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Finding Loose Bolts, Errant Parts On United’s New 737 Door Plugs – HotAir

Ay Dios mio, this is bad news.

United Airlines said Monday that it has found loose bolts on door plugs of several Boeing 737 Max 9 planes during inspections spurred when a panel of that type blew out during an Alaska Airlines flight at 16,000 feet last week.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday grounded dozens of 737 Max 9s after the panel blew out midflight on Alaska Flight 1282, calling for inspections.

United has 79 of the Max 9 planes in its fleet and is the biggest operator of the jet model.

“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,” United said in a statement. “These findings will be remedied by our Tech Ops team to safely return the aircraft to service.”

Come ON, man – some of these planes are only two months old! That’s completely UNSAT! A couple of mine in the mid-80’s still had patched holes in them from Vietnam War combat damage.

I spent almost twelve years fixing airplanes or supervising the Marines who did, and had what’s known as “Safe for Flight” authority. What that meant was is that a plane could not be released to an aircrew for flight without my signature on its book signifying I’d checked everything and it was “SAFE” to go flying – all the inspections up to date, all the maintenance (required and unscheduled) had been properly performed and signed off by QUALIFIED inspectors, all the fluids, petrol, bomb and/or missile loads, etc. were what and where they needed to be for the mission, etc. It was a tremendous responsibility, and I had tremendous people working with me, but that final “good to go” was on me and me alone.

As it would have been GOD FORBID something happened to that bird anytime after the crew left my desk to go launch.

There are people at Boeing letting these planes go out without the level of scrutiny you expect from the manufacturer of an airliner where hundreds of lives are at stake both in and on the ground under it while it’s in the air.

It’s that simple.

According to Jon Ostrower’s article in The Air Current:

…The discrepant bolts and other parts on the plug doors have been found on at least five aircraft, one of the people told The Air Current.

…Across the five aircraft, there is little consistency in the locations of the errant parts, according to documents reviewed by The Air Current. in one instance, United found that the bolts that affix the lower hinge of the plug door were not fully seated, and that the washers on the bolts could “spin.”

Jesus. That’s just unconscionable.

There’s no way with the way these birds are designed and the materials they use that bolts “loosen” after a couple months of flight time. They are either not being torqued down correctly or there is supposed to be some sort of a safety-wire-type feature similar to the cotter pin through the bolt near the spring in the picture that isn’t being attached. If you click through the tweet you can enlarge the pic and really see those two loose bolts on the right.

God knows what the other “discrepant parts” are that are referred to in the story. I almost don’t want to know.

Whatever and whoever it is, and on what production line this is happening, there’s a huge quality assurance problem at Boeing.


You know, storied history and all, yeah yeah yeah, but Boeing’s been a Schlitz-show for years now, and this is just one more nail in their coffin. I don’t know if it’s union trouble, bean-counters running it instead of engineers, all of the above, none of the above, but they are a disaster waiting to happen. And that’s not just me as a hardcore Lockheed lover, and Grumman Ironworks for life type.

The president of their largest customer took shots at them today.

Emirates executive takes a jab at Boeing, says quality control has been an ongoing issue

In the wake of another plane model being grounded indefinitely, the president of one of the world’s largest airlines isn’t mincing words about jet maker Boeing.

They’ve had quality control problems for a long time now, and this is just another manifestation of that,” Tim Clark, president of Emirates, told Bloomberg. His comments come just days after part of a Boeing 737 Max operated by Alaska Airlines separated in-flight from its fuselage, forcing an emergency landing. “I think they’re getting their act together now, but this doesn’t help.”

The Max, a more efficient version of Boeing’s famous 737 airliner, first made headlines after two deadly crashes forced its grounding worldwide in 2019. After changes to its computer software, the jet was cleared to fly again in 2020. Today, the plane represents a massive portion of Boeing’s order book, with thousands in its backlog.


This is really something.

I’m not sure I’m looking forward to that flight out of here Thursday morning…

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