FAA Orders Additional Inspections on Boeing 737 Max Jets Due to New Defect

By Ivan PetrenkoFeb 12, 2024 03:10 AMNews
Silhouette of a model airplane against a blurred cityscape
Silhouette of a model airplane against a blurred cityscape. Source: unsplash

In a recent development that adds to Boeing's ongoing challenges with its 737 Max series, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has mandated extra inspections for a segment of these aircraft. The directive, issued on Thursday, comes after an international operator of the 737 Max discovered loose bolts in the rudder control system of one of its jets in December. This discovery prompted Boeing to advise inspections for specific models, including the 737 Max 8, Max 8-200, and Max 9.

According to USAtoday, the FAA's airworthiness directive affects 1,299 planes globally, with 482 of these registered in the United States. Following Boeing's initial advisory, all affected aircraft underwent inspections by early January, before the FAA's formal order takes effect. The forthcoming FAA regulation, slated for official publication in the Federal Register on Monday, will transform Boeing's recommendation into a mandatory action for airlines.

This issue is distinct from another incident involving missing bolts, which led to a door plug detaching from an Alaska Airlines 737 Max during flight in January. The series of problems has intensified scrutiny on Boeing's best-selling single-aisle jet, despite assurances from experts about the aircraft's safety. However, some passengers have voiced their concerns, reflecting a growing wariness about the 737 Max's reliability.

The FAA has not disclosed the identity of the airline that initially detected the loose bolts, only noting it was not a U.S.-based carrier. Moreover, Boeing's own inspections uncovered a similar problem in an undelivered aircraft. As investigations by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) into the Alaska Airlines incident proceed, the FAA has heightened its oversight of Boeing's production processes.

Despite the challenges, industry experts reaffirm the 737 Max's safety, a stance echoed by Boeing as it works to resolve these issues and restore confidence among airlines, passengers, and regulators alike. The latest FAA order underscores the aviation industry's commitment to maintaining stringent safety standards and the ongoing efforts to ensure the reliability of one of the world's most widely used aircraft.

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