back to article Another airline finds loose bolts in Boeing 737-9 during post-blowout fleet inspections

Both US operators of Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft are finding loose parts in the aircraft during the latest inspections that were prompted by an emergency exit door plug blowout during flight over the weekend. United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, the latter of which operated the flight on Friday that experienced the three-mile …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Loctite

    Loctite is expensive

    1. UCAP Silver badge

      Re: Loctite

      Even more expensive is the damage being done to the reputation of Boeing in general and the 737 Max in particular.

      1. Oneman2Many

        Re: Loctite

        Never mind how much of a hit the FAA reputation is taking

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Loctite

          I thought the max 8 fiasco undeniably proved the incestuous relationship between the FAA and Boeing and reaffirmed that we knew all of Congress are guilty of treason and would allow it to be swept away.

          So pardon me if the degeneracy and corruption produce yet another fiasco and I am not the slightest shocked.

          1. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: Loctite

            I suspect government pressure was put on the airlines to Buy Boeing.

          2. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: Loctite

            "Congress are guilty of treason"

            Erm, aren't you getting a little carried away?

            1. Brian 3

              Re: Loctite

              I think he's maybe being too lenient. Punishment for those in power has never been proportional or adequately supplied, and it shows all too well. C-levels and politicians should get absolutely zero tolerance of any kind of misdoing. Should be 5 years in prison for a speeding ticket, 10 if it's their driver and not them at the wheel. They always go on about risks and responsibility at paycheck time. There should actually be SOME, and they need to be proportional to the damages those in positions of privilege and power cause.

      2. cookieMonster Silver badge

        Re: Loctite

        “ reputation” ????

        Surprised to hear they had any left!

        1. theblackhand

          Re: Loctite

          Rather than certify a new reputation with the FAA, Boeing choose to add some software that made the old reputation look OK so they could sell more of the same old crap.

          What could possibly go wrong? Other than the software malfunctioning and causing board members heads to become so tightly wedged where the sun don't shine that their heads cannot safely be removed by even the most skillful medical team.

          1. teneriffe trail

            Re: Loctite

            But the software didn't malfunction. That's the scary part.

            1. cyberdemon Silver badge
              Devil

              Plausible Deniability

              It wasn't our fault! Someone hacked our screwdrivers!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Plausible Deniability

                Wow.......

                I can sort of see the idea of having such a device, but surely a "digital" torque wrench would be good enough. If you are doing engineering work that needs such tolerances, you would think that the person using the tool will have a idea how to use it

                1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

                  Re: Plausible Deniability

                  This is probably more than just showing the torque and stopping at a preset value. Likely it's logging applied torque settings against individual users, and retrieving torque requirements for various different tasks, dependent on things like the specific vehicle being built at the workstation at that time.

            2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

              Re: Loctite

              The software did fail, the software im referring to is not MCAS or any onboard flight system im referring to their quality control softeare is they have any.

              Surely they have something that includes all parts along with when its due to be installed/wired etc and who verified said job was completed properly. How could a plg door with no bolts get passed any QA process ?

        2. Sam not the Viking Silver badge

          Re: Loctite

          Remember that this is "The most scrutinised aircraft, ever."

          This sort of crap phrasing in an attempt to placate a baying public should be outlawed in itself. It never stands up to scrutiny, rather like a certain aircraft manufacturer.

          1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

            Re: Loctite

            Whenever someone starts using words like MOST EVER, or GREATEST IN THE WORLD, you can be sure the opposite is true and that they are of course lying in some extreme.

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Loctite

            If the 737 MAX is the most scrutinised Boeing airframe ever...

            My God. Never get on a Boeing.

            Or even stand anywhere near the flightpath!

      3. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Loctite

        Self inflicted.

    2. EBG

      maybe urban legend

      but I was told they came close to running an advertising campaign. " use loctitie or loose your nuts"

      1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

        Re: maybe urban legend

        New campaign:

        Got a screw loose? Fly Boeing!

      2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        Re: maybe urban legend

        These were bolts, i dont think they have any thread for loctite.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: maybe urban legend

          Loctite is intended for threaded fasteners.

          That said, these particular ones use wire locking on pinned or castellated nuts - not sure which.

          Loctite 242 and 243 are not intended for critical fasteners.

    3. jgarbo
      Devil

      Re: Loctite

      So use Silver Duct Tape like everyone else! They'll never notice.

  2. anothercynic Silver badge

    Alaska Air

    Please don't refer to Alaska Airlines as 'Alaska Air', just because you can't be bothered typing an extra 5 characters. It's that kind of lazy journalism that leads to airline names getting mangled, or worse, mis-associated with other airlines with similar-sounding names but which are not related at all.

    1. Roger Lipscombe

      Re: Alaska Air

      That the Alaska Airlines whose website is literally "alaskaair.com"? Seems they're OK with the short version...

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Alaska Air

        Alaska Airlines is fully owned by the Alaska Air Group, Inc., a holding company, with the same people at the helm of both entities.

        So, "lazy" is the person not doing their research prior to posting

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Air head

      As others have aired above, it's not airily ambiguous. The only one I see being lazy is you, throwing around insults with airs and graces.

      C.

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Alaska Air

      Bless. Whose a wit of a banker?

    4. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: Alaska Air

      https://www.alaskaair.com/

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    A gross understatement?

    'Not fully tightened' meant in one case 'United found that the bolts that affix the lower hinge of the plug door were not fully seated, and that the washers on the bolts could “spin” '

    Doesn't that suggest serious negligence at both assembly and inspection?

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: A gross understatement?

      It may suggest that, yes...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A gross understatement?

        Maybe it suggests that "the area in question" should be the entire aircraft when conducting these inspections.

    2. John Riddoch

      Re: A gross understatement?

      Possibly - there are, I think, 3 options:

      1. They weren't tightened/installed properly at the factory and no further inspections have been done since it went into service, so a flaw in assembly.

      2. They've come loose and haven't been picked up at an inspection, which would indicate poor maintenance

      3. They've come loose between inspections; e.g. you're supposed to inspect these bolts every 200 flight hours and they've come loose after 100 hours, so there's a gap between "bolts becoming loose" and the next inspection. That would indicate a flaw in the maintenance schedules or design/installation of the bolts.

      In any event, something will get added to the maintenance checklists but I'd be worried about any other bolts which could either be loose already or could come loose and cause another incident. The relevant authorities will no doubt be working at figuring out which of the above applies and sorting out the details.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: A gross understatement?

        In this case 2 & 3 are moot as the aircraft was two months old and fresh from the factory.

        1. usbac Silver badge

          Re: A gross understatement?

          I see a lot of people on other news sources throwing blame at Alaska Air's maintenance organization while somehow forgetting the this airplane was TWO MONTHS OLD. Are they just Boeing shills?

          As for "The relevant authorities will no doubt be working at figuring out which of the above applies and sorting out the details.", it should read:

          The relevant authorities will no doubt be working at brushing the whole thing under the rug while being pressured from a few "well paid" congressmen.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: A gross understatement?

            Indeed, it will have performed at most a few hundred flight cycles.

            I don't know what the inspection rate is for these bolts but as it's a static surface panel fixing behind cabin panels I'd be surprised if it was any more frequent than the standard X-thousand hour/Y-cycle major check up.

          2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

            Re: A gross understatement?

            Boeing have abmitted it's their fault: bbc.co.uk/news/business-67930977

      2. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: A gross understatement?

        "1. They weren't tightened/installed properly at the factory and no further inspections have been done since it went into service, so a flaw in assembly."

        This is the case, they use single use deformable washers and as we can see from the pictures that have come out the washers are not deformed. So they have never been tightened.

    3. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: A gross understatement?

      So from what I have been able to find out.

      Spirit AeroSystems used to install the plug doors and fully torque the bolts, they would then paint a line on the bolt so that you could visually see that it had not moved.

      But Boeing asked them to stop torqueing the bolts as they wanted to be able to do the adjustments themselves and be able to remove the plug so they could use it as a larger entrance whilst installing the interior fittings.

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: A gross understatement?

        "they would then paint a line on the bolt so that you could visually see that it had not moved"

        A crude and inaccurate method. Here in the UK the wheel nuts of every public service vehicle and HGV are fitted with bright yellow rigid rotation indicators with obvious pointers. They only cost a few pence (cents) so why not use them on critical fasteners on planes?

        1. Peter Prof Fox

          Re: A gross understatement?

          Because a bit of plastic is one more thing to fall off and get stuck in some mechanism or block some switch. Paint is simple and effective.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: A gross understatement?

            The correct paint type will also crack* before any plastic tag works loose enough to spot, many aircraft inspection tasks require poking scopes through holes to avoid hours of stripping down structural items and risking introducing a fault on reassembly.

            For vehicle wheels, paint would be removed quickly by the environment and tags are easily checked with a 2 min walk around prodding them with a finger.

            *where the bolt meets the panel surface.

          2. spireite Silver badge

            Re: A gross understatement?

            That's the least of Boeings problems, a little bit of plastic.

            Previously, they've left tubes of sealant, and a ladder for gods sake....

            I'm waiting for someone to find the body of a Boeing Engineer behind the bulkhead!

            1. I am David Jones Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: A gross understatement?

              That dead engineer, would they be congratulated for going the extra mile or admonished for sneaking a free ride?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: A gross understatement?

                Or would their next-of-kin be given their frequent flyer miles?

            2. teneriffe trail
              Unhappy

              Re: A gross understatement?

              "I'm waiting for someone to find the body of a Boeing Engineer behind the bulkhead!"

              Many years ago, they would X-ray the full wing after assembly to look for cracks and stuff. Guess what they found once? A full-body X-ray of a sleeping mechanic.

            3. Spazturtle Silver badge

              Re: A gross understatement?

              "I'm waiting for someone to find the body of a Boeing Engineer behind the bulkhead!"

              That's already happened, must have been 2 decades ago I think. They accidentally sealed closed the fuel tank with a technician who was performing repairs inside, took months to find his body.

      2. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: A gross understatement?

        If Boeing asked for a production deviation they would need to produce and certify the new installation process wherein the door plug was installed* at a later point during assembly.

        *originally the fuselage section (pressure vessel) with the door plug arrived at the assembly hall as a 'finished' item.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: A gross understatement?

          And also, since I assume Boeing approved this mod by Sprit, the maintenance manual was updated to show the "plug" and the fixings such that they were not just ignored during an inspection. Or was it called something else and got a single mention in an addendum at the back where no one noticed it, like MCAS?

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: A gross understatement?

            My money is on it being seen as 'just another fuselage skin panel' until such time as the operator decides to turn it into a door.

          2. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: A gross understatement?

            It wasn't a mod by Spirit. It was a mod requested by Boeing.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: A gross understatement?

              Happy to be corrected. I was under the impression the "door plug" was a mod by Spirit, but someone else posted info regarding the bolt torquing change being something then requested by Boeing.

      3. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: A gross understatement?

        That explanation still doesn't quite make sense. The locking bolts that hold the door in place use a castellated nut with a split pin for securing/locking the nut. Several of the loose nuts and bolts shown in the pictures of loose fixtures found are the fixings for the fittings to the main body, which could easily remain/be in place while the plug itself was removed at Boeing for installing interior fittings.

    4. RedGreen925 Bronze badge

      Re: A gross understatement?

      "Doesn't that suggest serious negligence at both assembly and inspection?"

      Like they care, no matter how many people their negligence murders no one goes to jail for it. I have for years advocated for the corporate death penalty along with personal one for those in charge when they murder someone through their actions. That will get the attention of the parasite corporations and their scumbag leaders if both die for their part in it.

      1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        Re: A gross understatement?

        And so our American friends don't feel left out, we have our own set of useless cunts on this side of the pond as well. A Post Office may not fly, but it can still kill people.[1]

        [1] Four people are known to have committed suicide.

        1. Blogitus Maximus
          Flame

          Re: A gross understatement?

          Indeed. Everyones jumping up and down about handing back a CBE* or whatever but until there's some hard jail time and massive financial penalties imposed at the top of Fujitsu (UK) and the PostOffice CEOs will continue on with their lives whilst screwing over the little guy.

          The other massive issue is the PostOffice being able to do its own prosecuting. That monstrous power needs to be removed with extreme prejudice.

          *Another corrupt elite promoting system that should be thrown out!

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: A gross understatement?

            Please keep in mind that Royal Mail is not innocent either. Until 2012, the Post Office was part of Royal Mail. The Horizon-related prosecutions started before 2012, so RM is just as liable as the PO is. Vennells is just the last one holding the bag with the warm, brown, smelly stuff in it.

        2. Pete Sdev Bronze badge

          Re: A gross understatement?

          [1] Four people are known to have committed suicide.

          Arguably if people are driven, particularly by unlawful behaviour, to taking their own lives then it's no longer suicide. It's at least manslaughter, if not some degree of homicide.

          Given whats now known, the coroner's verdict should be adjusted for these poor individuals. In addition to ample compensation for their families.

      2. JDC

        Re: A gross understatement?

        I'd add that any major shareholders should also be responsible, as the owners of the company. The board of any fund holding, say, 5% or more of the shares.

        1. Julian 8 Silver badge

          Re: A gross understatement?

          There is only 1 shareholder of the Post Office

    5. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: A gross understatement?

      Possibly, but a tightened bolt can come loose with vibration, so it might just be that it wasn't inspected properly last time, or that it wasn't on the inspection list sufficiently frequently.

      There is a problem with inspections themselves causing issues. In one case there was an inspection of some large flaps on an aircraft scheduled for a major service, but just prior to that, there was a wing inspection, so the fitters used to bring the large flap inspection forward. The result was a spike in large flap failures. So the inspection in a major service was deleted from the rota and the flap failures returned to what was expected.

      It is not rocket science, but it is engineering and psychology, both can be tricky.

      1. Julian 8 Silver badge

        Re: A gross understatement?

        its a 2 month old plane, so I doubt if there has been an inspection

        Maybe they should do what we used to do with cars in the old days. have a run in period of a small amount of miles and go back for a complete re torque

      2. Orv Silver badge

        Re: A gross understatement?

        Nearly every nut and bolt on an aircraft will have some means of being locked in place to make sure it can't work loose. Deformable washers (with one-use tabs you bend up to trap the nut flats) and drilled or castellated nuts with safety wire are two really common methods. Something else went wrong here.

    6. Piro Silver badge

      Re: A gross understatement?

      Well, yes. Every bolt will have a torque spec, and it will undoubtedly have to be tested and logged.

      That clearly hasn't been done.

      My brother puts up information displays (wall mounted and floor mounted) and every bolt has to be tested for pull out strength. These are just displays. Not aeroplanes.

      Clearly those involved in assembly are guilty of negligence of the highest order, but it could be a whole company ethos, it's hard for outsiders to know.

      I've looked at the door design and it seems decent, it would need to be mounted incredibly poorly to pose a risk, which is what has clearly happened.

  4. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Loose bolts. Could this be the first time Boeing HASN'T screwed up?

    1. Real Ale is Best

      If it's Boeing...

      ... I ain't going!

  5. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    When I was a student on my industrial placement a production engineer once spent a while explaining the types and uses of flat, star, crinkle and spring washers. It's one of the many things I wished I'd paid a lot more attention to when I was younger.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I hope they also covered

      the correct use of a torque wrench?

      I remember from my time at Kingston (Hawker Siddley) that getting the right torque settings were just as critical as using the correct washers.

      Alaska Airlines were lucky that no one was seriously injured. Boeing seems to have caught the Microsoft disease and adopted minimal QC on their output.

      I get the feeling that a lot more boeing airframes are going to be grounded. Then the lawyers will take over and there goes the 'C-level' execs bonus for the foreseeable future. I expect the stockholders to point the finger and heads will roll (All protected by golden parachutes naturally)

      BAU for Boring then....?

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: I hope they also covered

        > Boeing seems to have caught the Microsoft disease

        Boeing caught it from McDonnell-Douglas, who they bought, and apparently the old McD beancounters are now in charge.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: I hope they also covered

          Its generally understood that while Boeing bought McDonnell-Douglas in reality McDonnell-Douglas took over Boeing. Which turned an engineering driven company into a finance driven one with the usual results.

          When I hear of 'loose bolts' I think 'Hatfield'. Same problem. Bolts need tightening and checking but its "not our job".

          I don't fly that often but when I do I try to avoid modern Boeing aircraft. Even when bits aren't falling off them they're nasty, noisy things to fly in, uncomfortable for both passengers and crew. We get them foisted on us because the spreadsheet points to maximum profits (the spreadsheet owners don't have to fly in them, they have their own planes). For a fun time try using the toilets on one of these -- getting into them is one thing, getting out again......there's literally less space in one than there was in an old telephone box.

          1. G.Y.

            Re: I hope they also covered

            What is the Hatfield reference here?

            1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

              Re: I hope they also covered

              I presume the Comet. I vaguely remember "The Comet Building" being pointed out often when I went to Scumbag College Hatfield Poly but seemed to be paying more attention to working on the most efficient means of developing a hangover.

              1. DrBobK

                Re: I hope they also covered

                'The Comet' was, and still is, a slightly downmarket hotel. Its across the road from the Hatfield Galleria (a shopping mall built over the A1). I remember seeing the red model aeroplane at the front of the hotel when I was a kid. Many years later I used to stay there when I was external examiner at Hatfield. I quite like it - faded glory and all that. The red aeroplane is still there.

                1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

                  Re: I hope they also covered

                  Seems I paid even less attention to the history of the place than I thought! The poly did have a probably completely unrelated (to the plane, I mean; well, and the hotel too) wind tunnel. I remember every day at the end of lectures I'd be sitting in the car waiting for my friend to turn up and looking at its warning sign, wondering if I might one day hear the sudden noise in question. I never did.

                  The whole time I was there we searched for Hatfield's actual shopping centre, not believing that the rather run-down '50s precinct was it. Then they built the Gonorrhoea which didn't really improve things, but the resulting tunnel did give unruly students something to race through. Obvs. back in the days before speed cameras.

              2. Mooseman Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: I hope they also covered

                "Scumbag College "

                have an upvote for the Young Ones reference :)

            2. obdev

              Re: I hope they also covered

              Hatfield rail crash (2000): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatfield_rail_crash

              1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

                Re: I hope they also covered

                Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about that; you'd think I'd remember as I was commuting into London around that time (though not on that line). I'd mentioned the Comet but IIRC its issues were with metal fatigue not being terribly well understood at the time rather than not bothering to tighten stuff properly...

            3. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

              Re: I hope they also covered

              Hatfield rail crash in the year 2000 here in england. wiki search it, grim reading.

      2. Zibob Bronze badge

        Re: I hope they also covered

        I would love to agree, but this was *only* a hatch blowing out, no one died.

        These monsters crashed two places full of people and all they got was a fine.

        It is saddening that its wishful thinking that there be actual consequences.

        1. spireite Silver badge

          Re: I hope they also covered

          If it was at cruising altitude rather than 16K or so - believe me - somebody would have died.

        2. I am David Jones Silver badge

          Re: I hope they also covered

          No-one died? Only because no-one was sat on the two closest seats, on a flight that was almost full*. And a boy got half dragged out of the hole.

          Doesn’t really make it less serious.

          *I’ve seen rumours that the seats were kept free by the airline because of earlier pressure problems being caused by a leak at the plug. Or that it was booked by two passengers who missed their flight.

          1. Orv Silver badge

            Re: I hope they also covered

            Alaska Airlines charges extra for seats like that with extra legroom. The most likely reason is it wasn't a full flight and no one wanted to pay up.

        3. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: I hope they also covered

          Fine ?

          No the company got a fine, the CEO got a $60M bonus.

      3. Blogitus Maximus

        Re: I hope they also covered

        Alas for those using airlines, a BSOD in the skys is potentially quite literal.

    2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Various types and uses of flat, star, crinkle and spring washers. It's one of the many things I wished I'd paid a lot more attention to when I was younger. Try this

    3. imanidiot Silver badge

      As far as helical spring washers the only correct usage imho (as a mechanical engineer) is: 1. Pick up entire package, 2. deposit entire package in metal recycling receptacle, 3a. buy proper locking washers if they are required or implement other safety locking measures; 3b. buy flat washers if you don't need locking washers.

      Helical spring washers have been shown to be all but useless when it comes to preventing bolts loosening. They're pretty much just flat washers once tightened.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Unless there is an earthquake, there is no vibration in our application because the equipment is typically mounted on the building frame.

        On our equipment, the spring washer is tightened to flat when cold.

        The spring washer maintains pressure during thermal cycling, which is important for other reasons. As there is thermal expansion of the bolt, the Helical spring washer unflattens.

        "They're pretty much just flat washers once tightened" is another simplification for beginners.

  6. KarMann Silver badge
    Flame

    Should've tried an impact wrench?

    Boeing said[,] "We regret the impact this has had on our customers and their passengers share price."
    FTFY

    1. zuckzuckgo

      Re: Should've tried an impact wrench?

      As an aircraft manufacturer I would think that avoiding any kind of impact would be their main job.

  7. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Shameful

    It's shameful how Boeing's management is running the company into the ground. They know that they can do whatever they please because the company is "too big to fail" and too important to the U.S. economy. If Boeing goes bankrupt the U.S. government will bail them out, just as it did with the Big Banks.

    The company makes a crap product which sees take up because there are few other vendors that make comparable products and Airbus is already booked to capacity. If the Chinese Comac C919 gets certified in the West and operates admirably for a couple of years I see Boeing going under quickly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shameful

      > It's shameful how Boeing's management is running the company into the ground.

      It's shameful how Boeing's management is flying the company into the ground.

      FTFY.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Shameful

        It's shameful how Boeing's management is flying the passengers into the ground.

        FYFTFY

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shameful

      Boeing and the Western different regulation and control agency's should really now double down and bring trust back. Play time is over the world has changed.

      The intermediate wide-body Iljoesjin IL-96-400M did is maiden flight last year and from a Western economic point of view this is way more dangerous than the Chinese Comac C919 .

      The IL-96-400M is completely made and developed in the Russian federation. The Chinese Comac C919 has some key components supplied from Western manufactures. (aka CFM, Liebherr, Honeywell, Parker, Incell, Rockwell, Crane, Michelin .. )

      If the IL-96-400M is ready to be sold... it could be and I stress " could be " a serious competitor in the BRICS part of this world (which is growing) and give competitions to the Western commercial aerospace giants and its suppliers.

      (Bombardier - part of the Airbus group has always been an western plane -> Turbine is Pratt and Whitney and like the Comac C919 the USA can put the export squeezy on it )

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Shameful

        Large airliners like the IL-96 aren't what airlines want. They want Airbus A320 / Boeing 737 sized airplanes because it gives them more flexibility. And the bigger sized versions are even cheaper still.

        I think the Chinese hit the sweet spot by building a A320 clone (because face it, that's what it is). Yes, it has a lot of Western parts, but that doesn't matter as long as China doesn't invade Taiwan. If they do, all bets are off.

      2. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Shameful

        "Chinese Comac C919 gets certified in the West....."

        Do you think the US government (whichever nut job is in power that week) will actually allow it in US airspace?

        Oh it's got an engine, must be a security threat, quick ban it. Yes we know there is zero evidence , but it's a security threat*

        I can see a ton of non-"western" countries buying them though.

        1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

          Re: Shameful

          You forget there will be intense pressure from airlines to certify and approve this aircraft.

          I've seen this with other stuff too. When the Chinese made some cheap knock-off telecommunications gear many telecom providers were pulling the government's ear to turn a blind eye to the copyright infringement (remember that Huawei stole and copied Cisco's software verbatim, bugs and all) and allow them to purchase this cheaper equipment so they can earn more money. They were promising faster rollout of 5G in return.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. eldakka

        Re: Shameful

        > If the IL-96-400M is ready to be sold... it could be and I stress " could be " a serious competitor in the BRICS part of this world

        Not a chance.

        the IL-96-400M is a 4-engine jet that competes with 2-engine jets in the same passenger carrying capacity class.

        Boeing and Airbus haven't reduced all their aircraft (i.e. neither Airbus or Boeing manufacturer any commercial 4-engine aircraft aymore, no more 747, no more A380, no more A340) to 2 engines on a whim. 2 engines is 1/2 as much maintainence - and hence cost - as 4 engines are.

        2 jet engines that between them match the output of 4 engines are much more fuel efficient than the 4 engines.

        Simple economics (and phyiscs assuming we are using turbofan engines) says 2 engines will beat 4 (assuming equivalent total output of the 2 == 4) in every single metric, purchase cost, manufacturing cost, fuel efficiency, maintenance cost.

        1. Lurko

          Re: Shameful

          Fuel efficiency will be the killer for any sane airline, but who'd buy a 35 year old Russian design with outdated engines anyway? The Russians stopped making the predecessor IL96 300 back in 2009, and here they are digging it out of its grave and claiming it's a fine, modern aircraft.

          I can't see Airbus or Boeing being terribly worried.

        2. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: Shameful

          You missed one; if you have poor quality engines and have two engines then losing one means that your probably going to lose the aircraft with everybody onboard.

          If you have poor quality engines and have four of them and lose one then your probably still going to be able to land it. So while it's an economically crap design, from a Russian perspective it's probably preferable.

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Re: Shameful

            You talk like Russians actually care about how many of their own people they kill (never mind people of other nations). Ukraine is objective proof they clearly don't. Well, Putin, at least, clearly doesn't.

          2. Orv Silver badge

            Re: Shameful

            Two-engine jets are *supposed* to be able to continue to climb on one engine, even if the failure occurs right after takeoff. Mind you this doesn't help if the second engine fails too, but that's pretty rare.

            As an aside, this is why two-engine jets often climb out faster than four-engine jets. A two-engine jet has to have a higher power-to-weight ratio with all engines lit, since it has to be able to cope with losing 50% of its power, whereas a 4-engine jet only has to be able to survive losing 25%.

          3. eldakka

            Re: Shameful

            > If you have poor quality engines and have four of them and lose one then your probably still going to be able to land it. So while it's an economically crap design, from a Russian perspective it's probably preferable.

            That is entirely my point.

            2 engines are more efficient/economical than 4 engines.

            Russian aircraft needs 4 engines due to reliability of their engines.

            Since there are 2-engine designs up to ETOPS-370 certification (their air-route has to be within 370-minutes single-engine flight-time of an airstrip that is capable of landing said aircraft), why would anyone buy the less efficient/economical 4-engine option when they could get a more economical ETOPS-370 certified aircraft instead?

    3. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Shameful

      The Comac is hardly chinese, most of the important components come from western suppliers.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Shameful

        I assume they'll copy the rest of the parts as time goes on.

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: Shameful

          Theres a big difference between copying and actually reproducing.

          Anyone can make something that looks like a RR or GE engine, its another thing if your engine is anywhere near that performance.

          You cant fool physics with your fake engine because it looks the same.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Shameful

            Also see the great capacitor plague of the naughties.

            1. Dave@Home

              Re: Shameful

              That was thirty years ago. There comes a point where they do catch up, and even overtake.

              1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

                Re: Shameful

                Not thirty years ago, less than 20 actually. In fact, I have a desktop computer running that used to have those faulty capacitors. I replaced them myself and it's still running today.

              2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

                Re: Shameful

                China has almost never surpassed the west in anything.

                The only products i can think of are DJI cameras and drones, they are the best in the world.

                Everything else they just copy, work hard and make it for less. Given the size of China they should be world leaders in more than just drones.

    4. TheMeerkat

      Re: Shameful

      But the Chinese will be even worse as there is a larger leaway to ignore safety in China due to the nature of the system.

    5. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: Shameful

      "the U.S. government will bail them out, just as it did with the Big Banks"

      Except it didn't, hence the sub prime crisis and the 2008 crash.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Shameful

        They didn't bail out Lehman Brothers out of principle, but when this almost resulted in the meltdown of the financial system they quickly made about face and poured money into the banks like there was no tomorrow.

    6. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Shameful

      No whats shameful is how the American media from hollywood, social media, newspapers, tv shows and more make heroes and gods out of corporate leadership.

      WHen the masses honou ryou in this way, it leads to the same corporate types thinking they can do anything, after all they have already brainwashed the masses into believing stupiduty so why not go one step more.

  8. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It's not a question of whose habitat it is, it's a question of how fast you hit it!

    "We regret the impact this has had on our customers and their passengers, especially when they hit the ground".

  9. Lyndication

    Makes me feel better about my work

    I work for a much smaller, lower stakes, company that makes lil doodads that go in private aircraft. Think Cessnas or a North Sea rig chopper.

    These little doodads are required to be fully EASA compliant - and thus CAA and FAA by harmonisation - which involves lengthy design processes detailing the exact torque value of every damn nut and bolt that assembles them as well as calibration records for the driver that torques the nuts *ahem.*

    It's honestly bewildering how this can have occurred, as larger companies like Boeing are under much deeper scrutiny with the regulators practically living in there. Then again, maybe that's the issue? Either way, it makes me feel top-of-my-field that I'm Part21 compliant in a way Boeing don't seem to be actually capable of.

    Purely through torqueing some damned bolts correctly.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Makes me feel better about my work

      It's honestly bewildering how this can have occurred, as larger companies like Boeing are under much deeper scrutiny with the regulators practically living in there.

      Hasn't the FAA switched to self-certification for the big manufacturers because of budget cutbacks and subsequent lack of staff?

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Makes me feel better about my work

      I work for a company making the widgets that go into your doodads... well someone's doodads anyway(think much bigger aircraft)

      Everything we do from material delivery to programming(me) to inspection to delivery has to be certified, everything damn little thing.... when it was done, who did it, etc etc etc.

      Companies like boing can demand this info off us at any point, especially in a case like this where something has gone wrong. so to find loose bolts on aircraft says either someone(or more) at boing are not doing their damn jobs properly... or the vibration on the aircraft are loosening the bolts well before <inspection time>(note: the less you have to inspect, the quicker the turn around and the faster the plane is back in the air).

      Something has gone seriously wrong at boing. I'd start with the management... but since all corportate management is stamped out of the same mould nowadays, I cant see how a change in management is going to work unless they start recruiting from the engineers again

      I'm sure I made some typos but I cant find them....

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Makes me feel better about my work

        > I'm sure I made some typos but I cant find them....

        “Boing”, while pleasingly onomatopoeic of things bouncing off the ground, is not the company’s name :)

        Oh and just to be an irritating over-pedantic wiener, I’ll also point out “cant” :)

        Upvoted you anyway for a cogent and informative comment.

        1. john.w

          Re: Makes me feel better about my work

          I would have gone for booing.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Makes me feel better about my work

        > I'm sure I made some typos but I cant find them....

        Reviewing your own work is really difficult, it never ceases to amaze me how companies supposedly in the safely business can sign off work where the individual responsible for production is also doing the QA.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Makes me feel better about my work

          I'm in pharma. Everywhere I've worked, reviewing your own work was strictly prohibited. If entered and reviewed digitally, often the software won't allow the same person to do both.

      3. Lyndication

        Re: Makes me feel better about my work

        >I work for a company making the widgets that go into your doodads.

        We just need to continue the chain to find the person who makes the thingummies that go into your widgets that go into my doodads now.

        Should be in the traceability record somewhere, right?

        >Everything we do from material delivery to programming(me) to inspection to delivery has to be certified, everything damn little thing.

        Yyyyup, and we're a small player who doesn't actually touch the big Airliners. Our customers are all small fry. Even so, when I do a repair under Part 145 I still have to be able to tell you the exact factory batch of a replacement nut, who torqued it, which exact driver they used, and what it's calibration date was at the time of working.

        Makes it a pain sometimes because parts might go out of stock with white market retailers. Sometimes I'm sitting with very expensive kit I *could* fix with grey market supplies, but if we can't trace them right back to the line in Shenzhen they came from, then no dice.

        1. Lurko

          Re: Makes me feel better about my work

          " if we can't trace them right back to the line in Shenzhen they came from, then no dice."

          Even if you could trace them back to Shenzen, how much would you trust Chinese documentation and record keeping?

          I work for a safety regulator (nothing to do with aviation or transport) and the dodgy stuff we encounter (around 90% of which is Chinese sourced) is reasonably well split between total junk that makes no effort to be compliant or safe, and stuff that looks OK superficially and has most or all of the necessary markings to indicate compliance. We keep on seizing and destroying unsafe stuff, but the Chinese makers and sellers don't take any notice, and even when Amazon or eBay take down the listing, they let a new one pop up. The likes of Amazon and eBay don't care. Takes me all of two minutes to find an illegal mains adaptor plug on Amazon, for example, and that's on the basis of faults I can see in the image, never mind by measuring or inspecting the product. Cheap chargers and batteries are worse, because they're a greater fire risk but can't be checked other than through destructive inspection or testing. Even really basic stuff like having mains wiring of the correct capacity or adequate earthing is sometimes beyond the makers, suppliers and online marketplaces.

          1. Lyndication

            Re: Makes me feel better about my work

            This is true and why we only use them for verifiable primary parts, e.g., resistors, capacitors, nuts, bolts. Items that are then sourced via reputable sellers in the UK with full CoC but ultimately are traceable back to that Shenzhen factory line because the UK doesn't make these things.

            PCB Assemblies and up are built in the UK though, including the boards themselves. We're not buying stuff off AliBaba here, it's the exact opposite of traceable and reliable.

          2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

            Re: Makes me feel better about my work

            I always trust those golden circle stickers with QA printed on them.

            I guess only the chinese do proper QA, because ive never seen those stickers on western products.

  10. Paul Herber Silver badge

    'Boeing will host an all-hands meeting today at its factory'

    Well, excuse me, but IMPORTANT people don't work in or ever visit the factory, corporate HQ is elsewhere probably.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      In an extraordinary turn of events, Boeing Commercial's president actually _cancelled_ an executive retreat with his VPs so that he could travel to the Renton factory to fly the flag, as it were.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        The Boeing execs will probably give themselves a $100 million bonus because they did such an admirable job running the company. Not!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "fly the flag"

        Did he also risk flying the company's product?

    2. YetAnotherXyzzy

      "corporate HQ is elsewhere probably"

      That's literally true, yes. Back when Boeing was run by engineers, HQ was a quick drive from the Renton plant that now builds the MAX. Then the same MBAs that ruined McDonnell Douglas took over Boeing and moved HQ halfway across the country to Chicago. That wasn't far enough apparently so now they've moved to Virginia.

      1. Lurko

        Boeing are moving to Virginia (specifically Arlington) because it's a few minutes from the FAA headquarters the other side of the Potomac. Why go through the pain and effort to fix your shinky engineering and build when enough slap up lunches with the regulator will get you the necessary stamps?

        Cosying up to the FAA worked for the 737 Max software, which saved Boeing around $8bn compared to the cost of developing a proper modern airframe to go with modern large engines. Obviously the various costs of that rather offset the savings, but the Virginia moves says Boeing still haven't learned a damn thing.

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Aaaactually, it's to cozy up to the Pentagon. They give the company more money...

      2. teneriffe trail

        Next they will move to Pyongyang.

    3. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Typical American corporate bullshit.

      Meetings, speaches and everyone loves the CEO.

      Go look at glassdoor or any other jobs board, they arent advising companies they are promoting cults about how mucgh everyone approves the leadership.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Waiter, there's a fly in my soup!"

    "Well don't shout too loudly sir, they'll all want one!"

    I wonder how many other models/brands/types of aircraft have odd bolts loose here and there? Expect another me too epidemic.

  12. Andre Carneiro

    I do hope Embraer, Airbus, et al. are watching this very closely and learn a lesson by proxy.

    This industry has no room or compassion for loose QA or a shoddy, profits-first attitude.

    As Richard Feynman famously said: “nature cannot be fooled”.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      1. EBG

        an airbus

        full of Japanese who will behave responsibly

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: an airbus

          Better tell that to Toyota and Diahatsu, with the later lying abou their safety for over 30 years.

    2. Orv Silver badge

      Embraer's safety record is surprisingly good considering their planes are mostly flow by lower-time regional pilots who are still working their way up to the big leagues.

      Airbus has had the odd bit of trouble what with confusing autopilot UI, cross-wired control sticks, crashes caused by blocked static ports, and carbon fiber vertical stabilizers that snap off if you use the rudder too enthusiastically.

      1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        WHy would a regional pilot be less careful than a big league ?

        THis is the problem, Amerians believe that status is more important than actual quality and performance. Its all about what the public thinks, rathe rthan the sensibles of reality.

  13. wiggers
    Coat

    BOEING... or Boding?

    used to stand for "Bits of Engine In Neighbours Garden". Now doors?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: BOEING... or Boding?

      Just as well that it was in the garden, not on the house.

    2. KarMann Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: BOEING... or Boding?

      Exit, Egress, Entrance, shirley those would work just fine. Well, 'Entrance' is a bit semantically reversed, but close enough for Boeing work.

    3. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: BOEING... or Boding?

      Bits Of Engineering In Neighbours Gardens

      FTFY

      (Following you out the door.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IT angle here

    I work in an automotive related field. We have some assembles that have safety-critical torques. Our electronic torque wrenches are tied to a database that records the torque values* by location and serial number. We're required to retain those records for something like 10 years.

    *There are other details recorded as well to prevent skipping some and torquing one fastener multiple times.

    1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

      Re: IT angle here

      >>Our electronic torque wrenches are tied to a database

      Those will be the torque wrenches that have just been flagged as having some amazing CVEs (display not showing correct informaton regarding torque set point and current level, arbitary code running on the wrench, SQL injection attack vulnerabilities... the list goes on...)

      so, to sum up, you are referring to those really safe torque wrenches, used in safety critical applications?

  15. Forex

    Quality issues since the new factory

    Anyone remember the panorama investigation into the quality of new 787's being built at the South Carolina factory? Engineers were secretly recorded saying they wouldn't fly in the planes they were building. Now the produtst iare failing.

  16. spireite Silver badge

    Apparently, Boeing are doing a Safety Torque at the company today...

    1. I am David Jones Silver badge
      Coat

      Accompanied by nuts and door h’oeuvres?

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        I rather liked today’s Matt cartoon in the Telegraph…

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/PortalPictures/january-2024/1001-MATT-PORTAL-WEB-P1.png?imwidth=320

        (Apologies if paywalled.)

        1. david 12 Silver badge

          Brilliant. I'd already left, but I came back to upvote you for that link.

        2. ldo

          How You Can Spot A WordPress Site ...

          Did you know you can drop that ”?imwidth=320” off the end, and get a bigger version of the picture?

          A similar trick works in other sites I’ve tried, as well.

  17. YetAnotherXyzzy

    Panama's national carrier Aeromexico

    Panama's flag carrier is Copa. Aeroméxico is, surprisingly enough, from Mexico. Both have the MAX 9.

  18. b1k3rdude

    Gotta love that 'piss-weak, we aren't admitting to anything' PR response - "While we've made progress in strengthening our safety management and quality control systems and processes in the last few years, situations like this are a reminder that we must remain focused on continuing to improve every day."

    No Boeing, you and the FAA haven't made any f*cking prgress! Your safety managerment is still criminaly inadiquate. How many more accident need to happen or people have to die (346 and counting) beforce someone is prosecuted and sent to prison. The second part of that statement is just insulting to the loved ones of those who have died on this death trap aircraft.

    Not to self, check aircraft model when buying airline tickets. I went to Berlin recently and thankfully you canm check the flight details after the fact, it was an Airbus A320.

  19. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    preliminarily?

    Is "preliminarily" a word? if it is, it bloody well should not be!

    "The inspections performed by United and Alaska were done over the weekend preliminarily, we note,"

    1. YetAnotherXyzzy
      Headmaster

      Re: preliminarily?

      I don't like that word either, hence my choice of icon. Perhaps the intention was to emphasize that Alaska and United both performed these initial inspections on their own initiative, given that the FAA hadn't yet gotten off its ass.

      Credit where it is due, the FAA did eventually call for inspections, presumably once their masters at Boeing granted permission. Regulatory capture can be a bitch sometimes.

    2. disgruntled yank

      Re: preliminarily?

      According to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, published in 1983 by Merriam-Webster, yes it is a word. Should it be? That doesn't seem to matter much now.

  20. spireite Silver badge
    Joke

    Bolt count.....

    Maybe the engineers read the Aircraft Type & Variant and mistook that for the potential number of bolts required...

    Max - 9

    .

    1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Bolt count.....

      Hey if short cuts are NOT taken and costs reduced, how will B afford to give $50M bonus ?

  21. enirgin

    At least they're consistent

    They can't build spacecraft either.

  22. ldo

    Let Me See How I Can Put This ...

    “Some manufacturing and maintenance deficiencies have been found which can have undesirable consequences in vehicle operation, namely a sudden, unexpected altitude correction accompanied by structural integrity failures, putting the survival of occupants somewhat in doubt.”

    Did I get that right?

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Let Me See How I Can Put This ...

      More like "Our tireless quality assurance team has remedied some potential issues that have been highlighted by recent adverse press coverage. We remain proud of our safety record and encourage all our customers' passengers to remember that these planes are American, dammit, and the best you can buy."

    2. herman Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Let Me See How I Can Put This ...

      Being made sure that the door would not hit anyone on the way out.

  23. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Engineers

    I vividly remember this story that someone from Boeing's management claimed that they didn't need engineers because building airplanes was a "solved problem." He was probably thinking that they do need more management layers to manage all the fallout of the quality and engineering problems they were creating.

    The doctrine that sprouted in management circles that it doesn't matter what type of company you manage has worked out disastrously in the U.S. and the Western world. If we don't turn this around soon we'll have no more industry in a couple of decades.

  24. imanidiot Silver badge

    In deep depth info

    For those wanting to know (a lot) more about the mechanics of the plug/door in question I can highly recommend the latest 2 videos on The 737 Technical Channel (titled: "737 mid-cabin emergency exit doors" and "737 mid-cabin emergency exit doors - plug option"

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: In deep depth info

      Additional info/update and some other interesting discussion on other aspects of the incidents (like the manuals not reporting the cockpit door unlocks and opens in case of an explosive decompression) by the usually very informative Blancolirio

  25. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    Back in the early '90s, one of my roommates worked at one of their plants in Ontario. He'd come home, get double-vision drunk, and go to work with a major hangover each day. I'm not surprised to see little "errors" like this crop up with such high-quality staff.

  26. herman Silver badge

    DC10 vs Max 9

    Well, one has to give Boeing credit that doors falling off, is better than having engines fall off.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FAA Newsflash

    Just heard the FAA are changing their motto to the Latin "Si suus 'Boing Im' non iens" (If it's Boeing, I'm Not Going".

  28. Baximelter

    The rot began -

    - when Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. And then began building its planes with nonunion labor in the American South.

  29. Ken G Silver badge

    Firefly

    Don’t pay anybody in advance. And don’t ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine, they fall right out of the sky.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    777X Cargo Door Blown Out

    ....yup....once upon a time, in ground test, a 777X cargo door blew out.....failing the test.

    Is this at all similar to current door plug failures?

    1. Orv Silver badge

      Re: 777X Cargo Door Blown Out

      Probably not. A few planes over the years have had occasional issues with cargo door latching mechanisms -- including the 747, 777, and DC-10. But this was a door *plug*, so it had no latching mechanism -- it was supposed to be bolted in place.

  31. OllieJones

    This story is about divestiture/ outsourcing / cost squeezing, not dumbass airplane workers

    The CEO had to fly from corp HQ in Arlington, VA, to the airplane factory in Washington for this all-hands meeting.

    The real story is that Boeing spun out their Wichita mfg ops not an outfit called Spirit Aero, and so changed the assembly of an airplane from a holistic task to a series of transactions. That's oversimplified, but Boeing's legendary quality standards are really suffering under the current crop of MBAs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This story is about divestiture/ outsourcing / cost squeezing, not dumbass airplane workers

      "The CEO had to fly from corp HQ in Arlington, VA" - wonder what his plane was for that trip.

  32. Snobol4

    So, on the back of deciding not to re-design an airframe that dates from the 1960s to accomodate modern, high bypass engines and instead for the first time in history deliberately introduce unstable flight characteristics in a civil airplane, they also now decide to deliberately introduce weak points (holes) into the airframe for convenience and cost reasons. When are people going to really hold Boeing to account and stop travelling on this airplane? You certainly wouldn't catch me taking a flight on a modern 737!

    1. Orv Silver badge

      The hole is for an emergency exit door. Not all configurations need all the doors, but that shouldn't matter -- if having a hole there with a door in it doesn't weaken the fuselage too much to be safe, then the same hole with a plug in it shouldn't either.

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