Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX struck by Dutch Roll, FAA and NTSB investigate

Southwest Boeing 737 MAX-8
Tomás Del Coro / Creative Commons

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating an incident in which a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 experienced a ‘Dutch Roll’.  

The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8, registered N8825Q, was traveling from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport (OAK) on May 25, 2024, when the incident occurred. 

The Southwest Airlines flight went on to land safely in Oakland around 55 minutes, but the aircraft was found to have sustained some damage. 

In a preliminary report the FAA said the 737 MAX “experienced a Dutch roll, regained control and post flight inspection revealed damage to the standby PCU”. The PCU is the power control unit which provides power to the aircraft’s rudder. 

According to Boeing, a plane “moves in two axes if it experiences a Dutch roll, which is caused by wind or pilot input”. The “nose may go left to right as the airplane simultaneously banks side to side”.  

A Dutch Roll is considered to be a serious incident that can damage the aircraft and prove uncomfortable for those onboard.  

According to Aviation Herald, the 737-8 remained at OAK until June 6, 2024, when it was flown to Paine Field (PAE) in Everatt where MRO, Aviation Technical Services, are based. 

The Aviation Herald also learned that two ribs to which the plane’s standby PCU is mounted were damaged in the incident, as were the mounts of the standby actuator. 

The FAA has said that it is working with Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the incident.  

The aircraft was delivered to Southwest in December 2022.

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