Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Grounded Boeing planes delay flights home

The FAA announced a temporary grounding of 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes on Jan. 6, due to an emergency door on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 blowing off mid-flight, according to the FAA website. Because of these groundings, several students’ flights home from their winter break vacations were canceled, junior Grace Ren said. Cancellations caused delays of up to six days, making students miss the beginning of the second semester, Ren added.

Boeing 737 groundings continue as the Federal Aviation Administration undergoes extensive aircraft inspections, according to the FAA website. (Photo from Lindsey Wasson, AP News)

“I was devastated from missing so many days of class in the first week of the new semester,” Ren said. “I was also really concerned about how I’d catch up on my homework and classwork, I’m still catching up even now.”

After flight cancellations, the costs for new flights were astronomical, junior Elad Tal said.  

“We could have ordered a flight that day, but the prices were insanely high, even within two or three days,” Tal said. “It would be cheaper if we got a flight five days after, which is what we ended up going with. I had to do school work in a small room with my mom’s laptop, which was kinda annoying.”

During the FAA’s investigation of the incident on Flight 1282, the cause was found to be a loose door plug. All Boeing 737 MAX 9s have been grounded indefinitely until safety inspections are completed, according to the FAA website.

According to the FAA, decisive action was taken to ground the Boeing 737s, and now investigations on Boeing’s and their subcontractor’s manufacturing practices and production lines are being completed, and potential system changes are being put into place.

Boeing’s manufacturing process is expected to meet specific safety standards, according to the FAA website. It is unclear how this oversight occurred, but a strict investigation of Boeing’s manufacturing and production will ensure it never happens again.

“This incident should have never happened and it cannot happen again,” the FAA said in a press release. “The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning the Boeing 737-9 MAX to service.”

The airline chooses whether or not they want an actual door installed during manufacturing, pilot Edward Scott said. If the airline decides not to install a door, Boeing will place a plug there in its place, which is what went wrong in this situation, he added.

“Flying is very complex. When you get to thirty, even forty thousand feet, it’s a very complex environment,” Scott said. “These airplanes are put through a lot of different stresses, temperature variations and pressures. It has happened over the history of flying that sometimes airplanes get overstressed in the environment and something just comes apart because it couldn’t handle it.”

Although the incident on Flight 1282 is unfortunate, the way the flight crew was able to handle the situation is commendable, Scott said. The fact that they were able to quickly turn around and safely land is impressive, Scott added.

“I don’t believe there were any injuries, certainly no major injuries, to anyone on board, and that’s always a good thing when something goes wrong with an airplane,” Scott said.

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About the Contributor
Kevin Miao, Reporter
Kevin is a junior and a first-year reporter for The Epitaph. He likes to eat food, playing games, hiking and camping.

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