Flying Lessons Blog

Boeing’s 90 Day Deadline from the FAA Follows Thousands of Days of Doing Not Much

February 28, 2024

There’s something very theatrical about the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement on Wednesday that Boeing had 90 days to clean up its act.  It sounds serious. It sounds tough. And that is probably just what the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Whitaker had in mind. After a day-long meeting with Boeing executives, including company CEO, Dave Calhoun on Tuesday, Whitaker issued a statement saying that the planemaker “must take a fresh look at every aspect of their quality-control process and ensure that safety is the company’s guiding principle.” Whitaker gave Boeing 90 days to come up with a plan because the FAA’s safety standards… Read More…


Early Report on 737 Max Near Disaster Documents a Predicted Production Line Failure

February 7, 2024

NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect new information from Boeing regarding quality control inspections. Read through to the end for details. I’m all for the National Transportation Safety Board doing its job, and planning, of course, to dig into into the final report a year or two from now. But for any curious air traveler, engineering geek or disaster buff, what happened to Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 last month is no mystery. The report aligns quite neatly with a prediction more than a year ago on Ed Pierson’s podcast Warning Bells. The 737 Max production line in Renton, Washington was “chaos at its… Read More…


“A Rambling Shambling Disaster” Anonymous Insider Reveals How 737 Max Flew with Door Plug Unbolted

January 24, 2024

An Anonymous commenter on the aviation industry news site leehamnews.com has provided a lengthy and what he or she claims is a first-hand account of how the door plug blew out on Alaska Airlines flight 1282 on January 5th, turning the short journey into a nightmare for all onboard. Editor-in-Chief Scott Hamilton published the astonishingly frank account of what led to the near disaster with the disclaimer that while the details are uncorroborated the production quality control systems described are accurate. On Thursday, Boeing’s Renton factory workers will participate in a “safety stand down.” At the same time, dozens of inspectors from the Federal Aviation… Read More…


On the Horizon, More Lawsuits Against American Airlines for Flight Attendant Potty Pictures

January 22, 2024

Expect one or more lawsuits to be filed against American Airlines perhaps as early as this week, in the still-difficult-to-comprehend case of a flight attendant taking videos of young female passengers using the airplane bathroom. In addition to 36-year-old flight attendant Estes Carter Thompson III who faces federal criminal charges, American has already been sued civilly for failing to prevent his sordid behavior in September 2023, even though it had received complaints about Thompson. “American Airlines employees had complained,” about the flight attendant’s “inappropriate, sexual conduct prior to his filming of Plaintiff,” according to the complaint filed by Paul Llewellyn, a San Francisco attorney. Llewellyn… Read More…


Air Force Officer & Miss America Winner Need to Co-Exist In a “Man’s World”

January 16, 2024

I don’t like fart jokes.  I think scatological discussions should be confined to a physician’s office. I gave up watching the HBO TV show “Veep” because it was not credible. Not the concept of a female vice president, the notion such a character would use men’s genitalia as her constant frame of reference.  Ditto for the movie Bridesmaids. There’s a reason they call this “bro” humor and many women don’t find it funny. All women are created equal if not alike. But generally speaking, women don’t talk or act like men. I have more than five decades of experience with this but argue with me… Read More…


Not Just the 737 Max – Cockpit Doors Will Open on Most Airliners

January 13, 2024

  The crew of Alaska Airlines 1282 was startled. The chair of the National Transportation Safety Board was annoyed. Headlines accused Boeing of keeping yet another secret from pilots. But the design that allows the cockpit door to open in case of a significant loss of pressure is not new, nor is it unique to the Max. It is common on nearly all airliners made by Boeing and Airbus. Since the mid-2000s, plane makers have patented relatively simple devices that override the cockpit electronic door locks installed as a result of September 11th security concerns. The devices activate in response to an abrupt loss of… Read More…


“The FAA is Not Messing Around” 737 Max Pilot Responds to Investigation of Boeing

January 11, 2024

The biggest indication yet that the emergency landing of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was likely the result of manufacturing problems at the Boeing 737 Max factory came today when the Federal Aviation Administration announced an investigation into Boeing. It is a stunning departure from the FAA’s usually tortoise-like pace in dealing with the plane maker’s two decades of problems related to building airliners that don’t fill with smoke, (787), tend to fracture on hard landings (737NG) or seize control from pilots and nosedive into the ground (737Max). “The FAA is not messing around,” said Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot who flies the Max and… Read More…


The Shark, the Villian, the Sleuth and the Hero – Alaska 737 Max Drama Straight Outta’ Hollywood

January 9, 2024

Cue the John Williams soundtrack from Jaws. “Dun-dun…Dun-dun…Dun-dun.” I suspect that’s the earworm Boeing employees have been hearing since the near disaster of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. Today, they are being summoned to the company’s “All Hands Safety Meeting,” where a fixed agenda surely must be as elusive as that great white shark, slippery and fast-moving, just like an accurate total of the number of loose bolts found so far on the door plugs of Max 9s. Following the inspection mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration on January 7, both Alaska and United say they found several questionable attachments. This suggests that disaster may have… Read More…


Terrifying Minutes On Alaska 737 Max Described – Then, Joy as Missing Clue is Found

January 8, 2024

Investigators looking into the near-disaster on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max in Portland, Oregon on January 5th described what must have been a “terrifying event” during a news conference on Sunday, providing details not previously known. Alaska Flight 1282 declared an emergency after a piece of the fuselage pulled free from the plane at 16-thousand feet. The gaping hole filled the cabin with debris, wind, and a temperature well below freezing. National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy’s chilling account was drawn from her tour of the damaged airliner and interviews with flight and cabin crew members. The force of the rapid decompression pulled… Read More…


Pre-flight Pressurization Alert Key Clue in Alaska Air Emergency

January 6, 2024

  The Federal Aviation Administration ordered U.S. airlines or airlines flying into the United States with the 737 Max 9 to suspend operations of these model aircraft until inspections can be carried out. The statement, issued the afternoon of January 6th did not give details of what needed to be inspected or how they should be carried out but estimated each would take from 4 to 8 hours. One hundred and 71 aircraft are affected, according to the statement. The limited grounding comes after an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 lost a piece of the left side of the fuselage at 16-thousand feet. Headrests from… Read More…


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