Hmm: FAA Recommends Boeing 737-900ER Inspections

As nearly the entire world has seen by now, an Alaska Airways Boeing 737 MAX 9 had a serious incident on January 5, 2024, whereby a deactivated mid-exit door blew out inflight. Inspections of extra of those jets revealed that door plugs on another 737 MAX 9s additionally weren’t correctly secured, so these planes are actually grounded, and Boeing is dealing with elevated regulatory scrutiny.

Anyway, there’s an extra replace right here, and I’m undecided what precisely to make of this…

The Boeing 737 MAX 9 is predicated on the Boeing 737-900ER, and each variations of the plane have precisely the identical mid-exit door. Regulators are actually recommending that airways visually examine the mid-exit door plugs on these plane, to make sure that they’re correctly secured. Per the bulletin:

As an added layer of security, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is recommending that operators of Boeing 737-900ER plane visually examine mid-exit door plugs to make sure the door is correctly secured. The Boeing 737-900ER isn’t a part of the newer MAX fleet however has the identical door plug design. 

As you’ll be able to see, that is solely a suggestion moderately than a requirement, and there are not any plans to floor these plane. Moreover, operators of the plane (which embrace Alaska and United) have made it clear that they’re already voluntarily inspecting these plane.

The FAA is recommending Boeing 737-900ER inspections

How do you make sense of all of this?

I can utterly perceive the FAA erring on the facet of warning and grounding the 737 MAX 9, given the 737 MAX’s historical past. However what I haven’t seen a solution to (and let me acknowledge that perhaps I’m lacking one thing) is why the 737-900ER is at much less danger than the 737 MAX 9, in line with regulators?

On the one hand, the 737-900ER entered service in 2007, and there hasn’t been a single main incident involving the deactivated mid-exit door. However, because the FAA states, the 737-900ER “has the identical door plug design” because the 737 MAX 9.

So the 737 MAX 9 is grounded over the plug design, whereas the 737-900ER, which has the identical precise function, is ok to fly? Remember the fact that manufacturing of the jets even overlapped — the 737-900ER was produced right through 2019, whereas 737 MAX 9 manufacturing began in 2017, so one couldn’t even argue that there have been constant and distinct high quality management points.

I’m not saying the FAA is incorrect right here, and I don’t have a greater answer. In any case, it will appear excessive to floor a jet that has been safely flying for over 15 years.

On the similar time, I’m confused that the 737 MAX 9 and 737-900ER have precisely the identical door plug design, but one jet is grounded, whereas the opposite one isn’t. Are we simply assuming the 737 MAX is cursed, or what different attainable clarification can we give you?

The 737-900ER has the identical mid-exit door because the 737 MAX 9

Backside line

The FAA is recommending that airways visually examine Boeing 737-900ER mid-exit doorways, as they’ve the identical setup because the 737 MAX 9, which is now grounded. It appears smart that airways would examine these planes, nevertheless it’s nonetheless exhausting to rationalize the completely different therapy for the 737-900ER and 737 MAX 9, on condition that they’ve the identical function.

What do you make of this 737-900ER and 737 MAX 9 door plug scenario?

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