Federal officials have ordered the immediate grounding of some Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners until they are inspected after an Alaska Airlines plane suffered a blowout that left a gaping hole in the side of the fuselage 12. The required inspections take around four to eight hours per aircraft and affect about 171 airplanes worldwide 1.
Alaska Airlines said in a statement that of the 65 737 Max 9 aircraft in its fleet, crews had inspected the paneled-over exits as part of recent maintenance work on 18 planes, and those were cleared to return to service Saturday. Inspections for the remaining aircraft were expected to be completed in the coming days, the company said 1.
Boeing 737 Max 9 Fuselage Blowout
The incident occurred when an Alaska Airlines jetliner blew out a portion of its fuselage shortly after takeoff 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) above Oregon late Friday, forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing as its 171 passengers and six crew members donned oxygen masks 1. No one was seriously hurt as the depressurized plane returned safely to Portland International Airport about 20 minutes after departure 1.
Authorities are still looking for the door from the paneled-over exit and have a good idea of where it landed, near Oregon Route 217 and Barnes Road in the Cedar Hills area west of Portland, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said at a news conference late Saturday 1.
The incident was a harrowing experience for the passengers on board, who were filled with panic and fear 1. Videos circulating online showed the cabin of the aircraft filled with smoke, and passengers were seen crying and screaming during the emergency landing 1.
The passengers were evacuated from the aircraft after the landing, and thankfully, there were no reports of any injuries 1. The incident highlights the importance of safety measures and the need for airlines to ensure that their aircraft are well-maintained and equipped to handle emergencies 1.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Boeing 737 Max 9 emergency landing incident highlights the importance of safety measures and the need for airlines to ensure that their aircraft are well-maintained and equipped to handle emergencies 1.
The FAA has taken several corrective actions to ensure the airplane’s safe return to service, including changes to aircraft design and operation, additional changes related to the flight control software update, training enhancements, compliance activity, and system safety analysis 1. The FAA’s continued operational safety process is aimed at ensuring the safety of passengers and crew members 1.
In addition, the Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General has revealed that individual engineers recommended “grounding the airplane while the accident was being investigated based on what they perceived as similarities” between two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia 2.
Past incidents with Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners
The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners comes after 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 1.
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 leading to engine failure 1.
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