Inspections Urged on 737 Max Jets Over Rudder Bolt Concerns – FAA Monitors Risk and Future Actions

Airplane Safety Alert:

Boeing has advised airlines to conduct immediate inspections on their 737 Max jets due to a potential issue involving a loose bolt within the rudder control system.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed this recommendation and emphasized its commitment to monitoring these inspections closely, hinting at potential further actions based on inspection outcomes.

Discovery and Recommendation:

The call for inspections followed a routine maintenance check by an international operator, uncovering a missing nut on a bolt within the rudder-control linkage.

Boeing subsequently identified another undelivered aircraft with a similarly unsecured nut. While Boeing has suggested inspections within two weeks for these jets, the company assured the safety of delivered 737 Max planes.

Boeing’s Response and Assurance:

Boeing promptly addressed the issue in the affected airplane and advocated for inspections across 737 Max fleets out of an “abundance of caution.”

The company assured the FAA and airlines of uninterrupted production and delivery schedules, underlining that older 737 Next Generation models remain unaffected by this concern.

Industry Response and FAA Oversight:

United Airlines and American Airlines, major operators of the 737 Max, expressed minimal operational disruptions due to the inspections.

The FAA emphasized the significance of inspecting specific tie rods controlling rudder movement, a critical component for an aircraft’s stability during flight.

Inspection Process and Oversight:

Boeing delineated the inspection process involving the validation of properly installed hardware, a task anticipated to take roughly two hours per aircraft.

The FAA requested airlines’ prompt response if any past occurrences of loose hardware were recorded and outlined the need for diligent inspections.

Safety Assurance and Public Perception:

Experts, including air safety specialist Anthony Brickhouse, downplayed public concern, affirming the issue’s management.

Brickhouse highlighted the importance of airlines’ rigorous adherence to the inspection directives while assuring the public of minimal concern.

Historical Context:

The 737 Max’s history, marred by two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 due to software issues, has heightened vigilance around any safety concerns.

Boeing’s ongoing efforts for certifications on other Max models underscore the industry’s continued scrutiny over safety and regulatory compliance. The FAA remains deeply engaged, actively monitoring the safety and performance of these aircraft models.

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