In the last 30 minutes, the NTSB has released the preliminary report on Alaska Airlines flight AS1282, which caused controversy for Boeing and the 737 MAX 9 last month.
As you know, a inoperable door plug separated from the aircraft outside of Portland a few weeks ago, which caused the temporary grounding of certain MAX 9 aircraft, as well as increased oversight over the American planemaker as a result of this.
Without further ado, let’s get into it…
NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282…
AS1282 departed Portland, Oregon on January 5, and shortly returned after the door plug separated from the aircraft.
The preliminary report, which is not the full and overall report, states an overview of the incident onboard Alaska Airlines flight AS1282 as well as some other pertinent and important information.
It will take some time for the full report to be released by the NTSB in due time.
The preliminary report highlights the following things:
- The four bolts that hold the Boeing 737 MAX 9 door plug in place were missing at the time of last month’s blowout on Alaska Airlines flight 1282. Photo documentation in the preliminary report shows this. The report says that “four bolts that prevent upward movement of the MED plug were missing before the MED plug moved upward off the stop pads.”
- The door panel, produced by Spirit AeroSystems was manufactured in Malaysia in March 2023, and delivered to Boeing at the Wichita, Kansas plant by May.
- Records show the rivets were replaced per engineering requirements, with work completed in September 2023 on this. There was also a text message between Boeing team members, who were discussing interior restoration after the rivet rework was completed during second shift operations that day.
- Both upper guide fittings installed on the forward and aft sides of the MED plug, respectively, were fractured vertically through the inboard wall of the track. Examination revealed features consistent with overstress fracture and no evidence of pre-existing cracks or damage.
- The paint in the upper guide track bolt hole bores was intact and showed no evidence of heavy contact damage. Figure 11 shows a representative hole bore. There were some light circular witness marks around the hole bores consistent with the presence of a washer at some time.
- Interviews of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems’ personnel will be scheduled at a future date. The group will also be looking at Boeing’s SMS and Spirit AeroSystems’ ongoing development of its voluntary SMS program. The group will also assess the FAA’s involvement in the manufacturers’ development of their respective SMS programs and the level of oversight applied to each.
You can view the full report below:
What Does This Mean for Boeing & The 737 MAX?
The preliminary report adds more substance and context to what has happened over the last four weeks involving Alaska Airlines flight AS1282, and backs up what we have seen happen.
Such continued pressure on Boeing and the 737 MAX in the last four weeks will no doubt increase throughout the year following the release of this preliminary report.
Even the CEO, Dave Calhoun knows this, as at the recent earnings call, he said he would not be providing any financial outlook guidance whilst these issues are still ongoing.
Looking ahead, all eyes will be on what comes next following this preliminary report being released regarding Alaska Airlines flight AS1282.
This does look set to be another turbulent year for the American planemaker, and it will be interesting to see how they pivot and get through this tumultuous time.
UPDATE #1 @ 2002 UK time – Boeing and it’s CEO Dave Calhoun have responded to the report saying they will “review their findings expeditiously” and “continue to cooperate fully and transparently with the NTSB and the FAA investigations”.
Calhoun says: “Whatever final conclusions are reached, Boeing is accountable for what happened. An event like this must not happen on an airplane that leaves our factory.”
“We simply must do better for our customers and their passengers. We are implementing a comprehensive plan to strengthen quality and the confidence of our stakeholders. It will take significant, demonstrated action and transparency at every turn – and that is where we are squarely focused”.
UPDATE #2 @ 2030 UK time – Spirit AeroSystems has released a statement following the publication of the preliminary report from the NTSB:
“As we review the NTSB’s preliminary report, we remain focused on working closely with Boeing and our regulators on continuous improvement in our processes and meeting the highest standards of safety, quality and reliability.”
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