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Bolts Missing from Alaska 737 MAX 9’s Door Plug: NTSB

The NTSB has issued its preliminary report into the door plug failure on Alaska flight 1282 last month. ( More...

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ToddBaldwin3 9
So now we know why the plug separated from the fuselage. Now comes the next “why”. Why were the bolts missing in the first place. I suspect this will take more than 5 whys to get to the root cause.
Gavin Waters 19
I think the report is clear. It was assembled with the bolts retaining it at Spirit Aerosystems. It was removed/released to fix some rivets at Boeing Renton. The lack of procedure description and work checklist and possibly careless inspection overlooked the reinstatement of those 4 bolts when the plug was refitted. Boeing Renton QA procedures are faulty. Experienced people are asking, where was the bag containing the removed bolts so it was obvious to refit them. Where was the procedure description and diagrams to do the work. Where is the checklist to inspect the work for signoff (indeed is there a signoff?). Its all ambiguous, loose, arbitrary at Boeing Renton. My worry is, if this happens for this job, what about all the other bolts?
mbrews 2
Your description is quite accurate. However, these bolts generally get installed at Spirit (Witchita), and NOT removed at Boeing (Renton) or any other place. So a rare event happened when the door plug needed to be opened to perform rework on rivets.

nobody at Renton was familiar with the plug installation. Not to excuse Boeing, but this clearly became a first- time task, done by first time workers, under time pressure, and resulted with a critical assembly error.
Calen Chrzan 2
Plus I understand this repair was done before a weekend increasing the possibly of screw ups.
boughbw 5
The only "why" needed is "Why aren't Boeing/contractor/sub duties/responsibilities more explicitly defined around work/rework?" Fragile methodology doesn't work so well when the struggle is bureaucratic.
Russell Thornton 13
FAA chief: Boeing isn't building safe planes. Boom. Not good.
linbb -3
Boom Boom???????????Really
Gavin Waters 9
He means that's the punch line. FAA has had enough Boeing excuses. All trust has gone out the window.
Gene Joy 5
I've experienced this for decades in the automotive parts market. The bean counters take control and quality is compromised if the bottom line can be increased. THAT'S the problem. Saving on qc inspectors and even qualified assemblers fattens the bottom line and enhances the board members who, in a lot of cases, are on the board because they were buddies on other boards....not because they understand anything but the bottom line. Follow The Money....FTM.
Bandrunner 5
When I fly 737 I always pack my spanners.
Billy Croan 1
if I ever fly again, I'm bringing a climbing harness, and clipping in to at least two points. Especially if I'm sitting by a window.
Bill Bailey 8
Now there's a BIG SURPRISE ...... NOT ! Like I've said before, the Lazy B needs to vastly improve it's QC program, Company wide, before it's too late. This has been going on for years and getting worse as time goes on.
Ron Slater 7
They have stretched this common type 737 frame enough. They need to build a 757NEO and a 767NEO and not build anything past the 737-800.
flyingjafo 2
That's actually a really good idea !
Sheldon Lang 3
This company is now only profit driven. Safety, workmanship, QC, management, all secondary. Not a big fan of Boeing, especially the entire 737 series. Give me an Airbus any day of the week.
AWAAlum 1
If you find someone who will give you an Airbus, please do share. haha
Sheldon Lang 2
I'll start looking and let you know. I can get an Embraer if you prefer.
Jon Schwartz 3
I am not an expert but it sounds like the work was not done properly.....aren't there suppose to be policies and procedures? Doesn't the FDA over see this? Boxes checked? Sign offs? What happened If the rules are not followed? Does this fall on the work place? Again, I am not an expert....
Stef Lar 3
> Doesn't the FDA over see this?

Pretty sure the Food & Drug Administration has nothing to do with this...
Jon Schwartz 2
sorry...shouldn't be the FA should be the FAA.....
Jon Schwartz 2
FAA!!~!~!! Darn computer
Steve Bloom 3
Haha. Nice!! Human error unfortunately does occur. Whether we are typing or retrofitting airplanes. Blaming the “darn computer” or anything other than ourselves is the problem. We must take ownership and accountability for our actions.
Dan Nelson 8
Great, the tax papers are now paying the bill to be sure the manufacturer is doing their job. Send the bill for this over site to the manufacturer.
Bryan Williams 2
This is from I think Econ 102: every government regulation & enforcement has costs associated with it, and in the general case, only "natural persons" eventually foot the bill. Corporations do not pay taxes or government fees - they are built into the cost of doing business, which ends up with the end consumer no matter what. In the case of Boeing, the cost of FAA scrutiny should be paid by Boeing, like USDA Inspectors in "meat processing facilities," who can then pass that cost onto their customer regardless of which country the purchaser of the the 737 is in. The US Taxpayer should not be funding the inspections for planes intended for foreign airlines - it should be the foreign airlines who can then pass the total cost onto their passengers & freight customers. I believe that is how the FAA handles their inspectors? True?

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scottiek 9
I'll say it again. While Boeing appears to be at fault, Alaska should share some of the blame as they had THREE warnings there was a problem. Alaska should have removed the plane from service and searched more intensively for the reason of the THREE warnings.
Sam Hobbs 2
Is it possible for there to be sensors that can better isolate problems?
Billy Croan 1
it was failing to hold pressure. That's some bullshit. They should have looked into that, or stayed below 10k. If the flow rate is INCREASING. something be very wrong.
avionik99 7
Some mechanic removed the door and reinstalled it without the bolts, and also failed to document the job so it could be inspected afterward. Do not worry about that mechanic losing his job, his job is safe with the union backing him up 100%!
Tim Segulin 4
This is not the time for union bashing.
Had a mechanic failed to do their job, Boeing QA should have caught it and ensured it was corrected.
Only after that should the employee have faced discipline and the union become involved.
If this person had a record of sloppiness like this, they should have been fired, union or otherwise.
Billy Croan -1
Diversity hire
jhakunti 2
who's gonna tell me this is the safest plane on the planet because of all the problems it has?
linbb 4
Was quite evident that was the problem looking at the door where bolts were missing no damage was showing but there had to be the formal statement to be made.
8984p 2
QA needs to be the bottom line not executive or super large retirement dollars. Boeing has had some good things going in the past, but each generation of workers has to re-measure up to the standard.
stratofan 1
With the notable exception of the Ultralight, I do not know of any company building an unsafe aircraft on purpose. To use a paraphrase from Capt. Sully, In the end you still have to maintain the airplane. The CORRECT way.
Sam Hobbs 2
I have been told that all-wing aircraft such as stealth aircraft are unmanageable without computers to stabilize their flight. Is that relevant?
linbb 3
How true that is and as a one time A&P mechanic take the responsibility to fix them right understand very well the need to do things right every time so no one dies. There people who should not be working around or on aircraft of any kind but finding when someone chooses not to do there job is very hard to do.
Greg S 1
Pay attention. The plane was *delivered* with the bolts missing.
Sam Hobbs 2
Where is that said? The article does say "that the four bolts holding the plug door in place were completely missing at the time of the incident" but I see nothing saying how that happened. Did you read the NTSB report? Does it say the plane was manufactured without the bolts?

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jeff creek 7
Is there any subject that you can't tie a political comment too?

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AWAAlum 2
How can fact be stranger than truth when fact is truth.

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Phil Knox 1
Didn't you learn about punctuation in school?

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Martie Williams 17
Sorry, Bill, but there is a bill ready to be signed and passed, but even though Mike Johnson claims no outside force entered into the equation, it was somehow rejected by the very party that has been asking for a bill.
Now please leave politics out of aviation discussions unless the discussion is a direct result of politics.
DaveRK 3
Isn't it sad, the people always complaining are the first ones to use politics as the reason to complain?
Nooge 2
We were overdue for partisan talking point regurgitation
barewires -2
Why was a door plug not inserted from the inside? The inner wall panels would have to be removed in any case.
John D -3
Domestic terrorism. They should investigate those workers, as they planned to bring down a plane.
AWAAlum 4
Trade in your tinfoil hat.
Kerry Moore -3
As this procedure is not normally done at the Renton Assembly site but at Spirit chances are there were no set Manufacturing Instructions for reinstalling the door.
Tim Segulin 5
You may be right but Boeing carries final responsibility for the entire production process, including work done by its own staff and its subcontractors.
xpamkretzerx 1
Peter Fuller 3
Since the door plug is designed to be opened if needed, it’s very likely if not a certainty that there is a written procedure for opening and then reinstalling the plug. Spirit employees on site in Renton replaced some known bad rivets in the fuselage frame around the plug, which is why the plug needed to be opened. It’s unclear in the preliminary NTSB report whether Spirit employees or Boeing employees reinstalled the plug, but either way Boeing would’ve been responsible for ensuring that the reinstall was done correctly.

I’d be very surprised if this is the first and only time a door plug had to be opened at Renton, but either way someone got sloppy.
xpamkretzerx 2
Sounds like too many Chef's and not enough Indians. How many wrong doers have been mentioned here???


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