and performance.

Boeing’s problems go beyond its DEI human resource strategy. The Wall Street Journal reports that a Boeing aerospace engineer published white paper in 2001 for an internal technical symposium.

The engineer, John Hart-Smith, “warned colleagues of the risks of the subcontracting strategy, especially if Boeing outsourced too much work and didn’t provide sufficient on-site quality and technical support to its suppliers,” the newspaper reported. 

“The performance of the prime manufacturer can never exceed the capabilities of the least proficient of the suppliers,” Hart-Smith wrote in the paper. “These costs do not vanish merely because the work itself is out-of-sight.” 

As Alaska Airlines and its passengers suffer from the Boeing-created near-disaster, United Airlines is also taking heat after video surfaced of its CEO Scott Kirby allegedly dressed in drag and publicly performing as a drag queen, raising further concerns about the seriousness of the company regarding safety and its focus on diversity, rather than quality control. United has over 70 o the Boeing 737 Dash 9 MAX aircraft, although the planes represent a smaller portion of United’s fleet than they do over at Alaska Airlines.


The FAA is supporting the National Transportation Safety Board’s primary role in the investigation into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. FAA has also embraced DEI, establishing hiring targets that include bringing into the agency people with psychiatric problems and severe mental disabilities, as outlined in the agency’s own documentation.

11 COMMENTS

  1. When the diversity hire wasn’t even screened for “RightyTighty, LeftyLoosey,” you know things won’t turn out well.

  2. Boeing looks to be fixing this issue but the question I have is there were at least two cabin pressurization warnings that were not identified. Brand new plane? Whether it was a bad sensor or what, the aircraft should had been pulled from service until the reading was positively identified. Why isn’t Alaska Airlines maintenance crew being called out for letting this go?

    • No pilot of any integrity or knowledge of his aircraft would accept an aircraft with a malfunctioning door warning system. How this could be deferred is beyond my 50 years experience in the industry. A rapid decompression is just as bad regardless of destination. And how long does it take to make sure that the remaining doors are properly bolted, since that has been identified. Safety wire, lock nuts, torqued, done. No warning lights flickering. Maintenance by licensed mechanics only. Pay the wages or buy trucks. Planes don’t fly on pixy dust just yet.

  3. Alaska’s CEO employs all of the right Buzz Words in his pitch. Partnering for example… (even as he fights with his employees over their contracts). In a sick sort of way I think United Air’s CEO presents a more honest picture of where these DEI Companies really stand, or crawl or wag or shake…

  4. Boeing has had problems delivering airframes for the USAF for a decade. The MIL had to completely stop deliveries of the KC46 until Boeing got their act together – too much junk in the airframes, fasteners not fastened, hydraulic leaks, electrical issues. I don’t know about other aircraft, but my guess is that the problem is pervasive. All of this is documented. Boeing is no longer in the business of building airplanes, they’re in the DEI business. Airbus doesn’t have this problem. Their production is locked down tight. It’s a shame. The B-52 and KC-135 have been flying for 60+ years. They are darned good aircraft build by people who understood that the end product had to perform. This seems to be not so much the focus anymore.

  5. My comments, like many others on this topic, are little more than speculation. That said, our system sure gives plenty of space, time and latitude to critics. It may be the case that there was a serious lapse in quality control on securing the door plug. Further, the design may have worked well with the plug mostly securing itself until it didn’t. Add the required bolts, torque them appropriately and the problem may be solved.

    My concern is that the FAA is a government bureaucracy with unknown expertise. The agency may try to chart a path forward or leave Boeing to twist in the political and bureaucratic wind without making a honest effort to identify and offer a “cure” for the problem. Maybe the FAA will pull just enough of the curtain back to let the public have some confidence in their process. Boeing has a lot of financial and corporate interest it getting this right.

    Agencies like the CDC and the FBI have told lots of lies in recent times. Why should we trust the FAA in this case? Asking for a friend.

    • Great point MRAK, one recalls the crash in ’71 killing all aboard that likely was caused by the FAA due to the alignment of Sisters Island’s VOR, officially Alaska Airlines took the blame for the incident. Pilot Error…
      But funny how in those regulated days the Government quickly made the decision to vacate Western Airlines and give Alaska Air a monopoly in the S E. Market.
      Yes Federal agencies never lie.

  6. AkAir donated Money to BlackLivesMatter . This law firm suing Boeing is same firm that was BLM’s law firm . Pretty good notion that the firm won’t bite the hand that feeds them . If there were in fact cabin pressurization issues , that falls back into Alaska Airlines lap would be my guess . Rather than the FAA punish some inspector that signed off installation or vender who didn’t tighten bolts , seems to be some systemic issues in parts sourcing which points to much bigger issues at Boeing .

    And once again , at least 50% of commercial passenger boardings in the last ten years have been in Boeing Airliners . Possibly 10 billion passengers flown with one fatality when an engine came apart ? Numbers don’t lie , very safe time to fly in the last ten years . Maybe safest period in the history of large commercial aviation . Let’s not overlook that fact . Of course the lawyers will spin it up and file some more lawsuits that just plainly show they weren’t good in math or ignore statistics .

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