FAA expands inspections to 737-900ER door plugs

Render of Boeing 737-900ER
Image Credit: Boeing

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a recommendation to operators of Boeing 737-900ER aircraft to visually inspect the mid-exit cabin door plugs in order to ensure the assembly is properly secured.

The latest recommendation comes as an update to the US aviation regulators grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft equipped with the mid-fuselage door plugs.

Since the in-flight incident involving an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX, both Alaska Airlines and United Airlines found instances of issues with door plug fittings.

The latest recommendation by the FAA, in the form of a Safety Alert for Operators, widens inspections to the older 737-900ER variant.

NTSB Recovers Missing Door Plug from Alaska Airlines 1282
Photo Credit: NTSB.

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737-900ER variant


The Boeing 737-900ER variant is not part of the new MAX fleet, but it is equipped with an identical door plug design.

In accordance with their Safety Management Systems, operators conducted additional inspections on the Boeing 737-900ER following the loss of a mid-cabin door plug on a Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft on January 5.

The widening of inspection recommendations to encompass 737-900ER variants was disclosed as an update by the FAA on Sunday, January 21, in a move the aviation regulator describes as “an added layer of safety”.

The FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) pertaining to the 737-900ER recommends that operators carry out a visual inspection of the door plug assembly to ensure that it is restrained from any movements through four securing points – the two upper guide track bolts and two lower arrester bolts.

The SAFO 24001 can be accessed here.

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The US FAA has issued a recommendation to operators of Boeing 737-900ER variants to carry out a visual inspection of mid-cabin door plugs.
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