Boeing 737 MAX electric issues prompt FAA directive

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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) requiring Boeing to address the “unsafe condition” of certain Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The move came after Boeing called on 16 737 MAX operators to address the electrical problem on April 9, 2021. 

The investigation of certain Boeing 737 MAX aircraft identified insufficient bonding of certain “metallic support panel assemblies installed in two areas of the flight deck, which affects the electrical grounding of installed equipment”. 

According to the FAA, such safety concerns, if not addressed, could have an impact on the engine ice protection, and result in loss of critical function or simultaneous flight deck effects, which may prevent the aircraft from safe operations. However, the new problem, according to the regulator, is not related to the flight control system error that contributed to two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. 

“This AD requires modification of the electrical bonding of these assemblies to provide sufficient electrical grounding for equipment installed in the flight deck,” read the Airworthiness Directive (AD), which was published in advance before appearing publicly in the Federal Register on April 30, 2021.

As per FAA estimates, Airworthiness Directive affects 71 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in operation in the US. The fixes for the 71 aircraft would cost $154,915.

Earlier in April 2021, following Boeing briefing on certain 737 MAX aircraft electrical issues, Boeing 737 MAX operators voluntarily grounded some of their aircraft awaiting further notice from Boeing.

“Boeing notified us of a potential production issue with a component in the electrical power system on 17 of our most recently delivered Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. At Boeing’s direction, we have temporarily removed these 17 aircraft from service,” an American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) spokesperson told AeroTime News on April 12, 2021. “We have 24 other 737 MAX aircraft in our fleet that are not affected by this issue as they were produced and delivered prior to the ungrounding.”

The safety concern of a specific group of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft comes after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ungrounded the aircraft on November 18, 2021. 


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