FAA Recommends Airlines to Perform Door Plug Inspections on Boeing 737-900ER Aircraft

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advised airlines operating the Boeing 737-900ER late on Sunday to conduct visual inspections of the door plugs on the mid-exits of this variant. This recommendation follows the recent incident involving an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9, which resulted in the grounding of over 170 aircraft of this type earlier this month.

Boeing 737-900ER

In an initial report on the situation, the FAA issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO), urging carriers with the 737-900ER in their fleet to carry out essential inspection tasks at the earliest opportunity. The FAA stated that these recommendations are being made as a precautionary measure.

“As an added layer of safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is recommending that operators of Boeing 737-900ER aircraft visually inspect mid-exit door plugs to ensure the door is properly secured. The Boeing 737-900ER is not part of the newer MAX fleet but has the same door plug design.”

The FAA further advised that during inspections, airlines should verify that the door plug is secured against any movement. This should be checked using two upper guide track bolts and two lower arrestor bolts, as specified in the fuselage plug assembly maintenance planning document found in the Aircraft Maintenance Manual. Additionally, the agency encourages operators to report any findings from these visual inspections to their certificate management office.

Regarding the -900ER variant, several airlines in the United States, including Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines, operate this model. Sun Country Airlines is reportedly set to receive five units of the -900ER in November. This aircraft is the largest in the 737 Next Generation (NG) series, succeeding the -700 and -800 models. Initially introduced in the early 2000s as the -900 with a capacity for 189 passengers, it typically accommodates around 175 passengers in a two-class layout. However, due to lower-than-expected orders, Boeing enhanced the design, resulting in the -900ER (Extended Range) variant.

Featured Image: Boarding1Now | iStock

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