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Technology Stocks : Boeing keeps setting new highs! When will it split?
BA 182.31-0.9%Jul 12 4:00 PM EDT

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To: Selectric II who wrote (3635)3/16/2024 12:00:56 AM
From: John Koligman  Read Replies (1) of 3675
Well here's one for you right out of the movie 'Airplane' when the blowup automatic pilot deflated...

After 787 dive, Boeing alerts airlines to issue with pilot-seat switches
The alert was issued after a 787 flown by the Chilean carrier LATAM went into a terrifying dive, injuring dozens of passengers

By Ian Duncan

Lori Aratani

March 15, 2024 at 5:12 p.m. EDT

The LATAM Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane that suddenly lost altitude midflight sits on the tarmac at Auckland International Airport in New Zealand. (Brett Phibbs/AFP/Getty Images)

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Boeing alerted airlines to a potential problem with loose switches on the pilot seats of its 787 Dreamliner jets after one of the planes went into a dive this week on a flight from Australia to New Zealand that injured 50 people.

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The jets have a switch on the back of the pilot seats that can be used to move the seats forward and backward. Were the switch to get stuck while someone was sitting in the seat, it could press their body against the plane’s controls. In a bulletin to airlines, Boeing said that if part of the switch is loose, a cover over the top can cause it to jam, “resulting in unintended seat movement.”

The bulletin does not refer to the dive incident, which authorities are in the early stages of investigating.

Boeing said in a statement Friday that it was reminding airlines of a 2017 service bulletin addressing an issue with the switches that included instructions for inspections and maintenance.

“We are recommending operators perform an inspection at the next maintenance opportunity,” Boeing said in a statement.

The issue is the latest safety concern for Boeing as the company is under heightened scrutiny from travelers and regulators following a midair blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max in January. The Federal Aviation Administration said it had assembled a panel to review Boeing’s response.

It was not immediately clear how many 787 aircraft were affected by the seat switch issue. But the bulletin, obtained by The Washington Post, was sent to all operators of the aircraft. It instructs operators to carefully inspect a cap on the switches to ensure they have not come loose.

The plane that went into a dive was operated by the Chilean carrier LATAM and was traveling between Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday. Passengers have described a sudden dive that threw people to the plane’s ceiling before they were dropped back down again. The plane continued on to Auckland. Ten passengers and three crew members were taken to a medical center, LATAM said.

The incident is under investigation by Chile’s aviation agency, but it has released few details about its probe. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment. LATAM said it was continuing to support the investigation.

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The aviation news site the Air Current and the Wall Street Journal reported this week that investigators suspected that one of the plane’s pilots had been pushed forward into the controls by his seat.

American Airlines sent a notice to its 787 pilots Friday saying it had identified a “potential hazard” with the switches and that maintenance teams were taking steps to ensure they were “properly secured.” In the meantime, American told captains they should brief anyone on the flight deck that the switch should not be used while someone is sitting in the seat.

The FAA said in a statement that its review board will examine a message Boeing is proposing to send to operators as well as the 2017 bulletin.

John Cox, a former pilot and aviation safety expert, said his first question would be whether there has been a fleet history of this switch sticking or if this is the first time this has happened on the 787.

“If there hasn’t, then it’s a one-off,” he said. “But if it’s happened before, then corrective action needs to be taken.”

Boeing has been buffeted by a steady stream of bad news since the Alaska Airlines incident, which prompted the FAA to launch an investigation into the company’s manufacturing operations. An agency audit found a number of areas that Boeing needed to improve, and regulators gave the company three months to develop a plan to correct any problems.

Much of the recent scrutiny has focused on the 737 Max, a widely used single-aisle airliner. Five years ago, two 737 Max planes crashed within five months of each other, killing a total of 346 people, due to a design change in the jets’ software.

The 787 is a larger aircraft, used mainly on long-distance international routes.
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