NATIONAL NEWS

Airlines say they found loose parts in door panels during inspections of Boeing Max 9 jets

Jan 8, 2024, 10:48 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) —

Federal investigators say a door panel slid up before flying off an Alaska Airlines jetliner last week, and they are looking at whether four bolts that were supposed to help hold the panel in place might have been missing when the plane took off.

The comments Monday from the National Transportation Safety Board came shortly after Alaska and United Airlines reported separately that they found loose parts in the panels — or door plugs — of some other Boeing 737 Max 9 jets.

“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,” Chicago-based United said.

Alaska said that as it began examining its Max 9s, “Initial reports from our technicians indicate some loose hardware was visible on some aircraft.”

The findings of investigators and the airlines are ratcheting up pressure on Boeing to address concerns that have grown since the terrifying fuselage blowout Friday night. A plug covering a spot left for an emergency door tore off the plane as it flew 16,000 feet (4,800 meters) above Oregon.

Boeing has called an online meeting for all employees Tuesday to discuss safety.

The door plugs are inserted where emergency exit doors would be located on Max 9s with more than about 200 seats. Alaska and United have fewer seats in their Max 9s, so they replace heavy doors with the plugs.

The panels can be opened for maintenance work. The bolts prevent the mechanism from moving upward on rollers when the plane is in flight.

During Alaska Airlines flight 1282 on Friday night, roller guides at the top of one of the plugs broke, allowing the entire panel to swing upward and lose contact with 12 “stop pads” that keep the panel attached to the door frame on the plane, NTSB officials said at a news briefing in Portland.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said the safety board was investigating whether four bolts that help prevent the panel from sliding up on rollers were missing when the plane took off from Portland or whether they blew off “during the violent, explosive decompression event.”

___

Koenig reported from Dallas and Krisher reported from Detroit. Associated Press reporter Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.

National News

Associated Press

Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear a challenge to governor’s 400-year school funding veto

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ partial veto that locked in a school funding increase for the next 400 years, the justices announced Monday. The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Litigation Center filed a lawsuit in April arguing the governor exceeded his authority. The group […]

40 minutes ago

Associated Press

Retired AP reporter Hoyt Harwell dies at 93; covered key events in the American South

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Hoyt Garland Harwell, a longtime reporter for The Associated Press who covered key events in the American South and was a mentor to young reporters, has died. He was 93. Harwell died at home June 12 following a brief illness, according to his obituary. Harwell worked for the AP for 42 […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Federal appellate panel sends Michigan pipeline challenge to state court

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s lawsuit seeking to shut down part of a petroleum pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac belongs in state court, a federal appellate panel ruled Monday. The pipeline’s operator, Enbridge Inc., moved the case from state court to federal court more than two years past the deadline for changing […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Small plane with 1 aboard crashes into a Massachusetts river

LAWRENCE, Massachusetts (AP) — A small plane with one pilot aboard crashed into a Massachusetts river on Monday, according to authorities. It wasn’t immediately clear if the pilot survived the crash or was injured. The Federal Aviation Administration said the single-engine Van’s Aircraft RV-6A crashed into the Merrimack River in the town of Lawrence at […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

No lie: Perfectly preserved centuries-old cherries unearthed at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON, Va. (AP) — George Washington never did cut down the cherry tree, despite the famous story to the contrary, but he did pack away quite a few bottles of the fruit at his Mount Vernon home. Dozens of bottles of cherries and berries — impossibly preserved in storage pits uncovered from the cellar […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Georgia inmate had ‘personal relationship’ with worker he shot and killed, prison official says

GLENNVILLE, Ga. (AP) — An inmate who shot and killed a kitchen worker at a Georgia prison before fatally shooting himself had a personal relationship with the woman, a prison official said Monday. Georgia Department of Corrections spokesperson Lori Benoit said in an email statement the shooting early Sunday at Smith State Prison was an […]

2 hours ago

Airlines say they found loose parts in door panels during inspections of Boeing Max 9 jets