United Airlines finds Loose Bolts on Multiple Boeing 737 Max 9 Planes

United Airlines has found loose bolts and other “installation issues” on multiple 737 Max 9 aircraft, it said on Monday, referring to the Boeing model that has been grounded after a panel blew off an Alaska Airlines-operated plane mid-flight over the weekend.

The industry publication Air Current reported that United found discrepant bolts on other parts on at least five panels that were being inspected following the accident. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing declined to comment.

“Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug. For example, bolts that needed additional tightening. These findings will be remedied by our Tech Ops team to safely return the aircraft to service,” United said in a statement.

THE GUARDIAN

Missing door plug that detached from Alaska Airlines plane found in Oregon teacher’s backyard

A missing door plug that could be key to the investigation into what caused it to detach from an Alaska Airlines plane shortly after takeoff has been found in the backyard of a Portland, Oregon-area home, officials said Sunday.

“I’m excited to announce that we found the door plug,” National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said at the end of a news conference where she laid out the latest developments in the probe of Friday’s near-disaster.

Identifying the resident of the home who sent two photos of the item to the NTSB only as a schoolteacher named Bob, she said, “Thank you, Bob.” “We’re going to go pick that up and make sure that we begin analyzing it,” Homendy said.

NBC

The door was initially installed by Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the body for the 737 Max and other aircraft. Investigators said they were looking into whether any work had been carried on the door or in that area of the plane since it entered service in November.

NYTimes

“They are fitted but not completed,” the person said.

At its Renton, Washington, plant, Boeing typically removes the pop-out, or non-functioning, door and uses the gap to load interiors. Then, the part is put back and the installation in completed. Finally, the hull is pressurized to 150% to make sure everything is working correctly, the person said.

The process means that finding out where any flaw was introduced during assembly may not be clear-cut, said the sources, who asked not to be named as details of the probe are confidential.

REUTERS

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