• Latest News

    Friday, March 8, 2024

    NTSB Investigating 'Stuck' Rudder Pedal Issue on Boeing 737 MAX 8 Flight

    Regulators are once again putting the spotlight on Boeing’s 737 Max 8.

    A new preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that a United Airlines flight from Nassau, Bahamas, to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey experienced "stuck" rudder pedals on its landing roll on Feb. 6.

    According to the report, the captain told investigators that “the rudder pedals did not move in response to the ‘normal’ application of foot pressure while attempting to maintain the runway centerline. The pedals remained ‘stuck’ in their neutral position.”

    United received the plane involved in the incident from Boeing on Feb. 20, 2023, and removed it from service for maintenance after the incident.

    The NTSB said it is continuing to investigate the incident, but early tests suggest cold temperatures may have been a factor in the fault.

    “We appreciate the NTSB’s work on this preliminary report and will continue to fully support their investigation. We worked closely with United Airlines to diagnose the rudder response issue observed during two 737-8 flights in early February. With coordination with United, the issue was successfully resolved with the replacement of three parts and the airplane returned to service last month,” a Boeing spokesperson said in a statement.

    The company also pointed out that 737 Max jets use the same rudder controls as the previous generation of the plane. According to Boeing, two similar incidents occurred in 2019, both of which were resolved by replacing components.

    While seemingly less serious than earlier issues, this is just another headache for Boeing as it tries to assure travelers and airlines that its 737 Maxes are reliable airplanes. The jets were involved in two high-profile crashes that killed 346 people and left them grounded for more than a year. Then, earlier this year, the Max 9 fleet was grounded for a number of weeks after an Alaska Airlines flight experienced an explosive decompression when a door plug ripped out mid-flight.

    In the wake of those incidents, Boeing has been under intense scrutiny and pressure from regulators to improve its manufacturing processes and safety standards.

    Boeing called out in Senate hearing

    Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board argued Wednesday over whether the company has cooperated with investigators looking into the blowout of a door-plug panel on one of its planes during a flight in January.

    The safety board's chair, Jennifer Homendy, told a Senate Committee that for two months Boeing repeatedly refused to identify employees who work on door panels on Boeing 737s. Investigators want to interview them.

    Homendy also said the company has failed to provide documentation about a repair job that included removing and reinstalling the panel on the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 that suffered the blowout — or even whether Boeing kept records.

    “It's absurd that two months later we don't have that,” Homendy said. “Without that information, that raises concerns about quality assurance, quality management, safety management systems” at Boeing.

    Shortly after the Senate hearing ended, Boeing responded that it gave the NTSB the names of all employees who work on 737 doors — and had previously shared some of them with investigators.

    “Early in the investigation, we provided the NTSB with names of Boeing employees, including door specialists, who we believed would have relevant information,” a company spokesman said in a statement. “We have now provided the full list of individuals on the 737 door team, in response to a recent request."

    NTSB fired back, saying that Homendy “stands behind her accurate testimony" to the Senate Commerce Committee.

    It is still unclear whether Boeing kept records about who removed the plug—a panel that replaces extra emergency doors when they are not required—on the Alaska plane last September.

    “If the door plug removal was undocumented there would be no documentation to share,” Boeing said.

    • Blogger Comments
    • Facebook Comments


    Item Reviewed: NTSB Investigating 'Stuck' Rudder Pedal Issue on Boeing 737 MAX 8 Flight Rating: 5 Reviewed By: BrandIconImage
    Scroll to Top