The Federal Aviation Administration recommended late Sunday that airlines begin visual inspections of door plugs installed on Boeing 737-900ER planes, the second Boeing model to come under scrutiny this month.
The FAA said the plane’s door plug design is the same as the 737 Max 9, which had 171 jets from its fleet grounded after a door panel flew off shortly after an Alaska Airlines flight from Portland, Oregon, in January. .5., being forced to make an emergency landing.
The door plug is placed as a panel where the emergency door would be if the aircraft had more seats.
The Federal Aviation Safety Agency later grounded the 737 Max 9 fleet and announced it was investigating whether Boeing failed to ensure that the jet was safe and conformed to agency-approved designs.
The FAA said Sunday that the door plugs on the 737-900ER, which are not part of the Boeing MAX line, are not yet a problem.
“As an additional layer of safety, the Federal Aviation Administration is recommending that operators of Boeing 737-900ER aircraft inspect the mid-eject door plug to ensure that the door is properly closed,” the agency said in a statement. It is safe.”
The FAA is recommending that airlines using the Boeing 737-900ER immediately inspect the four locations used to secure the door plugs to the airframe. According to the FAA, the Boeing 737-900ER has more than 11 million operating hours and nearly four million flight cycles.
“We fully support the FAA and our customers in this action,” Boeing said in a statement.
Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which use the 737-900ER, each said in statements that they had already begun testing the door plugs on their fleets. None of them expect any disruption to their operations.
The incident involving an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 flight earlier this month caused no serious injuries, but it could have been very serious if it had happened when the plane was at its flying altitude. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident in hopes of learning what caused the door plug to be removed from the plane.
Meanwhile, the FAA has ordered an initial round of inspections of 40 of the recently grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 planes as it works to develop final inspection instructions for the planes.