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BOEING 737 MAX: ABC 7:30 Report investigation reveals even more safety issues

BOEING 737 MAX: ABC 7:30 Report investigation reveals even more safety issues

Tonight (Monday 27 June) the ABC’s 7:30 report is running a story on further safety issues with the fault plagued Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Turns out that the US air safety investigator did not investigate allegations of Boeing’s continuing factory production problems as part of its enquiries into the airworthiness of the plane after the two crashes, and before certifying the model’s return to service.

You may remember that this aircraft was suspended from flying after two tragic crashes off the coast of Indonesia in 2018 and in Ethiopia in 2019, killing 346 passengers and crew.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recertified the airworthiness of the plane towards the end of 2020. In the first 12 months after that, pilots reported over 60 in-flight incidents with the aircraft. These incidents included engine shutdowns, pilots losing control of an aircraft and failures in the system that controls pitch and altitude – all malfunctions that could end in tragedy.

a white airplane flying in the sky

Virgin Australia and Bonza have ordered the Boeing 737 MAX

This investigation into the plane matters, because the domestic carrier, Virgin Australia has ordered models of the 737-MAX, as has prospective new local entrant Bonza. According to the ABC story, Virgin Australia is expecting a delivery of 4 of the MAX-8 model – the same as those involved in the two crashes, and 25 of a newer MAX-10 model. However, a press release by Virgin Australia in December 2020 details a restructured deal with Boeing, which says the MAX-8 model has been dropped from Virgin’s order, which now consists of only 25 of the larger MAX-10 model.

‘The restructured order book now consists of 25 B737 MAX 10 aircraft which are scheduled for delivery from mid-2023, providing greater efficiencies to the airline as well as a better flying experience for customers. The airline will no longer receive the B737 MAX 8.’

Virgin Australia Press Release December 2020
a plane flying over land

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

If the article online is any guide, the 7:30 Report’s investigation seems thorough and uses incident data to build a case about ongoing issues with the aircraft, including foreshadowing an investigation by the US government examining Boeing’s production oversight of the 737 MAX.

You can watch the investigation tonight on the ABC 7:30 Report, live, via iView, or read the ABC News online report.

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