Boeing 737 Max, Alaska Airlines grounds its fleet. And the nightmare of the “cursed planes” returns

There is no peace for the Boeing and for its “flagship” aircraft model, the 737 Max 9. An airplane that, no later than five years ago, did not hesitate to define “cursed”, after the incidents in 2018 and 2019 which saw two specimens crash, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, causing hundreds of deaths. What should be the excellence of civil aviation risks confirming doubts about its safety, after yesterday’s emergency landing for volo Alaska Airlines from Portland, Oregon to Ontario, California. Six minutes after takeoff it was indeed the emergency door was removed and part of the wall of the aircraft, as documented by some photos posted on social media by passengers.

Alaska Airlines grounds all models for inspection

The airline specified that all people on board “landed safely”. Alaska Airlines announced however that will “temporarily” ground all 65 of its models on the Boeing 737 Max 9, to conduct inspections. “Each aircraft will be returned to service only after maintenance and safety inspections are completed,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci.

“We are aware of the accident involving Alaska Airlines Flight AS1282. We are working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer. A Boeing technical team is ready to support the investigation” writes Boeing on .

The two incidents of 2018 and 2019

My mind immediately went to two tragedies of six and five years ago, which for the first time shone a spotlight on the manufacturer and its latest 737 model. Inducing many, including aviation experts and ordinary passengers, to question the safety measures adopted and above all the procedures followed by the company in creating an aircraft passed off as super safe but with objective stability and stability problems.

It was the October 29, 2018 and the flight low cost Lion Air JT610scheduled between Jakarta Airport and Pangkal Pinang Airport, in Indonesia, crashed into the sea a few minutes after takeoffkilling the 189 people on board (181 passengers and 8 crew members). It was the first airline disaster involving the 737 Max and the most serious ever to happen to any Boeing model.


The Lion Air aircraft involved in the 2018 accident, photographed in September six years ago

A few months passed and… on March 10, 2019 a flightEthiopian Airlines flight ET302 between Addis Ababa and Nairobi, crashed into a desert area minutes after takeoff, killing all on board: 149 passengers and 8 crew members (including eight Italian victims). The next day, all Boeing 737 Max models were grounded.

It emerged, following the investigations, that the two planes had stalled and they had lowered the nose of the fuselage to get out, right during the climb to altitude maneuver (but it was aincorrect assessment of the operating system). The pilots had failed to counter that action and the planes had crashed.

The plane involved in the crash in Ethiopia, photographed a month before the disaster Wikipedia

The plane involved in the crash in Ethiopia, photographed a month before the disaster

It all arose from an update problem with the aircraft’s operating system, which had been revised but on which the pilots had not completed the necessary refresher course. All this then became the subject of journalistic investigations e documentariesamong which Dowfall: the Boeing case.

To fly again, every plane of that model suffered significant changes, even though the changes would not have been visible from the outside and passengers would not have noticed any difference. Just last month, Boeing recommended that companies inspect newer 737 Max planes. “To ensure maximum safety, we are advising airlines to examine their 737 Max aircraft and report any irregularities. We have notified the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and our customers and will continue to communicate with them about the ongoing situation.”

Testimonies from passengers on the Alaska Airlines flight

Moments of fear, if not outright terror, for all the people on board (174 passengers and 6 crew members) of the Alaska Airlines flight. The aircraft, immediately after take-off, returned to the original airport, flying for just 20 minutes. The fact that the accident occurred just after departure averted worse consequences: the passengers, at that moment, were still wearing their seatbelts and no one was sitting in the seat near the door.

But a young passenger, sitting near the window that exploded in flight, was seen take off your shirt from the powerful suction from depressurization created by the hole that opened in the fuselage, causing his clothing to fall out of the plane. The passenger told SkyNews about the episode Evan Smith, who saw with his own eyes what happened to the boy sitting next to his mother, on the row where the fuselage opened. “There was a loud bang on the rear left side. Then there was a noise like wind and in a few moments the masks fell and everyone put them on” Smith said.

The aircraft with the window torn off, immediately after the emergency landing Reuters

The aircraft with the window torn off, immediately after the emergency landing

Emma Vu, another passenger, was sleeping in her seat and woke up feeling like she was falling and seeing her emergency masks coming down. Vu said he texted her parents the code word for emergencies to inform them of the accident. “I’ve never had to use it before, but I knew this was the right time,” Vu said.

Investigations also involved the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration

Via social media, the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA wrote that they are investigating and will publish updates “as they become available.” The builder will also do the same. The specialized site The Air Current Meanwhile, it said, citing sources familiar with the matter, that on January 4 the plane had shown “indications of pressurization problems”. The 737 Max involved was certified by the FAA in November.

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