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Alaska Airlines flight forced to make emergency landing at PDX after a panel on side of the plane blew out

The flight, No. 1282, was heading from PDX to Ontario, California. Photos show that a panel on the back left side of the plane was jettisoned during the flight. ( More...

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jim sisti 10
Monday noon, and the FAA is thanking Portland teacher "Bob" for sending them in a picture of the door in his yard. They intend to go and pick it up later today,along with 2 cell phones found nearby, believed to be from passengers on the plane.
I sure hope there is a finders fee for Bob.
Bandrunner 2
If I were Bob, I'd have kept it as useful material for around the house or workshop.
Alan Cordery 9
Boeing has lost the plot. Pushed by ex GE execs they broke the winning ecosystem in Seattle, moved the head office and set up a manufacturing facility on the east coast, to avoid unionized labor. Imagine the headcount cost per unit in a product sold for many millions of dollars, not too significant. Their motivation was to look good on Wall Street keeping those stock options moving. Sad story.
Colin Seftel 6
Long before the ex-GE executives were appointed, Boeing had already beenmisled by ex-McDonnell-Douglas executives.
jjryba 9
Agree,The drive to airport is more dangerous than flight,especially if impacted by a 240 lb door plug with 25 ft of metallic furnace tape. (Thw FAA approved type)
Dave Mathes 1
...damn, where'd that come from...
sparkie624 0
Metal Furnace Tape... LOL, I would guess you are referring to "Speed Tape".. LOL
C J 22
Go to a single fleet type, they said. The A321 NEO's are nothing but trouble, they said. The 737 MAX is the answer, they said.

The MAX was and is a mistake that has been nothing but an over engineered safety nightmare. Time for both Boeing and Alaska to clean out their exec offices, and it's time for the world to move on from the MAX. History is going to think everyone was crazy for continuing to defend a machine that spends more time grounded than flying.
Matt West 9
Good Point. I bet those NEOs they just sold to AA would have helped them out of the bind with all the -9 MAXs grounded.
Dan Nelson 21
Boing should have never dropped the 757's
They are trying to do too much to the 737.
Eric Rindal 26
The saying formerly was "If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going" Now it seems to be more "If its Boeing, I don't think I'm going"

Boeing has never recovered from MD buying Boeing with Boeing's money. The move to Chicago was the core to their current issues. The boardroom believed it was the C-suite crowd rather then engineers that was the core company asset. Boeing has been on a rocky path ever since.
Marty Martino 14
Without a doubt, Boeing’s QA has been shoddy at best. At least, thanks to the flight crew, no lives were lost.
Scott Keller 2
Agree. Anyone know if this Max9 was built in Washington or South Carolina?
Colin Seftel 5
The fuselage was built by Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas. The aircraft was assembled in Renton, Washington.
John Yarno 1
Now that's the spirit...
matt jensen 8
Now this from BOE
Marty Martino 11
Interesting article. Thanks for posting it. Considering the issue uncovered by the article, I hope that’s a “No” from the FAA. Now, i will be nervous next time I’m onboard any 737 Max.
Carol Smith 10
Absolutely! I can’t believe the audacity …..considering all the other problems. Well overdue for a serious overhaul of manufacturing and QA procedures. Hope the FAA treats this correctly and doesn’t allow any leeway on safety.
John D 5
I’m seeing the FAA is opening an investigation today on their manufacturing practices.
matt jensen 3
Tim Dyck 3
Thanks for the link
Robert Burness 2
I thought 737s were nicknamed "vacuum cleaners" due to their effect on runways.
Bill Conn 1
Spending one Penny on anything other than safety of Passengers is not a budget that I'd allow! Period!!!
jeff slack 14
I came here for the comments and not the article; I am not disappointed. Members here have fleshed this out better than the media. Thank you!
Beth Cox 6
Those of you who are pilots, how safe is it to fly the 737-Max? We are United flyers and I’m concerned. Do I trust United to make th necessary safety calls?
Colin Seftel 3
FAA are grounding MAX9’s which have plugged door openings. The MAX’s still flying are safe.
Eric Rindal 16
The frame of the emergency door appears to be undamaged though far from certain when simply judged by appearances?

Until the door is recovered it will be hard to fully assess what failed But my initial sense is that it will have something to do with the door retaining hardware.

If the door had impacted the Horizontal stabilizer as it departed the aircraft, we could have been looking at a far more severe outcome.
Surely designed to miss control surfaces by several inches in departing.
sparkie624 0
Surprisingly, with the Airflow design, it is designed to go over the wing (Obviously) and under the tail.
RECOR10 -9
Agreed, and if I had only won that PowerBall I would buy the plane in question and fly it always with out that door....but, it didnt and I didnt.
Anthony Allen 7
The consequences of not winning the PowerBall lottery are somewhat differenent than losing the errant-piece-of-plane-which-struck-flight-control-surfaces lottery.
True about the door plug. But, the 737-9 ER/NG have the same door. It's only the MAX-9 that are being grounded
Michael Hawke 8
It wasn’t a door per see. It was a removable plug that fit into a door opening. The 737-9 ER/NG doesn’t have it because the seat configuration is different.
Dave Mathes 6
Semantics sure, but the part still needs to be installed properly...wouldn't ya' think?...
sparkie624 11
Knowing how those Panels and Doors fit... It is difficult to image how that panel blew out.. Will be interesting to see the final report of the Root Cause!
Ron Slater 5
Boeing needs to go back and built a 757-NEO and a 767-NEO and stop trying to stretch the 737 into oblivion
The difficulty for Boeing is that they do not appear to have moved on from the disastrous crashes of their 737-MAX aircraft in 2018 and 2019 which resulted in the deaths of nearly 350 people. Had the Alaska Airlines flight attained normal cruising altitude then the loss of the door plug would have (in all probability) created a far more serious situation with the possible total loss of the aircraft and all on board.
At the very least in raises a host of new questions about Boeing's quality control as well as their manufacturing processes. 737-MAX deliveries have already suffered massive delays due to electrical problems and just last year to non-compliant fittings. Loose or missing bolts will not be seen as 'type specific' and do nothing for client confidence in them as a manufacturer.
Airlines looking to place new orders for their fleets will be watching customer preference very carefully and I suggest that those that do stay with Boeing will be squeezing every last penny or cent that they can out them for their loyalty. Hardly helpful for Boeing given their current financial status.
Of course, not only will Boeing have to come up with answers for their customers but equally they will need to satisfy the regulators and that, I suspect, will be the most difficult
mbrews 5
Coming home to roost / for inspection. Flightaware search for aircraft type B39M shows seven (7) of the type airborne Sunday Jan 7 at 1710z hours. Interestingly, 4 of the 7 are Copa Air, the Panama based airline partly owned by United Airlines USA. Headed for home base Tocumen PTY / MPTO
Tim Lamborn 11
Did Boeing hire a bunch of laid off RV workers? The quality of construction seems parallel.

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Anthony Allen 3
Lol! Many claims, zero evidence. Nice try, but not really.
John D 0
Tell me you are a bigot without telling me you are a bigot. There is no room for people like you here. Go away.
Bill Overdue -7
Sir, there's "ALWAYS" room for the truth! Always! Take a deep breath and look around at the disintegration of core values, intelligence and common sense. To deny what's happening in this country is to enable it!
John D 9
There’s no room for racism. Grow up.
DEI is racism. The defense of meritocracy is not racism. There is no room for racism. Agreed.
Duane Mader 9
Correct Bruce. Engineering, flying airplanes, ATC need to be solely merit based. Affirmative action should play no role in hiring. Planes and weather can’t see color
sparkie624 1
Easier Said than done... We all have Racism.. If you do not think that you do, then it is time to look closer... We are all Guilty!
Jeffery Zeinert -7
Bill is correct. If you are blind to it then I can only assume you belong to the party that has gotten us to where we are in four short years.
darjr26 -2
Where are we?
Bill Overdue -1
Your analysis is absurdly obtuse! Try harder!
Matt West 8
The official announcements neglect the fact that this was a MAX. The CEO keeps referring to it as 737-9.
John D 4
One CNN story headline I saw earlier today called it a 747 Max9. Ny first thought was, does Alaska Air even have any 747's??
Marty Martino 8
One miskey can ruin your entire day. And to Matt West, even after the return to flight of the Max 8, the MAX series still has a negative connotation to it. Much like the DC-10 in the 70’s and 80’s (betraying my age, yes, I was around then and I remember it). For the record, I preferred Lockheed’s L-1011 TriStar back then. So Alaska tried to get away from any residual negative publicity the MAX series might still have. I’ve been on the Max 8, both times Southwest the aircraft as 737-8.
Matt West 8
Very good point. I also enjoyed the old Tristar L-1011s. The DC10 did manage to recover somewhat though in the form of Cargo aircraft, unlike the L-1011 sadly. I will never understand that.
No reason for the news to start with "facts"....I mean, this is the modern media.
Parfait, j’adore cette application, je recommande vivement 😊
Joseph Purpura 4
Is significant weight saved by blanking rather than just going with the type 1 plug door?
Lance Neward 2
Yes,, significant weight is saved by not having an opening/closing mechanism, window and its frame, escape slide, etc., etc.
That something like this can happen is incomprehensible to me.
Dave Mathes 4
..there was a time I would have thought so too...
matt jensen 4
This FAA directive now grounds 215 MAX planes from multiple fleets. Betcha Icelandic is looking for some 757s now.
Stephen Leftly 3
From what I have read the "door" came out at ~16,000 feet...just imagine what we would be seeing if if came out at +30,000 feet!

Air pressure at 16,000 ft is roughly 8 psi while only 4.4 psi at 30,000 ft!
Colin Seftel 4
737s have survived explosive decompression at cruising altitude: Alpha 243 and Southwest 1380. The lucky break in this incident was that the door plug didn’t hit and damage any flight controls.
Stephen Leftly 4
True however the Southwest incident was more of a "puncture" which reduced the speed of decompression compared to the huge hole left by the "door".

The Aloha plane was at 24,000 ft. (5.7 PSI). In that one there was a fatality.

Colin Seftel 1
* Aloha not Alpha. 🙂
united uses and flies the 737 has taken all of theirs out of service for inspection,and it was noted on local news here as ual is huge in my city,that they are finding loose bolts on those specific panels..thank goodness the plane was only 6 minutes into the flight and no one was seated by that "door plug" me it just brought back old news stories of the dc -10's when they had problems with the cargo doors coming off in flight,as well as an old 737 (i believe it was hawaiian airlines)where a large section of the top fuselage blew off in flight ,or the 747 (united) that lost a portion of the first class cabin in a flight to hawaii..its a miracle no one was killed, and the only injury was the young man who had his shirt ripped off,but was not sucked out of the hole..
The linked a article cannot be viewed from Europe ... try for dome info
Colin Seftel 2
Better report here:
godutch 5
All of this might go away if they just started to jail CEO's and senior management committee members responsible for some of the decisions made in corporations. (I recently saw a new video about the DC10 rear cargo door criminal behavior by MD - where they received a slap on the wrist by making the conscious decision not to completely fix those doors and killed all the passengers on the Turkish DC10 out of Paris. Sad)
Valerie Scott 4
A320, A330, A350 - great planes . If given a choice I would choose airbus and would think twice before flying a MAX.
Bill Conn 2
I swear I was just thinking the same thing!!!
Paul Ipolito 3
Boeing seems destined to run out of time and luck in the very near-future. They need to "stand down" and shut all production down for a few weeks and get re-focused. SHUT IT DOWN, BOEING!
Tflys1 4
I was catching a ride to work once with a crew on a brand new 800 and the Captain said more than once he believed the legalizing of marijuana in Washington state just might have something to do with all the maintenance squawks they were getting on all of their new 737s. At the time I thought it was just off the cuff humor but now maybe he was right! Having had a good career in both the Boeing and Airbus aircraft however, I'd still have to pick the Boeings...
Colin Seftel 8
These fuselages including the doors and plugs are made by Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita Kansas, far from Renton.
Anthony Allen 4
Given that Boeing has a demonstrated track record of cutting safety corners on the "new" 737, I don't have to invoke vissions of Reefer Madness to be worried.
C J -3
Considering Boeing's quality issues that have arisen out of their South Carolina assembly line as well as the rumblings about quality issues on the new Air Force One (which I believe is being worked in Texas) I think the captain you encountered might just be a buzzkill (or a high-kill in this case).
rob strong 3
Looks like an exit row door, but weird location.
Sites are saying everything from a window to a panel blew off.
Guess we'll find out in about a year.
Marty Martino 4
Here’s a link to a current picture of the aircraft:
Dan Nelson 3
Driving to the airport is by far more dangerous than flying. Boeing seems to be having some engineering and assembly issues that need to be addressed. The airlines have very little to do with these safety issues.Pilots are well trained to deal with most any operational issues in the air as seen with this event.
C J -2
This response tells me that you'd be the FIRST person in line screaming about safety if this were an Airbus.
godutch -4
Your response tells me that if it WERE Airbus we'd hear crickets from YOU. We get it, you are an Airbus fanboy. Congrats.
C J 1
Believe it or not, people can just be neutral on the debate. Take a breath big boy, no need to get all fired up.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

C J -2
True. Your "Airbus fanboy" comment was far more original. You're a true genius and pioneer. Thank god we have you around.
godutch -3
"Taking a breath" here...
Matt West 2

CNN picture definitely shows a whole panel missing. As it's a MAX9, I'm sure it's going to attract more attention than it should.
Michael Hawke 17
So what exactly is the right amount of coverage for a blown out door panel on a jetliner to attract and get?

This panel can optionally be a door on some configurations. In the case of Alaska it is not and exit so the mechanism is fully covers by a panel on the interior. Thankfully it let go at lower altitude and there was no one sitting in the window seat.
mbrews 7
The part that departed is indeed an optional exit door “blanked over” on this particular aircraft. Clear photos shown on the Avherald website. This a/c N704AL has only been in commercial service about 8 weeks.
Michael Hawke 3
Which is basically what my comment said. It is not the entire door mechanism just covered. It is a plug that fits the door opening and essentially seals like the exit door would
Shouldn't the 'door' be fixed in place as it doesn't seem safe to simply cover it with an interior panel and leave the mechanism hidden?
rob strong 8
As a MAX, more attention is warranted. Now the latest from Boeing is a loose bolt controlling the rudder. This is "just" a blown off door, no biggie. Fix er right up and continue ops right?
Tom Zaidman 1
Peter Blouin 1
Not clear to there another 'plug' on the opposite side of the MAX-9?
Also reading (Reuters) that Spirit Aero manufactured the plug. However Boeing I assume actually installed it. I'm sure the weight savings of a 'plug' versus having the original actual door makes a difference. Seating arrangements were considered.

There is mention of two latches at the bottom of these plugs, used for inspection? What is the likely hood these 'latches' played a role in the loss of this plug?
The finding of this plug should identify some reasonable understanding of this failure. Maybe, do without the plugs and install the original doors for strength.
Fro will be the death of us all. I want the best people hired.
MH370 -5

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John Jacobs 8
Am I missing something? I just followed the link to Twitter (yes, I'm still calling at Twitter not X). It's just a picture of the door, why is this guy a scumbag?
Marty Martino 5
Let’s just say that MH370 has developed a reputation of posting squawks that tend to be anti-Boeing. And, I’ll leave it right there.
Gloria Johns 1
He meant Bill Overdue.
Greg S -7
You would have to understand his history on this site. I don't feel like explaining it, maybe someone else does. If you know, you know.
Dave Mathes 0
...looks like the sewer is backing up again....
Bill Overdue -6
I'm afraid it's gonna take a few "spectacular" crashes in the airline industry to really get the attention of the American public. How many planes need to fall out of the sky before someone says the obvious... "why did we have to hire "incompetent" people? Oh, the DEI rule!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Roy Thomas 13
It's not a door either. It is a "plug", airlines who opt for higher-density seating have to add another set of exit doors. Alaska's density for their seating plans does not require a door so the space is "plugged" I believe a passenger would not even know they were sitting next to this space from the inside of the plane.
Lance Neward 1
You are 100% right
Steven Newton -1
It's kind of a door. Someone correct me if I misunderstand, but it can still be opened from the outside, if necessary. There's a cover over the door on the inside.

Also, do these plugged doors have emergency slides installed, and if so, would it have inflated?
Rpger Jones -3
Anthony Allen 1
You are 100% wrong.
Rpger Jones 1

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Greg S 13
Slide activation? Where did you read that? There should be no slide for this "door" at all.
jeff slack 5
READ? He didn't.
Steven Newton 1
It was a plugged emergency exit, so it's a fair question (to me) to ask if there was a slide installed at the factory. If so, would it have inflated when the plug panel came off? That'd be a heckuva site at 16,000 feet and 400mph ground speed.
John D 2
Imagine the drag.
Anthony Allen 11
None of what you posted is a thing.


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