The American regulator orders the inspection of Boeing 737 MAX 9, suspended from flight after taking off from a window

New blow for the Boeing 737 MAX 9

The American regulator orders the inspection of Boeing 737 MAX 9, suspended from flight after taking off from a window

New blow for the Boeing 737 MAX 9. The American Federal Civil Aviation Agency (FAA) ordered, Saturday January 6, the immediate inspection of 171 737 MAX 9 aircraft from the manufacturer Boeing, suspended from flight by there, after an incident that occurred Friday during a flight near Portland, Oregon.

The FAA directive “requires [airline] operators to inspect the aircraft before a new flight,” the agency said in a statement, estimating that this operation required between four and eight hours per aircraft.

Before the FAA's announcement, the American airline Alaska had already neutralized all of its 65 planes of this model after the spectacular flight of a window which caused the emergency landing of one of them on Friday evening. its aircraft with 177 people on board in the United States.

“After the event that occurred this evening on Flight 1282, we have decided as a precautionary measure to temporarily ground our fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft,” announced Alaska Airlines Director Ben Minicucci on Saturday 6 January, in a press release. “Each device will only be returned to service after the completion of comprehensive maintenance and safety inspections,” he added, estimating that it would take a few days.

“Pressurization problem”

The FAA explained on the social network return to land safely after the crew reported a “pressurization problem.”

Images posted on social media showed the window blown out, with oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling of the aircraft. A passenger on the flight, Kyle Rinker, explained to American television CNN that the window had blown off just after takeoff. “It was really brutal. Barely at altitude, the front of the window just came off and I only noticed it when the oxygen masks came down,” he said.

Another passenger, Vi Nguyen, told The New York Times that she was awakened by a loud noise during the flight. “I opened my eyes and the first thing I saw was the oxygen mask right in front of me,” she explained, “and I looked to the left and the side panel was left ".

The National Transportation Safety Board, the FAA and Alaska Airlines each said they were investigating the incident. “The aircraft returned to land safely at Portland International Airport with all 171 passengers and six crew members,” according to a statement from the airline. “Although this type of incident is rare, our flight crew were trained and prepared to safely handle this situation,” the statement added.

According to the specialist site FlightAware, the Boeing 737 MAX 9 took off precisely at 5:07 p.m. (local time), heading towards Ontario, California, before returning to the airport around twenty minutes later.

Serious accidents and technical difficulties

The device was certified in October, according to the FAA registry available online. The manufacturer of the device, the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing, wrote on X that it was gathering more information and that a technical team was available to investigators. Minicucci said in his statement that Alaska Airlines is “working with Boeing and regulators to understand what happened.”

Boeing has experienced serious accidents and technical difficulties with its 737 MAX in recent years. In December, the manufacturer informed airlines that MAX aircraft needed to be inspected for loose parts in the rudder control system, following the discovery by an international operator of a bolt without a nut during a routine inspection. The aircraft manufacturer then spotted a nut “which was not properly tightened” on an aircraft not yet delivered.

The 737 MAX was grounded for many months around the world after two air disasters involving the aircraft in October 2018 and March 2019, which left 346 dead. The FAA only authorized return to service after changes to the flight control system. More recently, Boeing had to slow down its deliveries due to problems with the fuselage, particularly with the rear bulkhead of the aircraft.