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Update: I flew !!! [Trip to Las Vegas 2nd Thoughts Boeing Problems]

Community Expert ,
Jan 24, 2024 Jan 24, 2024

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Update: I flew !!!
https://www.direct2usales.com/VEGAS.HTM

 

My upcoming trip to Las Vegas is on Alaska Airlines... I am watching the investigation into the problem(s) with Boeing planes closely... and I am very concerned that 'several' planes have been found to have problems... I have trip insurance that I have never used before, and I'm thinking that I may find out this time just how easy/hard it is to make a claim... my trip is in late March, so I will decide early in the month if I want to cancel... or not

 

https://apnews.com/article/boeing-investigation-ntsb-safety-airplanes-d9e28fe1a11dafe4f639268504bdb8...

 

https://apnews.com/article/united-airlines-ceo-boeing-manufacturing-problems-4090ea6176ef59e382dd18e...

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Community Expert ,
Jan 25, 2024 Jan 25, 2024

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Frankly, while what happened it frightening, Since it's not been caught and under public scrutiny, I seriously doubt that it will happen again.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 25, 2024 Jan 25, 2024

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Still reading... and thinking/hoping the problems will be fixed and the FAA gives approval to fly before my trip

 

One of the articles I read said that Boeing started declining when it merged with another plane builder and the 'bean counters' replaced the engineers who had been running Boeing ever since it started, and 'quick' profits became more important than 100% quality

 

The 'door plugs' are permanent panels where an emergency door 'could' go... Alaska has 64 other Max 9s
The plugs are installed in the Max 9 fuselages by subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems

 

Alaska CEO said inspection found loose bolts in 'many' 737 Max 9 planes
https://www.axios.com/2024/01/23/boeing-united-alaska-airlines-737-max-9

 

Alaska to send inspectors to watch Boeing planes being built... FAA 'may' do the same
https://www.travelandleisure.com/alaska-united-airline-ceos-boeing-8548524

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Community Expert ,
Jan 25, 2024 Jan 25, 2024

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The facts:
A 'door plug' blew off a plane out of Portland, the pilot landed the plane safely... nobody was sitting in the seat next to the open doorway, so there were only minor injuries due to being thrown around when the big hole in the side of the plane caused turbulence

 

This specific plane had (3?) cabin pressure warnings in the days/weeks before this flight... each time the plane was inspected no physical problems were found... so, the same way a dash light in a car can come on due to a defective sensor, the plane was cleared to fly (I presume with a new sensor, but I did not find any real details about what was done) and this clearance was given without taking the inside panel off the door plug to check the bolts... this was, after all, a very new plane

 

A door plug is a non-opening door that is bolted in a door opening instead of a regular door, when X number of passenger seats are on a plane instead of a higher Y number of seats, which would require a second emergency door be installed

 

Door plugs are built and installed by a contractor working for Boeing... the exact inspection steps were not in any article I read but since the outside is formed to match the curve of the plane I will 'presume' that inspection is done by removing the inner panel to get to the pins and 4 bolts that are supposed to make a permanent mount (like the panel in a car door that covers the door lock and window mechanism)

 

The Alaska CEO is very angry with Boeing due to 'many' bolts being found loose... so now Alaska (and United and maybe the FAA) will have their own inspectors watching Boeing build planes... I did not click the link to go to the other article, but lawyers are involved to sue... I will guess both Alaska and Boeing... with my opinion being that Boeing is responsible, not Alaska

 

The door was found in someone's backyard, but the bolts are missing and may never be found

 

The speculation:
The NTSB never discusses an investigation until a report is issued... people who do not work for the NTSB have speculated to the press that an investigation 'may' be able to determine if the bolts were in place but loose and they vibrated out... or if one or more bolts were never installed

 

Either way, MY speculation is the contractor that builds and installs the doors is at fault... the plane that lost the door was only a few months old and Alaska had no reason to take a 'door plug' apart to be sure the bolts were properly tightened... so 3 things did not happen... (1) the contractor did not build and/or install the door properly and (2) Boeing did not do a proper quality inspection and (3) the FAA also did not do a proper quality inspection

 

As I've said... I'm watching the news to decide if I fly to Vegas... or not

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Community Expert ,
Jan 25, 2024 Jan 25, 2024

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As to the 737, the problems are not new.  I had to fly to New York in 1997  and when I found out the plane was a 737,  I changed airlines. I was supposed to fly with my publisher's wife but I did not care. I wasn't getting on that aircraft. And they still never fixed that thing.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 25, 2024 Jan 25, 2024

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I flew to Reno Sep 2022 and Vegas Apr 2023... both times Alaska in a 737 (at that time not the Max model) and there were no problems... I'm still reading and thinking

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Community Expert ,
Jan 25, 2024 Jan 25, 2024

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I was talking to a friend, who is a pilot. He thinks that these doors were put in to accommodate more seating, but thinks that whoever installed the seat did so through this door, and the door was not secured properly. 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 26, 2024 Jan 26, 2024

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Well a big OOPS... this claims Boeing is at fault... and says FAA is now watching the builds


https://airwaysmag.com/boeing-renton-mis-installed-plug/

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Community Expert ,
Jan 26, 2024 Jan 26, 2024

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Well, there you go. 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 26, 2024 Jan 26, 2024

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I'm sure that the Boeing CEO is not on the production line with a wrench testing door bolts, but it sure seems that whoever is (should be was!) in charge of quality control was not doing a good job of ensuring that the work was being done correctly... as I said before, bean counters in charge of Boeing is a bad idea

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Community Expert ,
Jan 26, 2024 Jan 26, 2024

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Yes, Don't need bean counters! I worked for Boeing for a long time, but in the satellite factory, and occasionally on planes. In the satellite factory, we had quality control having to sign off on every step of production. I don't know how it is on the plane side.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 27, 2024 Jan 27, 2024

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>don't know how it is on the plane side

 

Clearly not the same as where you worked... or the door would have been checked by QC staff to verify the 4 bolts were present and a correct torque wrench was used

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Community Expert ,
Jan 27, 2024 Jan 27, 2024

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"Clearly not the same as where you worked... or the door would have been checked by QC staff to verify the 4 bolts were present and a correct torque wrench was used"

 

Absolutely! The techs were always showing QC the wrench, the toque settings, and when the wrench was calibrated. 

QC really got ramped after a Lockheed NOAA satellite that wasn't bolted properly fell over. Hurts to see this photo.

 

noaanprime1.jpg

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Community Expert ,
Jan 27, 2024 Jan 27, 2024

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Ouch! Was that able to be repaired?

About 60 years ago I bought my 1st car really cheap, because the engine was smoking badly and needed at least a quart of oil with every gas fill up... the rest of the car was 'OK' so I bought it knowing the engine would need to be removed and rebuilt... starting with dipping the engine block in an acid tank to dissolve the sludge that had formed from the previous owner using super low cost non-detergent oil

I put the engine back together with new rings and bearings... using a borrowed torque wrench to be sure the crankshaft and camshaft bolts were at the proper tightness... the only QC I had was my own desire to have a reliable engine and not waste my money

IF the whistleblower report is correct and the Boeing workers did not install any door bolts, that crew AND their supervisor AND the QC person who did not check the work should be fired immediately... their shoddy work could have caused that plane to crash and kill everyone

Sadly the 'bean counter' managers who pushed to work faster, not better, will most likely not have anything happen to them

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Community Expert ,
Jan 27, 2024 Jan 27, 2024

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I don't know what happened with that satellite.  Many components might have been able to be salvaged, but I don't know. 

 

Yea, they all should be fired.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 27, 2024 Jan 27, 2024

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Alaska is flying again as of 1-26-24 - The Alaska CEO made one comment about 'many' loose bolts, so now I wonder if Alaska and/or the FAA will ever release a public report with an actual number... and if Boeing and/or the Spirit contractor will receive an FAA fine


https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/alaska-airlines-has-begun-flying-boeing-max-9-jetliners-again-...

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Community Expert ,
Jan 27, 2024 Jan 27, 2024

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One of my fraternity brothers is a pilot for Alaska. Another brother was joking, to him, about loose nuts, but not on the plane.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 28, 2024 Jan 28, 2024

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Virgin Atlantic nearly had a disaster if not for an observant passenger who spotted missing bolts on the wing.

https://www.businessinsider.com/virgin-atlantic-flight-canceled-before-takeoff-missing-bolts-on-wing...

 

 

 

Nancy O'Shea— Product User, Community Expert & Moderator
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Jan 28, 2024 Jan 28, 2024

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Wow! That's scary. Glad the passenger noticed. 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 29, 2024 Jan 29, 2024

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More about the 'possibly' missing door bolts - article dated 1-29-24


https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/signs-suggest-alaska-airlines-plane-lacked-bolts-when-it-l...

 

ADDED - shoddy work and shoddy record keeping
"couldn’t be determined how many people were involved with work on the plug door"

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Community Expert ,
Jan 30, 2024 Jan 30, 2024

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1-30-24 Talks more about 'money culture' instead of 'quality culture'


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/boeing-max-9s-start-flying-again-but-critics-question-safety-after...

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2024 Feb 06, 2024

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Community Expert ,
Feb 07, 2024 Feb 07, 2024

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2-7-24 This one says photo evidence that the 4 bolts were not installed
https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/4-bolts-missing-from-alaska-airlines-door-plug-before-blow-out...

 

I'm still thinking about my flight... but right now I plan to go... all of the planes have been inspected and approved by the FAA (which did not do a good job of inspection before, but is now adding inspectors) so I don't think there will be more problems

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Community Expert ,
Feb 07, 2024 Feb 07, 2024

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Got to love those photographers! That's what I did, so issues could  e found. 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 07, 2024 Feb 07, 2024

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It is too bad that the person taking the pictures did not think about what was there while the picture was being taken... of course, the picture taker may have not been a technical person who knew what was supposed to be there

 

As of now all planes have been inspected, so I am still planning to go on my flight

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