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Sun, Jan 14, 2024

Another Day, Another 737 MAX Grounding

All MAX 9 Aircraft in Time-Out Until FAA Sees 'Extensive and Rigorous' Fixes

The FAA announced a grounding for all Boeing 737 MAX-9 aircraft equipped with a certain plugged-exit layout in response to apparently unimpressive results throughout the operating fleet.

While the FAA had initially appeared as if it would let Boeing and its customers work things out between themselves, expanded inspections throughout the Max-9 fleet generated rumors that there were more loose bolts out there in the wild than expected. How true that is remains unknown, but rumors are as good as truth to the flying public - and Boeing's increasingly lackluster track record certainly doesn't buy them any credibility now. As such, the FAA won't let them fly until it approves an "extensive and rigorous inspection and maintenance process for returning 737 MAX-9 aircraft to service.

“We are working to make sure nothing like this happens again,” FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said. “Our only concern is the safety of American travelers and the Boeing 737-9 MAX will not return to the skies until we are entirely satisfied it is safe.”

Some believed that Boeing's homework didn't impress the FAA much when it first turned them in. The agency initially said it would need "additional data" before approving the technique. In addition, the agency will require plug-door inspections of 40 aircraft. Apparently that was false, since the FAA did say it's "encouraged by the exhaustive nature of Boeing’s instructions for inspections and maintenance". The agency clarified that it wants to go through with the approval process once it reviews data from that batch of 40 aircraft once inspected.

"Upon a full review of the data the FAA will make a determination whether the instructions satisfy compliance with the highest standard of safety. If the FAA approves Boeing’s inspection and maintenance instructions, operators will be required to perform that regimen on every aircraft before it is returned to service."

Going along with that, the FAA "immediately increased its oversight of Boeing production and manufacturing" after the Alaska door mishap. It went a step further off the bat, too, launching an investigation to determine if Boeing failed to ensure completed products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations."

FMI: www.faa.gov

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