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2,600 Boeing 737 Airplanes To Undergo Inspection, FAA Says

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The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered the inspection of 2,600 Boeing 737 airplanes due to the potential of oxygen masks failing during an emergency.

“The FAA said it was requiring the inspections of 737 MAX and Next Generation airplanes after multiple reports of passenger service unit oxygen generators shifting out of position,” according to Reuters.

The issue could prevent passengers from receiving supplemental oxygen during a depressurization event.

Per Reuters:

Boeing, which on June 17 issued a bulletin to airlines calling for visual inspections, said Monday it had told airlines to update a subset of the restraining straps on 737 oxygen generators after a new adhesive introduced on the straps in August 2019 had been seen under certain circumstances to allowed units to shift up to three quarters of an inch.

“We have gone back to the original adhesive for all new deliveries to ensure the generators remain firmly in place, as intended,” Boeing said, adding inspections of the in-service fleet and undelivered airplanes have not identified any units that failed to operate properly.

The FAA said its airworthiness directive was immediately effective and requires inspections and corrective actions if needed within 120 to 150 days based on the 737 model. The FAA is also barring airlines from installing potentially defective parts.

“The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all The Boeing Company Model 737-8, 737-9, and 737-8200 airplanes and Model 737-700, -800, and -900ER series airplanes. This AD was prompted by multiple reports of passenger service unit (PSU) oxygen generators shifting out of position within their associated PSU assemblies because of a retention failure. This AD requires a general visual inspection of the PSU oxygen generator installation to determine the configuration of the thermal pads of the retention straps and applicable on-condition actions. This AD also prohibits the installation of affected parts. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products,” the document read.

Newsweek reports:

According to the FAA, airlines must conduct a general visual inspection and if needed replace oxygen generators with new or serviceable oxygen generators, strap thermal pads and reposition impacted oxygen generators.

These FAA directives are common measures to fix potential aircraft safety issues. However, Boeing’s safety record has faced increased scrutiny recently, particularly after a door plug blew out midair on an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

The “airworthiness directive,” industry parlance for a legally enforceable regulation, is the latest blow for Boeing just hours after the company accepted a guilty plea in what many have termed a “sweetheart deal” with the Department of Justice (DOJ) early on Monday.

Under the approved terms of the agreement, Boeing will now plead guilty to one count of defrauding FAA officials over the flight control software known as MCAS that played a role in Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max in 2019, as well as one in Indonesia five months earlier.

In return, Boeing will avoid going to trial and pay a $243.6 million fine, undergo three years of probation by a “hand-picked” monitor, and meet with the relatives of those who died onboard its planes.

Read the FAA document HERE.

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