Boeing asks operators to inspect 737 MAX jets for loose rudder bolts

A Boeing 737 MAX in flight.
Photo Credit: Boeing

Aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing has issued a crucial call to all airlines operating the 737 Max model to conduct inspections of their aircraft’s rudder systems.

This advisory stems from a concerning incident where an undisclosed international operator uncovered a missing nut in the rudder control linkage system during routine maintenance activities.

FAA Statement and Boeing Actions


In a statement released today, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  said that it is closely monitoring targeted inspections on Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, specifically focusing on identifying potential loose bolts in the rudder control system.

Boeing has subsequently issued a Multi-Operator Message (MOM) to all operators of newer single-aisle airplanes.

This message urges operators to inspect specific tie rods responsible for controlling rudder movement, with a specific emphasis on identifying any loose hardware.

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Boeing is working in close consultation with the FAA throughout the inspection process. The FAA stated that it will remain in contact with Boeing and the airlines while the inspections are underway.

The collaboration extends to the airlines, with the FAA urging them to leverage their approved Safety Management Systems to determine if any instances of loose hardware have been previously detected.

Furthermore, the airlines are requested to provide the FAA with comprehensive details regarding the speed at which these critical two-hour inspections can be carried out.

This collaborative effort ensures a swift response to potential safety concerns.

Boeing’s Recommendations


Boeing’s decision to recommend these inspections follows the initial discovery made by an international operator during routine maintenance.

A bolt with a missing nut was identified in the rudder-control linkage system, prompting immediate action.

Upon further investigation, Boeing also found an undelivered aircraft with a nut that had not been properly tightened.

The US manufacturer said the repair involves removing an access panel and visually confirming the nuts and bolts. Boeing will also perform this inspection on all new aircraft going forward.

FAA’s Ongoing Input


The FAA, committed to ensuring air travel safety, has made it clear that it will take additional actions based on any further discoveries related to loose or missing hardware.

This commitment underlines the agency’s dedication to pre-emptive measures and continuous monitoring to guarantee the highest safety standards for air travelers.

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Boeing has called on all operators to inspect 737 MAX aircraft rudder systems after an operator reported a missing nut during maintenance.
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