Boeing fails more than one-third of tests in mid-air door blow-out audit

Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA - July 29, 2011: Boeing 787 taxing to runway for takeoff at the Air-Venture airshow.

A six-week audit of Boeing by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revealed a litany of problems with the manufacturer’s production process and its supplier Spirit AeroSystems.

First revealed in a slide presentation viewed by the New York Times, the audit showed that Boeing failed 33 of 89 audits during the FAA’s examination.

The audit was the result of a door panel coming off an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 jet at the start of the year, triggering a rigorous review of Boeing’s quality-control practices.

Alaska Airlines mid air emergency door (Twitter/@tvheidihatch)

The review examined 89 product audits of the Boeing’s production process and 13 product audits of Spirit AeroSystems – which makes the fuselage of the 737 MAX. Six of those audits got a pass, while the rest failed, the NYT said.

It was found that a mechanic at Spirit would use a key card to check a door seal, while there was another instance where Spirit mechanics would use soap to lubricate a door seal in the “fit up process”, per the Times.

Jessica Kowal, a spokeswoman for Boeing, said her company was continuing “to implement immediate changes and develop a comprehensive action plan to strengthen safety and quality, and build the confidence of our customers and their passengers.”

Boeing was given 90 days to develop a plan for quality-control improvements late last month by the FAA. In response, Boeing CEO, Dave Calhoun, said the manufacturer has “a clear picture of what needs to be done.”

Alongside the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Bureau is also looking into the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX incident alongside the US Justice Department which has opened a criminal investigation into Boeing.

Following the initial incident, MAX 9 jets were grounded across the globe and examined by regulators. On the first Alaska Airlines MAX 9 flight following the mid-air blow-out, the carrier’s COO sat next to the emergency door.

Featured Image: Boeing aircraft taxing to runway for takeoff at the Air-Venture airshow – iStock/nycshooter

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