Airline industry officials believe Boeing is responsible for Alaska Airlines incident | Airlines

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Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 planes are flying again.

The Federal Aviation Administration had grounded them after a piece known as a door plug blew off on an Alaska Airlines flight earlier this month. Experts now believe Boeing may be at fault for failing to reinstall bolts to secure this door plug at the factory.

And there is more at stake now for Boeing: The company is dropping a request for a safety exemption from the FAA for its new 737 Max 7 model, which has not yet flown commercially and would need to get certified to do so. The FAA warned that its engine de-icing system poses a safety hazard.

Dominic Gates, an aerospace reporter at The Seattle Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the 737 Max, compares the de-icing system to the defroster on a car.

“It’s a system that blows hot air onto the inlet at the front of the pod that surrounds the engine,” he says, “and its purpose is to stop the buildup of ice.”

Gates says this system exists on all operating Boeing Max models. And last August, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive pointing out this vulnerability.

All 737 Max engine pods are made out of carbon composites, unlike the metal parts on previous models of the 737. So Gates says pilots have to remember to turn the system off when they’re out of icy conditions to avoid overheating.

“It could damage the engine pod to the extent that it might even break off,” he says, “and that would be extremely dangerous.”

Boeing requested a safety exemption on their new Max model, as it…

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