In a 19-page preliminary report, the agency says retaining bolts for the plug may not have been reinstalled after replacing damaged rivets near the assembly.
Report Cites “Photo Documentation” From Boeing Employees
In January 2024, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was forced to make an emergency landing after a door plug blew off the aircraft. Since then, the NTSB and other agencies have investigated what caused the incident to take place while the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily grounded the aircraft type.
In a preliminary report, the NTSB notes how the incident took place and what happened in the moments before and after the blowout, including the pilots’ actions to save all the lives onboard. Towards the end of the report, the agency notes the airframe needed mandatory riveting repairs near the door plug. Although the repairs were made, the bolts required to hold the door in place may not have been replaced.
“Records show the rivets were replaced per engineering…completed on September 19, 2023, by Spirit AeroSystems personnel,” the report reads. “Photo documentation obtained from Boeing shows evidence of the left-hand MED plug closed with no retention hardware (bolts) in the three visible locations (the aft upper guide track is covered with insulation and cannot be seen in the photo).”
While the photo was circulated between Boeing employees, their discussions were not around the missing bolts, but rather regarded interior restoration work for the next shift. Moreover, the door plug was not opened again after leaving Boeing’s facility before being delivered to Alaska Airlines.
In the next steps of the investigation, the NTSB intends to interview employees at both Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, the manufacturer of the door plug. The investigation will also look into the FAA’s involvement in both companies’ development of quality assurance and safety management system processes. The investigation is ongoing and no official cause for the incident in announced.
Alaska resumed flying the Boeing 737 MAX-9 on January 26, 2024, after the FAA detailed required inspections of the door plugs and maintenance where necessary.
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Feature image courtesy: National Transportation Safety Board
Source: frugal travel guy